Written By Jason Voorhees
Just in case you were wondering...the Philadelphia Flyers season ended on Sunday. Yes, the team once again failed to make the playoffs in an NHL league where just about every team qualifies for the postseason.
Of course this is nothing new as the Flyers have now failed to make the playoffs in four out of the past seven seasons; while getting bounced out in the first round in the three years that they did qualify.
This is just flat out unacceptable anymore. This once proud franchise has become nothing more than a perennial loser and the depths of mediocrity has reached its highest level. Something has to give here folks. A team that was consistently one of the top five teams in the league for two decades has now become one of the leagues doormats.
The Philadelphia Flyers franchise is a complete train wreck anymore and the team's fans deserve change. I believe that team chemistry begins at the very top and that is where ownership needs to begin its process of turning things around.
Loyalty is an excellent quality to abide by but this franchise chooses to exude blind loyalty which has ultimately led to failure. The Flyers organization has continually employed former ex players and coaches at its most important leadership positions. Whether it has been Bobby Clarke (multiple times), Paul Holmgren (multiple times) at GM or President/Vice President. Ron Hextall as GM. Craig Berube as Coach.
You can go up and down the leadership scale and find examples of this strategic failure. The underlying cog in the franchises armor is this fundamental mistake. The team continues to bring back players, coaches, general managers and presidents that have close ties to the organization. This is where ownership needs to take a stand.
Paul Holmgren needs to go. Its that simple. It starts at the top and the top deserves a bulls eye. The organization needs a complete overhaul. There needs to be a fresh set of eyes at the top...a set of eyes that will bring new life to this once proud franchise. A set of eyes that will bring a new found passion and direction. A set of eyes that will institute a new strategy; one that is more conducive to the new NHL.
In order for the Philadelphia Flyers to move forward the team needs to take a step back. And by that I don't mean going back to the good old boys network. This means a complete overhaul and rebuild from the top on down. Yes this would be a hard sell to the fans. However; if the fans could see that by doing this that the team would eventually be able to compete like they once did from the 1990's and 2000's, I think they would embrace this change.
Flyers fans deserve much better. Lets face it...the teams core has just not gotten it done and there have been minimal changes from season to season and zero growth. There has been no improvement in the past seven years no matter what band aids the team has used to try and get better. What is the definition of insanity. Doing the exact same thing with negative consequences and expecting a different result. Yes the Flyers have played this constant game of Russian Roulette year after year.
Well its time for the franchise to destroy the 1970's mindset and move into the new millennium like most other NHL teams. Teams today win with elite talent, something that the Flyers have not had in decades. Yes, Claude Giroux is an extremely talented player but he is not elite. Elite is Sidney Crosby. Elite is Alex Ovechkin. Elite is Connor McDavid.
That is not to say that the team does not have future elite talent, because I firmly believe that Carter Hart could be that elite goaltender that the team has been searching for in forever. However; Carter Hart will never reach that elite level if this franchise does not take some extreme measures to improve its talent level moving forward. So yes, it starts at the top by ousting Holmgren. Bring in a new face, a talented executive that has zero ties to the Flyers.
After the team replaces Holmgren, bring in a new coach, once again one with zero ties to the Flyers franchise. Try to target a coach with a Stanley Cup pedigree, or at least one that has had consistent playoff success. Of course, one such option went off the board today when the Florida Panthers hired Joel Quenneville. Of course, Joel won three Stanley Cups as a coach and another while he was an assistant. There are definitely some other good options out there its just a matter of finding the right fit.
After replacing the President and coach, the team then needs to shed some salary. Goodbye Jake Voracek. Bye Bye Andrew MacDonald. Sayonara Shane Gostisbehere. Its been real Radko Gudas. We were glad to have you back but wish you luck elsewhere James van Riemsdyk. Yes, the only player that I am keeping is Claude Giroux. Giroux still has upper echelon talent and you can still build around him. But these other guys have to go.
As new team president, I am then taking a run at Erik Karlsson and Artemi Panarin. Yes, this would give the team an elite NHL defenseman to pair with its very young core. A young core that took a step back this season. I still belive that Ivan Provorov has the ability to be that elite shutdown defenseman but he needs a mentor to help him grow. Karlsson fits that mould and would instantly upgrade the team on the back end.
Likewise, Panarin at age 27 would give the team a bona fide sniper. Something this team has lacked in forever. And he would give the team a fresh set of eyes on the ice to pair with Giroux. Then I would let the younger players continue to gain valuable experience under the tutelage of a new coach and team concept. I believe that these extreme changes would be able to propel this franchise forward.
Of course, there would be many other changes along the way. But in order for these changes to breed success, the first move has to be made. Fire Paul Holmgren. Please, for the Love of God. Desperate times require drastic measures. It is time for this franchise to be great again. Getting there will require putting an end to the good old boys network. Change is in the air and the Flyers faithful is owed a better fate. Get your head out of your ass and take action. Or else we will be singing the same song in 2020.
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.