from Mike Sielski of Philly.com,
So let’s consider those factors. Vigneault will be the Flyers’ fifth head coach since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, which was less than six years ago. Over that span, they have reached the playoffs just three times and have not advanced beyond the first round. And last fall, by firing general manager Ron Hextall and, later, coach Dave Hakstol, they abandoned the lengthy, gradual process that Hextall, rightly, had decided was necessary to rebuild and fortify the organization’s infrastructure.
That the franchise cycled through so many coaches during so short a period with such similar results suggests that none of them were ever the team’s primary problem. And the post-Flyers performances of a couple of them – the Nashville Predators have been consistently excellent under Laviolette, and Craig Berube shepherded the St. Louis Blues to a marvelous turnaround this season – only reaffirm the notion that sometimes a smart coach is just the right person in the right place at the right time with the right group of athletes.
Which brings us back to Vigneault and the reasons for skepticism. In a conference call Monday, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher presented Vigneault as a coach for all seasons and styles of roster. “His track record speaks for itself,” Fletcher said. “He’s had success at the junior level. He’s had success in the minor leagues. And he’s had success in the NHL. You can’t have success at all those levels unless you’re good at developing players, good at connecting with veterans, and he’s a guy who, again, gets his teams to play hard and gets his teams to buy in.”
It’s reasonable to think that the Flyers’ players will respond positively to Vigneault for at least a little while. His credentials and experience should earn him that respect, and both the Canucks and Rangers improved immediately upon his arrival. But it’s worth noting, again, the circumstances of those situations. Vigneault is regarded as a players’ coach, at his best a calming influence over a locker room, and such an influence was required in his previous two stops.