The Philadelphia Flyers finally made a popular move Tuesday.
No, they didn’t acquire some top-notch prospects (yet) or high draft picks.
They did hire Danny Briere as a special assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher.
It’s a full-time role for the former Flyers forward, who recently was one of the finalists for the Montreal GM job.
“His insight and experience from 25 years in professional hockey, as well as first-hand knowledge of the Philadelphia Flyers, is a valuable asset for our organization,” Fletcher said.
At the time the Flyers hired Fletcher in December of 2018, Briere said he wasn’t ready to be a general manager. Now, he is respected around the league and thought to be a future GM for some team.
Fletcher said he looked forward to dealing with Briere on a day-to-day basis.
Briere, 44, who played for the Flyers for six years and led their unexpected 2010 playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals, was excited about his new venture.
“Philadelphia is a place I’ve called home for a long time and have had some of the most memorable moments of my career,” he said.
He thanked Fletcher and club chairman Dave Scott “for their confidence and support over the last several years.
Briere, regarded as a wise talent evaluator in hockey circles, will be involved in all aspects of the club’s hockey operations, including scouting and player development.
He spent parts of five years with the Comcast Spectacor-owned Maine Mariners of the ECHL, most recently as the club’s president and governor.
Over the last two seasons, Briere worked part-time in the Flyers’ player-development department, spending time with the club’s prospects. He also spent two years in the Flyers business operations before joining the Mariners.
On the ice, Briere was known as Mr. Post- (Season) Man. He delivered in the playoffs during a terrific 17-year career, including six seasons with the Flyers. He also played with Phoenix, Buffalo, Montreal, and Colorado.
In 2010, the 5-foot-8 Briere put the Flyers on his diminutive shoulders, leading the NHL with 30 playoff points in 23 games. That was the most points ever scored by a Flyer in a single post-season.
It was the high point of a career that produced 307 goals and 696 points in 973 games — and seven seasons with at least 25 goals.
Now he will try to take that magic to the front office.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) February 8, 2022
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who earlier in his career was Briere’s housemate in Haddonfield, returned as the conquering hero at Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees.
Toward to end of practice, his teammates tapped their sticks loudly at center ice as they chanted for Giroux to get in the middle of their circle for final exercises.
“MVP. … MVP. … MVP,” they chanted.
Giroux, a humble sort, sheepishly went to the middle and acknowledged the chants.
“It felt really uncomfortable,” Giroux said with a slight smile. “It was great. Since I got here this morning, they’ve made me feel pretty special, so it was fun.”
Giroux was named the MVP of the All-Star tournament, scoring three goals and collecting four points over the two games, leading the Metropolitan Division to the title.
“The whole weekend was great,” Giroux, 34, said. “I got to spend some time with my wife and (2 1/2-year-old son) Gavin. I got to walk around, and especially at the rink, my son really enjoyed himself. It was great.”
Giroux said his son “is still pretty young, so I’m not sure he knows exactly what’s going on. Him being around other players in different jerseys and taking a picture with all the mascots, he was very happy.”
The Flyers return to action Wednesday for the first time in a week as they host Detroit. After a 13-game winless streak, the Flyers defeated Los Angeles and Winnipeg in their last two games before the break.
“We had trouble getting some wins. We were playing some decent hockey; some games I thought we should have won,” Giroux said of the skid. And the last two we were solid, not just because of the wins but because of the way we were playing.”
The Flyers are 15-22-8 and 17 points out of a playoff spot with 37 games remaining.
“If you look at the standings, it’s pretty bad; it looks like it’s almost impossible” to make the playoffs, Giroux said. “But what we have to do is just take one game at a time, and if we get a few games in a row and get back in the race … But for us right now, it’s to just keep getting better and win some hockey games.”
The Flyers will get Derick Brassard back in the lineup Wednesday; he has missed 26 games because of a hip injury.
“He plays in pretty much all situations, and he was playing well for us since the start of the year,” Giroux said, “so it’s good to have him back.”