Sam Carchidi: Danny Briere brings keen hockey mind to Flyers’ front office (+)
During his 17-year playing career, including six seasons with the Flyers, Danny Briere created a lot of magical moments on the ice.
The question is, can it translate to the front office?
Based on social-media responses, most Flyers fans seemed thrilled that Briere, 44, was named a special assistant to general manager Chuck Fletcher on Tuesday.
But there were a few complaints. “Same old Flyers — hire from within,” said one fan on social media. “And we all know how that has turned out.”
The fan was complaining that front-office folks like ex-Flyers Ron Hextall, Paul Holmgren, and Bob Clarke didn’t deliver the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1975.
They may not have brought a Cup to Philly, but their regimes had some good moments, Clarke’s teams got to the Finals three times, and he made perhaps the greatest trade in the franchise’s history, acquiring John LeClair and Eric Dejardins by sending Mark Recchi and a third-round pick to the Canadiens. Clarke also gets props for drafting Claude Giroux, even if he briefly didn’t remember his name at the podium.
Holmgren made a sensational move by getting Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell from Nashville, turning the Flyers from the worst team in the league to a conference finalist in one year. He also smartly signed Briere, whose offensive creativeness the Flyers needed, and his Jeff Carter and Mike Richards trades netted Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek, and a draft pick that turned into Sean Couturier..
Hextall rebuilt an awful farm system, did a masterful job clearing cap space, and drafted players like Joel Farabee, Carter Hart, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom, and Travis Konecny. The jury is still out on some of those players, but there’s no denying their great potential. (Clarke, of course, will argue that Cale Makar should have been selected over Nolan Patrick.