While Philadelphia Flyers fans hear about the rebuild all the time and the media reports it, the team’s management *lives* it.
Since general manager Daniel Briere announced back in March that the Flyers were rebuilding that has been the franchise’s focus. It’s been their DNA.
“I don’t think this is a quick fix,” Briere said in March. “That’s my belief and that’s why I’m not afraid to use the word rebuild.”
Flyers assistant general manager Alyn McCauley spoke recently on the San Jose Hockey Now podcast about the rebuild. The former Sharks forward spoke about what was required, how the Flyers would try to get there and the bridge building he thought would benefit the team and fans.
“Yes, the Flyer fans are demanding and that’s good,” McCauley said. “Having expectations and to be successful is fine by me. That’s where we want to get to.”
McCauley told the San Jose Hockey Now podcast about how recent Stanley Cup champions have rebuilt their teams and how their experience could relate to the Flyers.
“You look at some of the teams that have been successful and take recent winners [excluding expansion Vegas],” McCauley said. “The [Alex] Ovechkins or the [Sidney] Crosbys and, go back a little further, [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Hank] Zetterberg.
“Some of these teams that were built you had to kinda lose — sorry, I didn’t mean Detroit, I mean more Chicago and [Jonathan] Toews and [Patrick] Kane — the core pieces that were built around kinda came through some difficult times.
“If you want to have those real difference-makers in your lineup, more times than not that’s where those players come from. You can get lucky with some guys that come along later in the draft, but typically those first three picks are where you find those players — I guess [Cale, fourth overall pick] Makar would be an exception.
“You can find those exceptions to any general rule. Not to say we’re looking to bottom out like some of those teams may have. But at the same time let’s be realistic where we’re at.”
Not an Easy Transition
Rebuilding isn’t an easy phase for the Flyers and their fan base. This medicine is bitter as the Flyers largely have been a successful franchise since they began in 1967.
“I just think the acceptance or where we’re at and where we need to get to,” McCauley said about the Flyers’ declaration of a rebuild.
“That we need to probably a step back, or maybe two steps back, to try and take a few steps forward.”
McCauley and CEO Dan Hilferty know there might be pain along the way. Both talked about how transparency is an important tool in keeping the fans informed and in their corner as the new Flyers take shape.
“My take on it is the more you’re included or the more you’re kept up to speed, the more willing you [the fans] are to be accepting of where the team’s at,” said McCauley, who won two Stanley Cups when he was a pro scout for the Los Angeles Kings and had a nine-year NHL playing career.
“OK, this makes sense and I can see where the end goal is. Maybe the end goal changes a little bit, maybe it’s not always in the same spot. I shouldn’t say the end goal; the path forward. I would assume Chicago, now that they have [Connor] Bedard, changes a little bit.
“If you’re communicating it’s easier to be aware of what’s going on and understand, OK … we’re at starting point B and we want to get to A and they said we’re going to be here and we’re here.
“They said we’re going to be halfway along here and now we’re here. I just think being transparent takes some of the guesswork out and maybe some of the hostility or anger about where we’re at at times.”