Flyers Sticking with AV…What About Assistants?

So a few days ago, GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed AV will return as head coach for the 2021-22 season. However, nothing has been set in stone about the assistants. It’s really made me think…do they have a shot at coming back?

It’s no secret that the 2021 season was embarrassing for Flyers fans. The team underperformed in pretty much all aspects of the game. The team was basically right in the middle in terms of goals for/game at 2.86, while the power play was also average at 19.2%. While average doesn’t seem bad, you have to be asking yourself how is it only average with guys like Giroux, Farabee, and JVR? Sure some supporting guys had down seasons, but it’s still a fairly decent offensive roster.

It really makes you think it’s the coaching doesn’t it? With weapons like that, the team needs to be in the upper half of the league in terms of goal scoring. Plus, there were stretches where the power play was anemic, not scoring for games at a time. The Flyers PP unit was no joke in terms of talent, so the only thing that makes sense is a poor scheme.

And what has Michel Therrien done every time the Flyers fell into a funk on the power play? Nothing other than change personnel around. It can’t possibly be because the set up doesn’t work against most of the league’s penalty kill formation right? Right? We’re not going to talk about the Flyers PP in the 2020 playoffs? Ok, just making sure we’re on the same page.

Either way, Therrien clearly can’t put together much more than an average power play. The best way this team can improve on the power play is either further bolster the goal scoring talent on the team, or change the set up. Will the switch come with Therrien at the helm? Who knows?

Then we get to Mike Yeo and the defense…oh the defense. The Flyers defense was so embarrassingly bad last year, people starting questioning how good Carter Hart is. The Flyers allowed the most goals/game at 3.52, while the penalty kill played at a putrid 73.1%. Now look, we can say most of that was simply because the defensemen themselves were that bad, which they were, but poor talent can at least be elevated by a good defensive strategy. If your team is worst and 2nd-worst in the league in those categories, coaching is a factor.

When we look into Mike Yeo and his coaching, it makes sense to point the finger at him when explaining the Flyers’ struggles. The Wild were consistently just average with him at the helm, and as soon as the Blues fired him, they went from last place to Stanley Cup Champs. I get the talent wasn’t great this year, but they were just fine last year before Matt Niskanen retired. If one player can derail your defense like that, you don’t deserve an NHL gig.

Obviously, we can’t possibly guess what’s going to happen in the offseason. I expect both Therrien and Yeo to be back next year because that’s what happens when you’re a Philly fan. Should they return? Therrien, surprisingly, should get one more chance. Yeo should be gone. Case closed, and let’s go Flyers.

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