According to a report by Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post, the Philadelphia Flyers are set to fire Dave Hakstol and hire Joel Quenneville.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) December 16, 2018
The writing was on the wall when the Flyers relieved Ron Hextall of his duties as general manager, and the past few weeks have done Hakstol no favors. Chuck Fletcher said he would evaluate the current team, including the coaching staff, before making any moves, and he traveled on the five-game road trip with the team. What he saw was the opposite of encouraging.
Fletcher saw the Flyers come back to beat the Sabres last Saturday before losing four straight in Canada to close out the trip. Those four losses included a backbreaking loss to Calgary and three uninspired efforts in what were essentially blowouts.
Hakstol was hired by the Flyers after the 2014-15 season. He is the first head coach to go directly from the NCAA to the NHL since 1982.
Hakstol coached the Flyers to the playoffs in 2016 and 2018, but both times the team lost in the first round.
Now, it’s Quenneville time.
Quenneville is one of the biggest head coaching “free agents” since Mike Babcock. He won three Stanley Cups as head coach of the Blackhawks in Chicago and also won it as an assistant coach with the Avalanche in 1996. He is the second-winningest coach in NHL history with 890 wins.
A coaching change in December of 2009 led to a run to the Stanley Cup Final that ended with a loss to Quenneville’s Blackhawks. This team has enough talent to make a similar run this season if they put it together, and hopefully, Quenneville can be the first step in that direction.