Danny Briere is one of the most beloved Flyers in recent history and now that his playing career is over, he’s spending his retirement transitioning to a front office role. He’s been apart of the Flyers front office since 2016 and currently overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, a chance for him to get some GM experience under his belt as a first-timer working his way up the corporate ladder. As rumors of Chuck Fletcher’s fate start to swirl, Briere has been looked at by the fans as Chucky’s possible successor.
One of the biggest positives that Briere brings to the table is his fresh eyes on the product. He’s not a member of the “old boys club” or some re-tread hire. The inexperience is concerning, but it’s also a chance to deploy a brand new way of thinking and potentially jump start a new era of Flyers hockey.
A fan favorite
It’s no secret the Flyers front office doesn’t have much good grace from the fans right now, but adding someone who was universally beloved will definitely ease some of the growing tension. His work on the job will ultimately decide how he’s received by the fans, but in the short term, it may do the organization as a whole good to make a move that is very popular with the fanbase.
Lack of experience at a tumultuous time
While Briere may bring fresh eyes to the product as a first-time NHL GM, that may not necessarily be the best thing. He has no official NHL front office experience other than shadowing Paul Holmgren for a few seasons. The Flyers were a once-proud organization and are still, somehow, one of the most popular team’s in the league, but they’re currently going through some of the darkest days the franchise has ever known. Whatever extreme the Flyers choose, either rebuilding or salvaging the current roster, it’s a tall task for anyone, especially when you’re new to the gig. To be fair to Briere on this one, he was in the running for a GM job with the Montreal Canadiens, one of the few markets worse than Philadelphia. If he was ready to take on that challenge, maybe he can do it here too.
Name value skewing perceptions
Briere is absolutely being groomed to be an NHL GM, but if he wasn’t a fan favorite player, but rather just some dude with no experience, would anybody be as excited to hire the guy? If I told you John Doe with no former NHL GM experience, and very limited experience overall, is in consideration for the role, would that be as enticing a hire?
Briere was heavily considered for the general manager role for the Montreal Canadiens, who ultimately decided to go in a different direction, so Briere is still property of the Flyers organization. If there is interest in him from other NHL teams, they clearly feel he’s ready for the responsibility. If you’re the Flyers organization and potentially see a future with Briere, even if it’s not immediately, it may be best to elevate him to a role within the front office ASAP. Give him as assistant GM title for a little while. Let him learn from Chuck Fletcher, who has decades of experience in the role. Then in a couple years, officially coronate him as the next GM. The organization is in a bit of a time crunch here to try and right the ship, but they can’t throw Briere into such a daunting task cold like this, it’s just not fair to the guy.
Ultimately, if they do indeed decide Briere is ready, it’ll be crucial for the organization to fill the front office with veteran members to guide him. They can’t do what they did with Fletcher and make him king of the castle with no one to answer to. Chances are, Fletcher will be retained as president and Briere could take over the GM role, it seems like the best of both worlds. It won’t be easy for Briere, who will have to find a way to guide the Flyers to success with a depleted roster and even worse farm system.
It’ll be a tall task for anyone to fix the severely broken Flyers, but Briere has pulled some miracles out of his hat in orange and black before, maybe he can do it again, this time as general manager.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nbcsports.com