Flyers Front Office: Dubas/Shero ‘23

Now that Chuck Fletcher has finally been removed as general manager and president of the Philadelphia Flyers, there have been continued rumors about the shakeup and who else will follow him out that door. This is a golden opportunity for the Flyers to completely overhaul their front office and install people that have copious experience guiding other organizations through rebuilds and back on the tracks to success. So what would the ideal new Flyers’ front office construction look like?

General Manager: Kyle Dubas

As of this writing, Kyle Dubas is still employed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, though he is on an expiring contract leading many to theorize that his job security will rely heavily on whether or not the Leafs finally make it out of the first round of the playoffs. He may be just 37 years old, but he’s had success building teams everywhere he’s been.

He spent three seasons with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds where to took them from bottom feeder to first place in the West Division. He was hired by the Maple Leafs in 2014 as an assistant GM and was in charge of the Toronto Marlies whom he not only helped overhaul their development system but the Marlies would win the Calder Cup in 2018 and was promoted to GM later the same year. He’s overseen the construction of one of the best teams in the league, doing his best to put the proper building blocks together to get the team past the first round of the playoffs.

His blend of new age thinking and the fact he’s unafraid to make roster moves could be just what this organization needs right now to dig themselves out of the grave Ron Hextall and Chuck Fletcher left them in.

An interesting tidbit- he has put in place many systems to help diversify the front office and other various positions throughout the Leafs organization. For a team like the Flyers that has taken PR disaster after PR disaster, maybe bringing in someone who embraces hiring people with open minds would go a long way to prevent further damage in that category.

Assistant GM: Brent Flahr

Flahr is an interesting man in the current construction of the front office. He’s been Chuck Fletcher’s right hand man since 2009 in Minnesota. He stuck around the Wild organization for a whopping 28 days after Fletcher was fired back in 2018 and picked right back up as assistant GM when Chucky was hired by the Flyers at the end of the same year. Briere has expressed interest in keeping Flahr as part of the new-look front office, considering they’ve worked closely together in the scouting/drafting department.

His drafting seems to be fairly decent, though it’s a bit too early to tell for sure. Keeping someone in the drafting role who has plenty of experience and knows exactly what they’re doing when the rest of the front office will be a whirlwind of change can’t hurt, especially during the critical 2023 draft.

Even if he’s not a long term solution, keeping him around for a couple more years (or until some other team is dumb enough to hire Chuck Fletcher and he drops everything to follow his dom) may be the best thing for the organization at the moment. But if he gets replaced by the new regime, it’s not the end of the world either. He’s not going to play an overly hands-on role when it comes to the decision making process.

Team President: Ray Shero

Ray Shero presents the perfect mix of proven front office talent while having loose ties with the history of the Flyers as the son of legendary coach Fred Shero. He started working in front offices in 1993 when he took a job as assistant GM with the Ottawa Senators. He’s best known for guiding the Penguins though the early days of the Crosby era, culminating in a Stanley Cup in 2009. He stuck around the Pens organization until 2014 before being brought in by the Devils in 2015 where he helped lay the foundation that team is currently built on.

He’s got plenty of experience building teams and would make a great president if he no longer wants to be in the trenches of the day-to-day life as GM. He’d also be a great teacher for Briere in every aspect of the management game. Especially if the organization pushes a rebuild hard, Shero would be the best name not only to sell the fanbase on results, but his track record speaks for itself for actual results too.

Vice President: Danny Briere

It just isn’t time for Briere to be the guy. His lack of overall experience should disqualify him from heading the charge at this point. Though he can still sit under the learning tree of other front office members and could wait for his turn in the future. Briere serving as VP would keep him in the day-to-day operations to continue gather experience.

By all accounts the Comcast Spectacor suits love Briere, so if his role within the organization right now is to absorb as much as he can from the other vets in the front office whilst rebuilding relationships between the business side and hockey ops of the organization and keeping ownership away from directly meddling in the hockey product, it may be the best spot for not only him but the entire tranquility of the organization.

If they want, they can swap the VP and AGM roles with Flahr and Briere if they want Briere down and dirty on a regular basis versus the VP role where he can take this situation in from above.

Advisors: Chris Pronger and Eric Lindros

Pronger and Lindros have had their names thrown around in the early stages of the new front office construction, but there’s very little front office experience between them and neither are seemingly focused on that aspect of the game at the moment.

They’d serve essentially as cheerleaders for the organization. Faces that everyone will recognize but don’t necessarily have a major hand in the day-to-day ongoing of the team. Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber essentially serve the same role now, but they’re long past their primes and it’s time for more recent people to take over. Lindros and Pronger pander to the subsection of fans that want the former player name value in the front office without directly impacting the experience level within the rest of leadership. There’s a combined 31 years of on-ice experience between them and both have fond times with the Flyers. Who knows, they may even be worthwhile voices within the front office through sheer passion alone.

Anyone Else?

They could always add another advisor or two as well. Some other veteran “outsider” with experience that still has opinions to give and would be in line with the rest of the new people. Robert Esche, Ray Whitney and Shane Doan have been other names mentioned as potential suitors for front office roles.

Whitney is working with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, a role he’s had since 2017. He served as a scout for the Hurricanes upon his retirement in 2015. He interviewed for the Sharks GM job last season, his first formal interview for such a role, but ultimately wasn’t selected.

Shane Doan is currently serving as the Chief Hockey Development Officer with the Arizona Coyotes, a role he’s held since early 2021.

Esche is currently the president of the Utica Comets in the AHL and serves the same role for the Utica City FC of the Major Arena Soccer League. He has taken up multiple business ventures in his native New York upon retirement from hockey including restaurants and management companies, but he’s never held an official title within an NHL front office.

Realistically, the list of names of potential people next in line to serve in a front office capacity is practically endless if they choose to look outside the organization for help. They could wait until the offseason and see if any current GMs lose their jobs, dig up some other random name that is currently or previously associated in another team’s front office role.

The two key pieces would be Kyle Dubas for GM and Ray Shero for President with Briere as the middle man. It’s a winning duo and just the thing the Flyers need to save themselves.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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