Briere is GM. Jones is President. What the Hell Happened?

It’s been two months and one day since the Flyers fired Chuck Fletcher after his spectacular failure at the trade deadline and the boiled over public backlash finally forced the organization’s hand. After his departure, the team stated they would split the General Manager and President of Hockey Ops duties, roles Chuck Fletcher held concurrently. Briere was named the interim GM immediately and the hunt for a president was been underway ever since.

There was a momentary glimmer of daylight at the end of this very dark tunnel the Flyers have been stuck in. Chuck Fletcher was fired, Dave Scott stepped down, the senior citizen senior advisors were put under the microscope as the season went on. It was the perfect chance to clean house and start fresh by hiring people that led other organizations through their own rebuilds. Searching far and wide for the best minds in the game to save this once-proud franchise.

Then Danny Briere was named general manager completely uncontested and then they hired TV color commentator Keith Jones to serve as the President of Hockey Ops, and, according to the Flyers’ website, all four of Bobby Clarke, Paul Holmgren, Bill Barber and Dean Lombardi are still employed.

Not exactly the beacon of change and hope anybody expected when this process started.

Ideally, if they were hellbent on Briere as GM, you’d think a natural foil for him would be a very experienced President to help ease his transition into the full-time management role.

Smart, right?

Well how about a president that has never held a NHL front office role instead!

The biggest problem is the sheer inexperience from every level of the front office is the furthest thing from assuring. Dan Hilferty, Dave Scott’s replacement, has never been a governor of an NHL franchise, Keith Jones has never held a front office role, let alone President, and Briere has never been an NHL General Manager. The Flyers are enveloped in the most tumultuous time in the franchise’s history and opted against finding experienced candidates to lead them through the mess.

The role the President of Hockey Ops apparently isn’t even going to directly be involved in hockey operations, instead they’re going to be more business driven, meaning he’ll be working closer with Val Camillo than Danny Briere. It is not the typical role of a PoHO and in the Flyers’ case, doesn’t make much sense given the hand they’re dealt with the rest of the front office construction.

From the official Flyers press release-

The message is clear though- this is Danny Briere’s show to run. He and Tortorella will make the roster decisions moving forward while Jones plays cheerleader from the sidelines.

All we can do at this point is hope Danny Briere can be a competent GM and make a few miracle moves to turn the on-ice product around. Though as someone who served as Chuck Fletcher’s right hand man for the last year, and was in the room when such things as the Sanheim extension, the DeAngelo trade, the Deslauriers contract and the failing to move JVR at the trade deadline all went down, Briere being some spectacular mind isn’t a given. He needs to separate himself from his predecessor and craft the team in his image if he actually has a different vision than that of Fletcher.

There is something mildly sexy about the complete unknown that lies ahead. it’s the complete opposite of picking apart a veteran retread. But in the chance Briere isn’t up to the task, the whole thing goes to shit before it even gets going.

Maybe in a few year’s time, this hiring ends up not being nearly as bad as it seems at first glance. But when they have the opportunity to load the front office with experienced management and they refuse to do so, if by chance this team is still in the doldrums and dwelling in the league’s basement, the people in charge of the hiring process are going to look like stupid idiots for hiring two guys with no experience in their respective new roles. Trying to big brain a process that should’ve been approached with far more legitimacy than it was.

It’s hard to not be frustrated by the developments that this search has taken. Leave it to the Philadelphia Flyers to royally screw up a process that should be so simple, but it’s probably our fault for expecting the team to just magically pull their heads out of their asses despite all evidence to the contrary. Hopefully the major risks pay off, otherwise the next era of Flyers hockey is going to look suspiciously familiar to the last one.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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