The Flyers kicked off the NHL’s Pinkslip season on Friday, announcing that Chuck Fletcher was stepping down as general manager and Danny Brielle was sitting in the big chair.
There are few people in the game as nice as Fletcher. he is full class. But it’s safe to say that this wasn’t a shocking decision. Since last summer, it’s felt like the clock was ticking on Fletcher as Philadelphia’s general manager.
Enter Briere and don’t be fooled by the official GM “interim” tag. He is very likely to become his GM full time. I’d be pretty surprised if he wasn’t at the end of the Flyers process.
Even when he was playing, Briere was the thoughtful type, giving the impression that one day he would be GM material — much like his former Sabers teammate Chris Drury.
If people can get Brielle out of the way in Philadelphia, he can be a really good guy. But it’s the Flyers, so who knows?
My friend Scott Burnside wrote a great profile on Briere athletic Three years ago, it certainly left the impression that Briere was moving up the executive team.
Then, last season, GM interviews took place in Montreal, and Briere became a final-round candidate for the job won by Kent Hughes, impressing Hubb along the way in these interviews.
So this day had come at some point. It was a matter of when.
Nashville’s GM will also be replaced, with Barry Trotts replacing David Poile, the all-time winningest GM in NHL history, on July 1st.
These two moves change the landscape for league executives. Are they just the beginning? Let’s see how other GMs in the league are doing.
Hey, did you know Leafs GM has an expiring contract?
Toronto is finally trying to get out of the first round of the playoffs, has had a great regular season, and has no busy GM before the trade deadline. it’s all there. If anything, this is it.
Personally, I think Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment should have made this decision last summer. Extend or loosen Dubas. (I would have extended him.) Putting your GM in a lame duck situation in the NHL’s biggest market wasn’t ideal, fine in most of his NHL markets, but fine in Toronto . For the same reason, Habs owner Geoff Molson couldn’t let Marc Bergevin get caught in the wind all season long ago and felt forced into the management changes he made. Montreal and Toronto are not markets where lame duck situations can be easily ignored.
The question is, what does the MLSE board now see as expansion-worthy for Dubas? A playoff series win? two? Going to the Stanley Cup finals? I think we’ll find out this spring. However, based on how the rest of the front office sees Dubas, we can confidently say he won’t be away from his job for long.
Brad Treliving, Flames
Treliving, in his second term as GM at Calgary, is working on an expiring contract. it happens. Boston’s Don Sweeney and Carolina’s Don Waddell worked on expiring contracts in the 2021-22 season and were re-signed after the season ended.
But the expiring deal comes at an interesting time for Treliving, who is entering his ninth season since being named GM of the Flames in April 2014. They are in the middle of a playoff race. The unique part of all this is that head coach Darryl Sutter signed a two-year extension pre-season. There were also negotiations going on, but for some reason those negotiations didn’t result in a deal.
I suspect these conversations will happen again before the regular season is over. So we’ll see where it goes.
Dorion is under contract until the 2024-25 season with a club option for 2025-26. He has been his GM at his Sens since April 2016 and has just finished his 7th season. His team finally looks to be on the rise with a careful rebuild and the acquisition of a young core player.
The hope is to finish the Senator sale by July, but they could take longer.
So what does that mean for Dorion? It wouldn’t be surprising if the new owners wanted to reorganize, and that could include GM changes.If the sale doesn’t end after July, I think it makes the most sense to give Dorion at least another year. You can get the chance to get to know Dorion in the next season ins what to do.
That’s how I play, but I’ll see if the new owner feels the same way.
Hextal was hired as Pens’ GM in February 2021, agreeing a four-year deal that also includes a team option for the 2024-25 season.
The important thing to remember is that the team’s ownership group, led by Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, hired him. He was then taken over by Fenway Sports Group in December 2021. Whenever a team changes ownership, his current GM will be monitored.
Hextal has been under attack in Pittsburgh, and has been heavily criticized by the local media, especially over the past month. What’s a little baffling to watch from afar is that the Penguins are sitting exactly where they thought they’d be before the season: the wildcard spot.
Now they could miss the playoffs, which I think is bad for Hextall.
But I think the job Hextall was actually employed by the previous owner has also changed. I think he was hired to make some tough decisions at his core as he grew old—for example, parting ways with legacy players like Evgeny Malkin and Chris Letang. It was clear that he wanted to. So here we are.
And finally, it goes without saying that playoff results have a way of flipping Apple carts. So let’s see what the first round brings in that regard.
(Kyle Dubus Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)