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Flyers Fire General Manager Chuck Fletcher, Name Daniel Brière Interim GM

After a strong start to his tenure, the Flyers fell apart under Chuck Fletcher’s final three seasons in Philadelphia, leading to his dismal Friday morning. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Flyers Fire General Manager Chuck Fletcher, Name Daniel Brière Interim GM

In the midst of a third consecutive incredibly disappointing season, Flyers fans have been hungry for all kinds of change, but one type specifically. And on Friday morning, ownership finally acquiesced.

The Flyers went 152-157-45 during Chuck Fletcher’s tenure, which began on Dec. 3, 2018, shortly after the Flyers fired his successor Ron Hextall after a similar amount of time. Since the start of the 2020-21 season, the Flyers rank 26th in the NHL in points percentage. The Flyers did make the playoffs the previous season with the league’s sixth-best record, advancing to the second round for the first time since 2012. But they could not get any farther that year. And once the snowball started rolling, Fletcher was unable to stop it at best and actively contributed to its growth at worst.

Taking his place, for now, is Daniel Brière, who had been serving as special assistant to the GM since Feb. 8, 2022. Brière was in consideration for the Montréal Canadiens GM job last season and is a candidate, but certainly not a cinch, to be Philadelphia’s permanent GM going forward.

The full impact of Fletcher’s tenure in Philadelphia won’t be known for years to come. But for now, it goes down as an unmitigated disaster. Both Fletcher’s actions — such as questionable extensions for Travis Sanheim, as well as Rasmus Ristolainen (plus the trade for Ristolainen, of course) and the ill-fated Erik Gustafsson signing — and inaction — including failing to effectively replace Matt Niskanen after his retirement in 2020, the inability to move James van Riemsdyk at this year’s trade deadline (which The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor said “probably did serve as kinda the last straw” for his firing) and the decision not to pursue local star Johnny Gaudreau in free agency last summer — mar any traces of his success early in his time in Philadelphia.

There were some incredibly, almost comical, bad breaks during Fletcher’s run in Philadelphia. COVID-19 wreaking havoc with the one contender he was able to assemble. His two best acquisitions in the summer of 2021, Ryan Ellis and Cam Atkinson, combining to play 75 games over the last two seasons. Ellis’ career is all but over and Atkinson’s future is certainly murky. His best player, Sean Couturier, being sidelined since Dec. 2021 with back issues. But they hardly present a blanket issue for all of Fletcher’s mistakes.

Yes.

Fletcher’s firing mercifully opens the door for a new era in Philadelphia. But as the Flyers found out when they hired Fletcher, new doesn’t always mean better.

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