PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said his head coaching search wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. The Flyers on Monday afternoon hired Alain Vigneault as their head coach.
Vigneault comes to the Flyers with a strong track record, having previously coached the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final. The 57-year-old last coached the Rangers for five seasons, missing the playoffs just once.
“Alain has always been somebody I’ve admired and respected,” Fletcher said on a conference call. “He’s been what I’ve considered to be a top coach in the NHL. During our conversations, it just became apparent to me he was the right guy.”
Fletcher alluded to Vigneault’s lengthy résumé as an NHL head coach as a major reason behind the hiring. Vigneault has coached over 1,200 regular-season games and 139 playoff games over his 16 years as a head coach.
Vigneault has a career winning percentage of .588 and his teams have produced 100-point campaigns in eight of his last 11 seasons behind the bench. His teams have made the postseason 11 times.
Three of his teams have won the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the NHL team with the most points in the regular season.
But Fletcher also said that Vigneault’s experience with developing players played a factor too.
“That track of winning games is critical,” Fletcher said, “but I also think he has a tremendous track record of developing players, holding his players accountable, instilling proper habits in his players. His ability to adapt and read the game, make changes as he sees fit is top notch.”
The Flyers haven’t made any decisions on coaching staff, Fletcher said.
Vigneault replaces Scott Gordon, who coached the Flyers to a 25-22-4 record after becoming the interim head coach on Dec. 17, 2018.
Gordon was the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ head coach since the 2015-16 season before being called up to replace Dave Hakstol in December.
Fletcher said the Phantoms’ job is Gordon’s if he wants it and that the two will talk again in a few weeks.
“When I spoke with him this morning, obviously he was disappointed,” Fletcher said. “He wanted to be the head coach. I just advised him to take some time, we can talk again over the coming weeks. Certainly the Lehigh Valley job is his if he wants it.”