Win from the get-go? Flyers have a coaching candidate known for that


Throughout May and possibly into June, we'll look at potential candidates for the Flyers' head coaching vacancy.

"We're going to sit down and try to build that ideal candidate profile and really keep all options open, maybe look at it from a little broader perspective," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said May 3. "Clearly we have to sit down and really drill down in terms of what we're looking for. I'm sure there will be a lot of quality candidates we'll speak to."

We've looked at Barry TrotzRick TocchetPaul MauriceJim Montgomery and John Tortorella. Next up in our series is Peter DeBoer, who was fired by the Golden Knights this week.

Why DeBoer would be a fit

What makes DeBoer particularly intriguing for the Flyers' job is his track record of having big-time success in Year 1.

The Flyers are facing pressure to improve quickly. DeBoer is a guy that can say he has been there, done that.

The soon-to-be 54-year-old has had four NHL coaching stops in his career. He went to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final in his first season with the Devils and the 2016 Cup Final in Year 1 with the Sharks.

His first-ever NHL gig was leading the Panthers in 2008-09 and Florida finished with a 93-point season at 41-30-11.

At his most recent job, DeBoer took over the Golden Knights in January of the 2019-20 season. Vegas went 15-5-2 under him and then made a run to the Western Conference Final in the Edmonton, Alberta bubble.

Talk about hitting the ground running.

Overall, DeBoer has been very good in the playoffs aside from winning that elusive final series. He's 68-55 in the postseason with seven playoff berths and 13 series victories. The 13 series victories are just two shy of Trotz and three more than Tortorella.

DeBoer's system is predicated on clean and structured exits out of the defensive zone with offense being orchestrated from his blueliners.

Those are aspects Fletcher harped on in his end-of-the-season press conference.

"Clearly injuries were a significant part of things, but I think it goes a little bit deeper than that," Fletcher said of the Flyers' 25-46-11 season. "We just really struggled this year. We were defending all the time and that's something we have to look at. We weren't exiting D-zone well enough. So there are certainly things we have to look at in terms of our structure, our details. We didn't have the puck enough and when you defend all the time, bad things happen.

"I go back to process and hopefully with coaching and looking at a few different ways, we can try to have the puck a little bit more often and not spend so much time in D-zone, make the game a little bit easier."

Why DeBoer would not be a fit

DeBoer has never taken over a situation as dire as the Flyers' current spot. Some of DeBoer's previous clubs needed refining as they were nearing the next step.

While the Flyers do have pieces and better health should help their chances, they still have a steep climb after finishing in the bottom four of the NHL's 32-team standings this season.

Is DeBoer the ideal candidate for a significant turnaround? Tough to say.

One of the Flyers' myriad of issues this season was their NHL-worst power play (12.6 percent). Over parts of DeBoer's three seasons in Vegas, the Golden Knights' power play ranked 21st in the league at 18.6 percent. The 2011-12 Devils, his best club, had an OK power play at 17.2 percent.

He had better rankings in San Jose on the man advantage, but there could be valid concerns about his ability to fix the Flyers' glaring flaw.

It's also fair to wonder how DeBoer would handle pressure-packed Philadelphia. Vegas did have high expectations and San Jose won a good bit, but coaching in the Flyers' market could pose his biggest challenge.

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