Another name entered the coaching free-agent market earlier in the week with the Boston Bruins firing Bruce Cassidy. That made the Flyers search for a new head coach a little more interesting.
Cassidy met with the Boston media on Thursday in a press conference that he initiated. He noted that he has spoken with multiple teams and does want to coach next season. The Flyers are reported to have interest, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
Seravalli also noted that the Flyers have interviewed former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill and will be interviewing former New York Rangers head coach David Quinn. The Flyers also have not yet reached the second round of their hiring process, but when they do, it’s expected that John Tortorella will be a part of it.
Right now, things still seem to center around Barry Trotz’s decision. He’s the top prize of the coaching sweepstakes and until Trotz makes a decision, there doesn’t appear to be much urgency on the part of any team with a coaching vacancy to hire a coach.
That said, if Trotz were to decide not to come to Philadelphia, Tortorella’s name appears to be next on the list. Cassidy would also rank among the likes of Trotz and Tortorella when it comes to track record, so his name entering the fray could be cause for some reconsideration.
The likes of Blashill, Quinn, Penguins assistant coach Mike Vellucci, Flames assistant coach Kirk Muller, and Blues assistant coach Jim Montgomery all appear to fall into a second-tier of coaching candidates. The Flyers have reportedly already interviewed Vellucci, and have expressed interest in Muller and Montgomery. Former Flyer Rick Tocchet would also likely fall into this category.
Simply put, Trotz still holds the keys for now. Either he will make a decision or one of these teams with a vacancy will lose patience and make a hiring to get the ball rolling. Until then, expect the standstill to continue.
There also has to be a question of whether the Flyers have an internal deadline of their own. They don’t appear to be in a rush, but is there a situation where they would make a decision regardless of whether Trotz was available and still considering the options? That could make Tortorella the favorite instead.
For now, a coaching hire doesn’t appear imminent, but things change quickly. Whether that’s because Trotz makes a decision or the Flyers just decide to go a different direction remains to be seen.