The Flyers offseason will feature a lengthy to-do list. It will include waiting to see what happens at the draft lottery on May 8 to determine where the team will be selecting in the first round of the draft and potentially more roster moves to come with “subtractions” looming.
But the item at the top of the list has to be the hiring of a new President of Hockey Operations. In the days following the end of the 2022-23 season, the Flyers appear to be in the process of narrowing down candidates.
According to reports from Anthony DiMarco of The Fourth Period and Anthony SanFilippo of Crossing Broad, the Flyers have already interviewed two candidates for the position: Emilie Castonguay, currently assistant GM of the Vancouver Canucks, and Scott Mellanby, currently a senior advisor to the GM with the St. Louis Blues.
Castonguay, 36, started her career as the first female NHLPA-certified player agent, representing Marie-Philip Poulin and Alexis Lafreniere. In January 2022, she was hired by the Canucks as an assistant GM, becoming the second woman to hold that role in the NHL.
Mellanby, 56, played 21 seasons in the NHL from 1985-86 to 2006-07. In his playing career, he finished with 1,431 games played, scoring 364 goals and 840 points.
He spent the first six seasons of his career with the Flyers, drafted by the team in the second round with the 27th overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. With the Flyers, Mellanby played 355 games and scored 83 goals and 197 points. Mellanby also had stops in Edmonton, Florida, St. Louis, and Atlanta.
Following his playing career, Mellanby spent three years in the Canucks organization as a special consultant to general manager Mike Gillis and the hockey operations department. He then spent the next two years with the Blues organization as an assistant coach before stepping away.
In May 2012, Mellanby was hired by the Montreal Canadiens as Director of Player Personnel, eventually becoming assistant GM in July 2014. On Nov. 27, 2021, Mellanby resigned from the assistant GM position in Montreal, one day before the team fired GM Marc Bergevin.
It was widely assumed that Mellanby would become the GM in Montreal with rumblings of Bergevin’s pending dismissal. According to reports, Mellanby was in discussions for both the GM and President of Hockey Operations positions in Montreal at that time, but when informed he was out of the running, he resigned. He became a senior advisor with the Blues in July 2022.
There have been several other reported names of interest in the Flyers search for a President of Hockey Operations. Ray Shero, Dave Poulin, and Doug Wilson are among the reported names that could potentially be interviewed.
Another name that has been reported to be potentially included in the Flyers front office overhaul is Cammi Granato, who also is an assistant GM for the Canucks and works directly with Castonguay.
Now that some of the potential candidates have been mentioned, there’s another wrinkle to the Flyers search that is noteworthy. On Friday, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reported a potential conflict of interest has surfaced in the search.
The search for a President of Hockey Operations is being headed by new Comcast Spectacor CEO and Chairman and Governor of the Flyers Dan Hilferty and President and CEO of Business Operations Valerie Camillo. In addition, former Sixers GM Billy King is also assisting in the search as a part of Modern Executive Solutions, a consulting company that focuses on executive hires.
Also part of the search is Neil Glasberg, who owns PBI Sports and is the founder and president of The Coaches Agency. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Glasberg was previously involved with the Flyers in their head coaching search last offseason.
The Coaches Agency currently has three NHL teams as clients: the Flyers, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Vancouver Canucks.
That’s where the conflict of interest comes into play. PBI Sports also represents multiple coaches and executives, including current NHL head coaches Mike Sullivan and Gerard Gallant, former Flyer and NHL assistant coach Mark Recchi, former Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon. Among executives, PBI Sports represents current Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and former Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.
Another name that was previously represented by Glasberg and PBI Sports: current Flyers head coach John Tortorella.
The connection between Glasberg and Castonguay through the partnership the Canucks have with The Coaching Agency create this potential conflict of interest.
It adds a new wrinkle to the search process, one that also does not appear to involve anybody else within the Flyers management group – not the team’s current senior advisors and not interim GM Danny Briere, who is expected to take over the role permanently in the near future, potentially around the same time as the Flyers make a final decision on the President of Hockey Operations search.