By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
On Dec. 17, the Flyers fired Dave Hakstol and named Scott Gordon the interim head coach for what would be the remainder of the season, 51 games total.
With Gordon at the helm, the Flyers won three of his first four games as head coach. Following the holiday break, they lost eight straight games before embarking on a stretch of 24 games with an 18-4-2 record.
It was around that time that the head coaching job appeared to be Gordon's to lose. The team has undergone a change. The results were changing. There was some excitement again.
But when the Flyers crumbled at the end of the season and missed the playoffs, Chuck Fletcher's message at exit interviews seemed to say that changes were needed in many ways. A new head coach could come in, implement a new system from the beginning of training camp and assemble a group of assistants that could improve the finer details of the game. New players in certain areas could bring out the best in the team. Continued development from young players was also a must. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Gordon, and sure enough, it was when the team announced Alain Vigneault as the next head coach of the Flyers.
So what's next for Scott Gordon, the interim head coach that is, for now, out of a job?
For starters, there is an offer already on the table for Gordon. A place in the Flyers organization is openly available to him if he wants it. It's a place he is very familiar with.
"When I spoke with him this morning, obviously he was disappointed. He wanted to be the head coach," Fletcher said in a conference call on Monday. "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, but right now I don’t think is the time to discuss that. Right now I just think he needs to take some time and let everything sink in, and a few weeks down the road we’ll have another discussion as to what path he wants to go down."
With the Phantoms, Gordon was the perfect guide for developing players and achieving success in the AHL ranks. In his first season with the Phantoms in 2015-16, Gordon's team won 34 games and finished seventh in the division, missing the playoffs. The following season, the Phantoms won 48 games, finished second in the division and were knocked out in a five-game series with Hershey in the first round of the playoffs. In the 2017-18 season, the Phantoms won the Atlantic Division with 47 wins and reached the Eastern Conference Final.
Gordon said a week earlier in his exit interview that he wasn't interested in serving as an assistant coach, but would be open to returning to the Phantoms.
Gordon's overall body of work in the organization has been excellent. With the Phantoms and even in his brief time with the Flyers, he has played a key role in the development of players like Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim and Oskar Lindblom.
Time will tell if Gordon remains with the Flyers organization, but it's clear he played a vital role in the makeup of the Flyers roster at the moment. To keep him around, especially as more young prospects make their way through the ranks, would certainly be beneficial.