It has been an eventful off season for Philadelphia Flyersbut not necessarily in a good way.
Despite the promise of an “aggressive realignment” from general manager Chuck Fletcher last winter, the Flyers essentially opted to bring back much of last year’s roster. James Van Rimsdijk is back, Rasmus Restolainen is back, Kevin Connaughton is back, and Nick Seiler is back. Even Justin Brown, who the team shipped to New York Rangers On the trade deadline, he came back.
The pilots did make some off-season additions, though none of them moved the needle much, if at all. Defenseman Tony DeAngelo has been obtained from Carolina Hurricanes During the draft, although his scoring numbers may raise some eyebrows, he is far from a perfect fit in a new defensive scheme that is expected to be more structured than it has been in years past (not to mention the external issues to consider).
Nic Deslauriers is here too, but he’s known more for his toughness than his skill. In 506 games as an NHLer, Deslauriers scored 521 penalty kicks and only 85 points (44 goals, 41 assists).
Perhaps the biggest addition to the pilots off-season has been none other than their new head coach. John Tortorella has a proven track record of success, and is one of the best coaches in the recent history of the National Hockey League. He’s a Stanley Cup winner, two-time Jack Adams award-winning, and until last season, the best American-born coach in NHL history. Tortorella knows how to win and wins a lot.
However, he appears not entirely happy with what he has seen from his players since he was named 23rd in Flyers history.
while talking with Sirius XM NHL Network Radio On Wednesday, Tortorella expressed his deep dissatisfaction with the Flyers’ locker room culture, franchise icon and former captain Claude Giroud now playing for the team. Ottawa SenatorsTortorella made it clear that he is in no hurry to name a new captain.
“In terms of the room, I have major concerns about the room,” Tortorella said.
“I’ve spent the summer going back and forth – I live in New York and go back and forth to Philly trying to get there, but I’ve spent some time in the office talking to the players, talking to the staff, talking to Chuck (Fletcher), all the front desks, and I have big concerns. About what’s going on in there. Before we step on the ice, the attitudes, standards, and accountability in the room are up front, and you can’t do ice squats until your room is straightened, and I think we have a little bit of work to do there.”
The culture inside the Flyers locker room has been a known problem for several years in a row, but with no Giroux in the fold, so has the glue that held the room together.
While concerns abound, there are still several key voices in the locker room keeping the ducks in line – Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Scott Lawton and Kevin Hayes immediately come to mind. But accountability concerns are not new to pilots. Tortorella even admitted just as much in his early days as a Flyers coach.
“I can feel the dressing room is a bit torn. Not together,” Tortorella told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tarin Hatcher in June. “That’s my number one goal now, we can’t do anything right on the ice unless we’re together in the locker room, and that’s a very important part of the first work I need to do is get everyone to believe that we’re together. It’s a team sport. I think It’s a bit torn, and that’s my gut feeling as I went through this process here.”
It may not be realistic to expect things to magically improve after Giroud’s departure. But Tortorella has united locker rooms before, and it’s not unreasonable to think he’d be able to do the same in Philadelphia.
However, his work was definitely cut short.