Chuck Fletcher: “Everyone is Under Evaluation, Including Me”
A week ago new Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher was out scouting for the NJ Devils, today he is the new GM of the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I'm very thankful and i'm excited for the opportunity," Fletcher told me on the Sports Bash.
Fletcher, 51, spent nine seasons as general manager of the Minnesota Wild. His Wild teams never made it out of the second round of the playoffs, and he was fired after Minnesota lost to Winnipeg in the playoffs.
Now Fletcher will try to do something in Philly he wasn't able to do in Minnesota, get them past the first-round of the playoffs and beyond. So what excited Fletcher about the current Flyers team?
"There are a lot of good players, Fletcher said. "We have four-or-five top end players, right at the top of the roster that have been here for awhile and are clearly established in this league. But yet you look and the future is bright too, there is a lot of good young players and a bounty of nice young prospects peculating underneath."
"This franchise is set up nicely, you have to give a lot of credit to Ron Hextall, its situated well for the long term."
The 51-year-old replaces Ron Hextall, who was fired on last Monday.
As far as what the team is lacking, Fletcher stated the obvious when you look at this team play.
"Most teams that make the playoffs are in the top-half of the league in goals-against, we're down towards the bottom," Fletcher observed. "We need to find a way to give up fewer goals, whether that's through better goaltending, better defensive play in front, but health, or likely all the above."
When a new GM comes in, typically that is not good news for the incumbent coach. Dave Hakstol was Hextall's hand-picked guy, but Fletcher says he is willing to give the coach a chance to prove he belongs.
"Everyone is under evaluation, including me," Fletcher explained. "That's just the reality of this business. But he is absolutely going to get a fair look, I respect Dave Hakstol, I like him."
One area that Flyers fans consistently have talked about needing to be upgraded is the goaltender, this season five different guys have started between the pipes, its something Fletcher acknowledged needs to change.
"We need stabilize it immediately," Fletcher admitted. "Three of our goaltenders contracts are up at the end of this year. It's a situation that has to be dealt with one-way-or-the-other. We have a lot of decisions to make in that position."
"There is opportunity, we hope someone can get healthy and grab it."