Flyers fire head coach Dave Hakstol

ByEmily Kaplan via ESPN logo
Monday, December 17, 2018
ESPN

The Philadelphia Flyershave fired coach Dave Hakstol, the team announced Monday.

Scott Gordon, the coach of the Flyers' AHL affiliate, will serve as interim head coach. Gordon has NHL head-coaching experience with the New York Islanders (2008-10).

Hakstol, in his fourth year with the club, is the fifth NHL coach to be fired this season. That comes after no head coaches were dismissed during the entire 2017-18 season, a first since Original Six expansion.

"After meeting this morning with Dave Hakstol and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to relieve him of his duties as head coach," Flyers vice president and general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a news release. "As I continue to assess the team, I feel that this is the best course of action for our group moving forward."

The move comes a day after the Flyers denied reports they were moving on from Hakstol, with a team spokesperson saying at the time, "Dave Hakstol is our coach."

Despite playoff expectations -- bolstered by the free-agent acquisition of James van Riemsdyk, one of the best offensive players on the market -- Philadelphia has tumbled.

As of Monday, the Flyers have the worst record in the Eastern Conference (12-15-4) and are on a four-game losing streak, during which they've been outscored 22-8. The team dismissed general manager Ron Hextall last month and replaced him with Fletcher, who was previously the GM of the Minnesota Wild for nine seasons.

When he was hired Dec. 3, Fletcher said he wanted time to evaluate Hakstol before making a decision on the coach's future with the team.

There were rumblings about Hakstol's fate last December after the team endured a 10-game losing streak. The Flyers went on to finish third in the Metropolitan Division and made the playoffs, but lost to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.

Hakstol, 50, came to the Flyers after 11 seasons at the University of North Dakota. He previously did not have NHL experience. While at UND, Hakstol helped produce many NHL players, including Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie. He also coached Hextall's son, Brett.

With the Flyers, Hakstol's team made the playoffs in two of three seasons.

One of the biggest woes for Philadelphia this season has been goaltending. The Flyers have already used a league-high five goaltenders who have combined for a league-worst .874 save percentage this season.

Hours before Hakstol's firing, the team recalled its top goaltending prospect, 20-year-old Carter Hart.

Should Hart debut in the next week, the Flyers will become just the second team in NHL history to have six goalies play before Christmas, according to Elias. The other team was the 2002-03 St. Louis Blues, who suited up Fred Brathwaite, Tom Barrasso, Brent Johnson, Curtis Sanford, Reinhard Divis and Cody Rudkowsky.

The Flyers next play Tuesday against the visiting Detroit Red Wings(7 p.m. ET, ESPN+).