Adding to a slew of firings early on this season, Flyers fans calling for the termination of four-year head coach Dave Hakstol got their wish this past Monday, as the team made the move official. Despite speculation regarding bringing in an outside coach, new Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher decided that Lehigh Valley Phantom’s head coach Scott Gordon shall serve in the interim, claiming Gordon will likely retain the position for the remainder of the season. After managing to win his debut two games, thanks in part to the call-up of long-touted prospect Carter Hart, Gordon seems to be doing something to right the sinking ship in Philadelphia.
Thus far, Gordon has had minimal coaching success at the NHL level. During Gordon’s two year tenure, he was fired 17 games into his third season, as head coach of the New York Islanders, the team had an abysmal record of 64-94-23, though not all of the blame could likely fall on Gordon, as the team had abysmal scoring in those years, failing to have a player score above 60 points during his employment. As far as goaltending is concerned, the Islanders were often shortchanged there as well, riding a carousel of netminders, none of which put up particularly notable numbers, be them good or bad.
However, Gordon has found great success in the AHL as a head coach, having since been the coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for three years before being “called up” to coach the NHL team. Despite a rather pedestrian first year, where the team failed to make the playoffs and did not reach a points percentage of .500, Gordon quickly turned the team into a powerhouse, coaching the team to a brief playoff appearance in 2016-17, and later bringing the team to the third round of the Calder Cup Playoffs before being swept by the eventual champion Toronto Marlies.
During his time in Lehigh Valley Gordon has had experience coaching a number of the young prospects that are currently on the roster, as well as a number of prospects who project to make the NHL team in the following years. This experience, as well as the general experience of coaching younger players, may come in handy as he tries to lead the youthful Flyers roster going forward. However, these same assumptions were made regarding the hiring of Dave Hakstol back in 2015, so it is difficult to predict if former experience with coaching young players translates to the highest levels.
Regardless of any speculation, Fletcher insists that Scott Gordon is likely going to be the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for the remainder of the coming season, and has also made it clear the Gordon is definitely a candidate to obtain the position full time. While it still remains to be seen if Gordon has learned from his past failures and successes as a coach, he is certainly going to be someone to watch as the Flyers continue through the tumultuous 2018-19 season.
Featured Image: Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers
Collin has been a lifelong hockey and sports fan rooting on Philadelphia for as long as he can remember. He is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park studying communications.