Writing Is on the Wall for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren After Peter Laviolette Firing
There is nothing wrong with the move, as the Flyers missed the playoffs last year and are clearly not responding at all to Laviolette with three straight losses to start the 2013-14 season.
But at the same time, there is only so much a coach can do, and other people have to be held accountable.
General manager Paul Holmgren is responsible for the team that is out on the ice and deserves to be fired along with Laviolette.
The team has not looked cohesive: They are slow, mistake-prone and cannot generate any offense. Scoring only three goals in three games is pitiful.
There is actually a sizable amount of talent on the team, but there are some significant problems with how the roster is constructed.
They have three good right wingers, but their only good left winger is regressing quickly and looks like an average second-liner at best.
Should Paul Holmgren Be Fired?
They have an elite first-line center, but Brayden Schenn, the 21-year-old, former No. 1 prospect center, has been bumped out of position, which seems like a strange way to develop his talent.
Holmgren went out and made their biggest free-agent splash on the position where they needed the least help, which is just another move that will continue to be questioned so long as the offense is in shambles.
Schenn has actually looked pretty decent out on the wing so far, but it seems strange to have four top centers (and guess what position their top prospect plays) while rostering just one talented left winger and a dreadful defense.
Kimmo Timonen is a talented puck-moving defenseman, but he is 38 years old and looks it. So the Flyers signed a very similar player, Mark Streit, who is younger...by just three years.
Nicklas Grossmann is playing far too many minutes and his lack of speed and tendency to take bad penalties has been apparent this season. Luke Schenn is a little better, but not by much.
The NHL game is faster than ever. Having a 35-year-old, a 38-year-old and two guys who are known for their lack of speed on the blue line is not exactly a recipe for success.
The biggest problem with the defense has been their inability to move the puck up the ice and create a rush. Instead, they often flip the puck out of the zone and allow the opponent to recycle or just turn the puck over outright.
So did Holmgren spend his 11th overall pick this past June on a more polished, offensive-minded defenseman who can help pick up the slack soon?
International Scouting Services did not have Morin in their Top 30, but they did compare him to the one and only Tyler Myers, which should make any hockey fan bang their head against the nearest wall.
After the second round, Holmgren also made a number of extremely questionable picks, passing up some real talent for goons and unranked, unknown defensemen.
Last but certainly not least, the Flyers goalie situation is not optimal. They have two average options both on one-year deals.
There is a very good chance they could be searching for a new starter yet again next summer.
Holmgren has done his fair share in butchering the situation, with the Ilya Bryzgalov megadeal and the Sergei Bobrovsky trade.
The bottom line is the players were not responding to their coach any more, and firing Laviolette was inevitable.
Craig Berube will be just fine as the new head coach, and Ian Laperriere could make a fantastic assistant.
But a lot of the blame rests squarely on Holmgren's shoulders, and he should be following the coach out the door.
There is a reason Ron Hextall came on board as an assistant general manager this year. He figured Holmgren's time was coming.
Hextall should be replacing Holmgren soon. If not, there will be a lot of questions in the air about the future of the Flyers organization.
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