Alain Vigneault was hired as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
“It is an honor to be selected as the next head coach of the Flyers,” Vigneault said. “The history they have established and the passionate fan base has made this a first-class franchise. I am excited to work with (general manager) Chuck (Fletcher), the talented group of players and prospects coming up through the system, in order to return Philadelphia to the top of the NHL landscape.”
Vigneault signed a multiyear contract; terms were not disclosed.
The 57-year-old, who last coached in the NHL with the New York Rangers and was fired after five seasons on April 7, 2018, replaces Scott Gordon, who went 25-22-4 in 51 games after replacing Dave Hakstol on Dec. 17.
“Alain has always been somebody I’ve admired and respected,” Fletcher said. “I’ve watched the job he’s done over the years and throughout his career, but particularly in Vancouver and with the Rangers. He’s always been what I considered to be a top coach in the NHL. I made a decision that I wanted to speak with him. During our conversations it became apparent to me that he was the right guy. Once you come to that conclusion it makes sense to pursue it and we were able to finalize it this morning.”
Vigneault will coach Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, in Slovakia from May 10-26. Hakstol will be one of his assistants.
In 16 seasons with the Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens, Vigneault is 648-435-98, with 35 ties. He’s tied with Ron Wilson for 12th all-time in wins, and his 1,216 games coached are 18th.
Vigneault is 68-71 in 139 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and twice has taken teams to the Cup Final, losing each time (Vancouver Canucks, 2011; New York Rangers 2014).
“You look at Alain and he’s coached for many years in this League, he’s won a lot of games in the regular season and the playoffs,” Fletcher said. “His teams have had playoff success, he’s won the Jack Adams (Award with the Canucks in 2006-07), he’s won the Presidents’ Trophy (Canucks in 2010-11, 2011-12; Rangers in 2014-15). Certainly that track record of winning games is critical. But I also think he has a tremendous track record of developing players, holding his players accountable, instilling proper habits in his players.
“I think he’s one of the better bench coaches in the National Hockey League. His ability to adapt and read the game and make changes as he sees fit is top-notch. Obviously a hard worker. But in my time with him here over the last few days I’ve found out he’s a real good person and somebody I communicated with well. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of working with him.”
The Flyers (37-37-8) finished 16 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in seven seasons. They haven’t won a playoff series since 2012.
Fletcher said he will work with Vigneault to determine the future of assistant coaches Kris Knoblauch, Rick Wilson and Ian Laperriere, goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh and video coach Adam Patterson. All were holdovers from Hakstol’s staff.
Gordon coached Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League for four seasons prior to replacing Hakstol, and Fletcher said he could return to that job if he wanted.
“He did a good job for the Flyers,” Fletcher said. “Came in under tough circumstances. Thought he did a good job with our hockey team. When I spoke with him this morning he was disappointed; he wanted to be the head coach. I just advised him to take some time, we can talk again over the coming weeks. The Lehigh Valley job is his if he wants it. Right now I don’t think is the time to discuss it. Right now he needs to take some time to let everything sink in. A few weeks down the road we’ll have another discussion on what path he wants to go down.”