Flyers coach nominees: Jim Montgomery

During May and possibly even June, we will be looking at potential candidates for the position of Head of Training at Flyers.

“We’re going to sit down and try to build that perfect candidate profile and really keep all options open, and maybe look at it from a slightly broader perspective,” Chuck Fletcher, general manager of pilots, said on May 3. And we really dive into what we’re looking for. I’m sure there will be plenty of good candidates to talk to. “

We’ve looked at Barry Trotz, Rick Tocchet, and Paul Maurice. Next in our series is Jim Montgomery.

Why Montgomery would be a good fit

Montgomery, who turns 53 in June, has done some amazing work during parts of two star-led seasons.

In the first year of their first-ever NHL practice gig, a Dallas side that had missed the postseason for the past two years took the second round of the 2019 playoffs. The stars went 43-32-7 during the 2018-19 regular season and lost to the champion in The ultimate jumper in overtime doubling game 7.

After a 3-11-17 start in 2019-20, Montgomery was fired for unprofessional conduct. Soon after, he entered a rehab facility for alcohol abuse. Montgomery called Dallas’ decision “the appropriate invitation,” forcing him to “look in the mirror.”

Montgomery has bounced back through sobriety, which you can read about here in a story by Mike Chambers of the Denver Post. Montgomery, who jumped to the NHL from the college ranks in Denver, is currently in his second season as an assistant coach for the Blues. St. Louis opened their second-round playoff series tonight against Avalanche.

Montgomery has some connections to Philly. He played 13 career games with the Flyers and 159 phantoms games.

His preferred style of play as head coach addresses what the Flyers have sorely missed in the past two seasons. He likes to use the ball possession game in which a miserly defense is created by the way you play offensively. In his first full season with Dallas, the stars scored the second-fewest NHL goals per game at 2.44 and won the first five shootouts with 82.8 percent.

During consecutive seasons missing the playoffs, the Flyers conceded 3.56 goals per game, the worst in the league.

“Obviously the injuries were an important part of things, but I think it’s a little bit deeper than that,” Fletcher said of the Flyers ending 25-46-11 this season. “We’ve really struggled this year. We’ve been defending the whole time and that’s something we have to look at. We didn’t get out of Zone D well enough. So there are definitely things we have to look at in terms of our chassis, our details. We didn’t have enough tweaks and when we defended all the way through. Over time, bad things happen.”

Why isn’t Montgomery a good fit

Is Montgomery ready to be head coach again? If the pilots rated it as a candidate, it would be a question they would be looking to answer.

In the end, Montgomery is the best person to answer this question. One would think that yes given that he has faced a huge challenge in his life and previously shown that he can achieve success at this level.

But regardless of the personal challenge, Montgomery is inexperienced, and given their predicament, the Flyers could look to a coach with a long track record. They are not in a position to get such an important decision after having missed the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Similar to Montgomery, Alain Vigneault had an acquisition-based system working for the Flyers but soon faltered.

After all things considered, the Flyers probably won’t see Montgomery as their best fit and may not see them as their best fit.

But the common interest would not be surprising.

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