After replacing former head coach Alain Vigneault on Dec. 6, Mike Yeo is out as Flyers interim coach, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced on Tuesday at his end-of-season news conference.
Yeo, 48, led the Flyers to a 17-36-7 record as interim coach. The Flyers, 25-46-11 overall, finished last in the Metropolitan Division and missed out on the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Fletcher praised Yeo’s efforts despite the team’s lack of success this season. He commended Yeo for helping the Flyers take steps in the right direction in certain areas of their game, including puck possession, zone entries, and scoring at five-on-five.
“We dealt Mike a really tough hand,” Fletcher said. “He’s a good coach. I thought he did a really good job under the circumstances. He kept our players competing and playing hard ‘til the end.”
While he won’t bring Yeo back as head coach, Fletcher said that Yeo is “the type of person we’d love to keep in the organization going forward” in a different capacity, either in coaching, player development, the front office, or scouting. However, Yeo is open to seek opportunities with other teams.
Those conversations with Yeo will play out over the next six weeks as both parties figure out their next steps this offseason.
“He has a lot of experience, a lot of good ideas, and obviously has a lot of first-hand information on our players and the environment,” Fletcher said.
When Fletcher named Yeo the interim in the midst of the Flyers’ 10-game losing streak after firing Vigneault and assistant Michel Therrien, he called upon Yeo to help the team “forge a new identity.”
Yeo attempted to help players reverse their bad habits and wasn’t afraid to call them out publicly for their shortcomings. However, the remainder of the 2021-22 season brought more of the same failure as the start did.
Prior to taking over as interim coach, Yeo was responsible for running the Flyers’ penalty kill, which finished 11th in the league in 2019-20 (81.8%), 30th in 2020-21 (73.1%), and 27th in 2021-22 (75.8%).
Before joining the Flyers as an assistant coach for the 2019-20 season under Vigneault, Yeo spent five seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Wild and three with the St. Louis Blues in the same position. He was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 when they won the Stanley Cup.
Meanwhile, starting Wednesday, Fletcher and his hockey operations group will get together and build an “ideal candidate profile” for the team’s next head coach. At this early stage of the process, Fletcher said that “all options are open.” Once they determine what they’re looking for in a prospective head coach, they will begin reaching out to candidates and setting up interviews.
Fletcher didn’t set forth a particular time frame to complete the head coaching search and hiring process.
“I think we’re aware of the calendar, but the important thing is to get the right coach,” Fletcher said. “The right fit, the right chemistry. As long as it takes, that’s what we’ll take.”
The Flyers have had six different head coaches over the last 10 seasons, including two on an interim basis. In those 10 seasons, the Flyers only made it to the playoffs four times, never advancing past the second round. The next head coach for the franchise’s 56th season will become the 23rd in team history.
Now, Fletcher will hire his second full-time head coach in his tenure with the Flyers. Shortly after Fletcher joined the Flyers on Dec. 3, 2018, as general manager, he fired then-head coach Dave Hakstol, replacing him with former Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon on an interim basis.
That offseason, Fletcher made his first Flyers head coaching hire when he named Vigneault to the role on April 15, 2019.
Vigneault, 58 years old at the time, had a combined 648-435-35-98 head coaching record in 16 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers, and Montreal Canadiens. He had two Stanley Cup Finals appearances, once with the Canucks in 2011 and again with the Rangers in 2014.