Ticket sales. Video coordinator. Contract evaluator, logistics coordinator, scout, and yes, notorious wiseguy – Brent Flahr has been Chuck Fletcher’s muse, mensch and, in the words of the new Flyers general manager ``trusted lieutenant’’ since the two first met in the Florida Panthers' front office 22 years ago.
With brief exceptions, the two men have been side by side ever since. Flahr, a former Princeton defenseman and captain, met Fletcher while working in the Panthers ticket department out of college, brashly offering his take on their options. Quickly moving up the hockey food chain, he followed Fletcher as both men built and embellished their careers during stops in Anaheim, Pittsburgh, and, for the last decade, Minnesota, where Flahr headed the Wild’s draft department and the two sat side by side for most Wild games.
``He has a very good eye for talent,’’ Fletcher said Wednesday, after the Flyers officially announced that Flahr was replacing Chris Pryor, the Flyers assistant general manager and director of player personnel who was fired two days after Ron Hextall’s dismissal.
Flahr, named as vice president and assistant general manager, will ``be heavily relied upon for decisions involving player personnel, while supervising all aspects of the club's scouting department and overseeing the player development of the club's prospects,’’ according to a team press release.
Pryor, who was with the Flyers since 1999, had those roles as well, building a prospect pool envied by much of the NHL, a pool that is likely to deepen should the Flyers hold onto all nine picks they have accrued for the 2019 amateur draft.
After his last few years in Minnesota, Flahr might hyperventilate should that happen. Through the draft, he helped Fletcher build the Wild into a perennial playoff team, selecting players such as Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Gustav Olofsson, Alex Tuch, Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Luke Kunin. But, as the pressure to advance in the playoffs mounted, and Fletcher made trades to that end, Flahr’s scouting department found itself dormant for rounds at a time.
``I took a lot of picks away from him those last few years,’’ Fletcher said. ``Trying to get better and trying to win. Considering the number of picks the scouting staff had, I think they did a very good job.’’
He steps into an ideal situation for someone who is known for his evaluation of young talent. There is not only a pool of prospects and the upcoming picks, but ``Brent is very familiar’’ with many of the Flyers' amateur scouts, Fletcher said.
``I think it will be a seamless transition,’’ he said. ``There’s a lot of mutual respect. Brent’s pretty good. He has a strong eye for talent, but he also knows how to build through consensus and work with people.’’
Breakaways: For the first time since the latter part of the 2016-17 season, Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier began a game centering separate lines. Couturier missed last weekend’s games with a lower body injury. ``It’s not about one player,’’ Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ``It’s about the structure of our group up the middle. Through necessity, we went with G up the middle when Coots was out, and he did a good job. And that line looked good together. Had a little chemistry and did a pretty good job ... playing against a couple of real good lines.’’… Humboldt bus crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki and his family attended Wednesday’s game. Paralyzed from the chest down from the accident that claimed 16 teammates and club officials in April, Straschnitzki spent much of last spring and summer being treated at the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia. He recently was in an accident in which the bus he was riding to his rehabilitation in Calgary was rear-ended. Knocked from his wheelchair, he was emotionally shaken but not further injured. … The Flyers announced they will honor retired left-wing Scott Hartnell during a Dec. 20 game against the Nashville Predators. There will be a ceremonial puck drop. No word yet whether Hartnell will also drop to the ice – for old-time’s sake.