TODAY IS Day 4 of the Flyers' head coaching vacancy.

That in itself is a rarity in franchise history - a rather long length of time in between coaches for a team with an innately itchy trigger finger.

In fact, six of the seven Flyers coaches hired since 1998 replaced their predecessor on the same day. Ken Hitchcock, who succeeded Jack Adams Trophy winner Bill Barber on May 14, 2002, was the lone exception.

Eleven of the 17 coaches hired in franchise history after original boss Keith Allen were same-day replacements.

The longest head coaching vacancy in team history is 45 days: from Fred Shero (departed May 22, 1978) to Bob McCammon (hired July 6, 1978). Some of the Flyers' best hires - Mike Keenan (29 days), Terry Murray (34 days) and Hitchcock (15 days) - involved an interview process.

This next hire will take some time.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Saturday night he is just starting to develop a list of potential candidates to replace Craig Berube. He will not make his list public. He has not scheduled any interviews.

"It's not done, but by the time it's done, there will be a hell of a lot," Hextall said. "I've started gathering a list. That's where we're at right now. That's the first part of the process. You've got to look at everything, and then you can narrow it down pretty quickly."

Whittling that list down may require time, since only about 17 teams currently have coaches with what we'd label as "stable employment."

Two other teams already have fired their coaches (Toronto and Buffalo). Some teams, like San Jose (Todd McLellan), Edmonton (Todd Nelson), Arizona (Dave Tippett) and Boston (Claude Julien) are still sifting through the rubble.

In other cities like St. Louis (Hitchcock), Pittsburgh (Mike Johnston), Montreal (Michel Therrien), Anaheim (Bruce Boudreau), coaches are fighting for their lives in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Then there's the big wild card in Detroit with pending free agent Mike Babcock, which could cause the rest of the dominoes to fall.

When it's all said and done, it is entirely possible that all six coach of the year award winners between 2008 and 2013 will be fired and up for grabs this summer.

In other words, this will linger for a while.

Flyers pick 7th

The Flyers, with a 6.5 percent chance, finished one number short of winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.

Fourteen balls, numbered one through 14, were placed in a lottery machine on Saturday night. Four of them were pulled out at 10-second intervals. There were 1,000 possible four-number combinations, with the Flyers holding 65 of them.

The Flyers' numbers were 1, 5, 10, 14. They finished in seventh-to-last place. Ron Hextall thought the Flyers had a chance.

"My lucky number is No. 7," Hextall said. "I'm thinking we're at 7, I was kind of thinking maybe [Saturday] was the day for us."

The first two numbers to drop were 5 and 14. By that point, Boston and Los Angeles had already been eliminated. The third number pulled was 6, eliminating the Flyers.

Edmonton's winning numbers were 1, 5, 6, 14. For the final ball (6), Toronto had a 4-in-11 shot for first overall. It happened so fast, they probably didn't have a chance to calculate the odds in the sequestered room for the process audited by international accounting firm Ernst & Young.

The Flyers will pick No. 7 overall in June. They also had a 23.5 percent chance to slide back one spot to No. 8. The position of their other first-round pick, from Tampa Bay, will be decided after the Lightning's season ends.

Hextall said he was also happy to see McDavid heading to the Western Conference.

"We'll take '7' and we'll get a good player there," Hextall said. "When you look at it, we're at 7, and you never know if we'd moved back to 8 what player wouldn't have been there. There's a lot of good players in this draft. There really is. It's going to be one of those that when we look back in a few years, there's going to be a lot of really good players coming out of the first round."

Hextall said he's seen most of the top 12-ranked players, noting the Flyers "always look at moving up or moving back every year.'' Given their organizational disparity, Hextall admitted the Flyers would lean toward a forward in the first round if "things are equal."

Either way, the Flyers could land a player at No. 7 who could make an impact this October. The NHL's scouting combine will take place in Buffalo from June 1-6.

"There's a good number this year that if they're not ready to play, they're going to be close," Hextall said. "I hate to say, but there's certainly more than one or two."

On Twitter: @frank_seravalli

Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers