With Tuesday being the day players gathered for meetings and talk to the media one final time, Thursday's press conference featured the management side of the hockey team.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall addressed a number of questions, much of which surrounded the team's future, injuries, the leadership group, core, young prospects coming up and being NHL ready and goaltending.
First, we'll start off with the end of season injury report.
Hextall announced that forward Dale Weise will have a procedure on bone spurs in his elbow, while defenseman Brandon Manning will have a minor surgery for a small fragment removed from one of his discs.
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Hextall also made a brief announcement on personnel, stating that assistant coach Joe Mullen will not return to the club and that a new assistant will be hired in regards to the power play and offense in mind.
"He's a terrific human being, he's one of my favorite guys in the whole world," said Hextall, who stressed that the power-play struggles at the end of the season wasn't the sole reason for the team not making the playoffs or reason for the change. "It was a gut call on my part. I felt like we needed a change."
Questions were also raised on the 5-on-5 play, which was absent for the beginning part of the season, but towards the end, the Flyers ranked in the Top 10 of even-strength goals, recording 48 of 60 total goals at even strength, led by Jordan Weal with seven.
"I felt like later in the year we had more bullets in our gun. Weal comes in and does a good job. Filppula comes in and really gives us stability. Really upgraded our top 9. So when you're talking 5 on 5 play, just to depend on five or six guys, all of a sudden you have nine guys you can count on. Weiser comes in late in the year, finally. That's adds another guy so you look at our top nine at the end of the year, it's not bad."
Hextall then addressed the goaltending situation heading into free agency, and training camp next year:
"We're going to look to look at all of our options and we're going to come up with what we think is our best option. We've got kids to watch, and we'll figure things out. We've got some evaluating to do. When the time's appropriate, we'll make those decisions. Obviously, we've got Neuvy under contract. Mase is not, but I told Mase the other day that does not mean he's not going to be here."
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In Dave Hakstol's media availability, the head coach addressed one of the key questions to stand out. The late additions of Jordan Weal and Valtteri Filppula and the difference it made not only with their own contributions, but throughout the lineup.
Weal led the Flyers in goal-scoring since he tallied his first NHL goal on Feb. 28. He had eight goals to go along with 12 points in 19 games, while Filppula stabilized the middle of the ice since being acquired from Tampa at the trade deadline. He would go on to record five goals and eight points in 20 games for the Flyers.
"When I look at it real honestly I look towards the end of the year and through injuries and his play in Allentown, Jordan Weal comes up. What's his potential in terms of a full season and the numbers that he's able to put up? I think when Filppula came in, the balance that seemed to come with him entering our lineup helped us both with and without the puck. Will that cohesion help us generate more offensively on an 82 game basis, not just as a short-term basis? I think the answers to those things are yes. We're going to look for a young guy like Travis Konecny to improve on the things he's doing. There's areas in our lineup where the scoring can come from. In my sense, that's where it needs to come from."
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Hakstol also addressed the up and down year of the leadership group and generalized the discussions he had with them during their exit interviews:
"That's the easiest way to put it. You've got a group of guys that are pissed off that we're finished, that our year is done. You can't go back and change that so you've got to do better in the future, and that's what's on all of our plates here as we head into the summer and into next season."
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Comcast Spectacor President and CEO, Dave Scott, also addressed the media following Hextall, talking about from the direction of the team since he has been here and continuing the Flyers legacy.
"This is really my 4th season with the club here. I've stayed pretty close to it and I've got all the confidence in the world with Paul as President and Ron as General Manager. I think we all have a job to do here. My job is to make sure we have the resources and we're invested in the team for the long run and go for the Cup. We're the Flyers, we're going to go for it every year. That's our heritage."