Interim GM Daniel Briere says Flyers won’t be ‘quick fix’

Greg WyshynskiESPN3 minute reading

Philadelphia Flyers interim general manager Daniel Briere acknowledged the team needs a multi-year rebuild while he battles for the permanent job.

Briere, 45, replaced GM Chuck Fletcher on Friday. Fletcher, who was fired after five seasons, also served as the team’s president of hockey operations. Briere said he would be honored to fill any position, but is focused on the general manager position.

“I have no problem with the interim designation. I think (ownership) will take enough time to evaluate who should be in that position full-time. I see myself staying here and being a part of the future. I hope they believe in me as well. Such is a feeling,” he said.

Briere played for the Flyers for six seasons during his 17-year NHL career. He was hired as a special assistant to Fletcher last year and was involved in decisions such as the hiring of coach John Tortorella.

Dave Scott, Comcast Spectacor president and Flyers governor, called the team’s return to Stanley Cup contention “a multi-year process.” Briere agreed with that schedule.

“There’s no question this is not a quick fix. It’s going to take some time,” Briere said.

Fletcher famously said last season that the Flyers needed an “aggressive overhaul,” not a rebuild. While Briere said he’s not afraid to call the team’s next phase a “rebuild,” he cautioned that doesn’t mean Philadelphia “will have a whole new team” next season.

“We have to be careful. I want to make sure that ‘renewal’ doesn’t mean a fire sale,” Briere said. “There’s a big difference between the two. I want to make that clear. We’re not going to get rid of everybody. We’ve got some good players here, some players that are in certain roles that we’re also going to keep.”

Briere said he will spend the next few months evaluating the players and hockey operations staff with an eye toward the future, getting a chance to “dive a little deeper” into the players on the roster and in the Flyers’ system.

Briere anticipates that assistant general manager Brent Flahr will remain in place through the season and as part of the Flyers’ preparation for the NHL Draft. But Briere was noncommittal when asked how the team’s senior advisers fit into his vision for the Flyers. Former NHL general managers Paul Holmgren, Bobby Clarke and Dean Lombardi, as well as former coach Bill Barber, have come under scrutiny for how much influence they wield behind the scenes with Flyers ownership.

“I have a lot of respect for those guys for what they’ve accomplished in their careers on and off the ice,” Briere said. “I’ve been in this position for 48 hours. I talked to them briefly. But at this point, that’s all that’s happened. So we’ll see how they move forward.”

As for his job prospects, Briere said he’s not worried about his lack of front office experience. Before becoming Fletcher’s special assistant, he ran the day-to-day operations of the ECHL Maine Mariners, a minor league team the Flyers acquired. Briere also said he studied the general managers he played for, including Holmgren, Buffalo’s Darcy Regier and Colorado’s Joe Sakic.

“There’s no doubt I can get the job done. I’ll have great people around me, too. It’s not something I’m going to do alone,” Briere said. “I’m not going to lie: it’s something I saw myself doing from the very beginning when I was playing. I always believed I could be in this position one day.”

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