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Flyers name Alain Vigneault as next head coach

Alain Vigneault. (Photo: Getty Images)
Alain Vigneault. (Photo: Getty Images)
Vigneault becomes the 21st head coach in franchise history.

The Philadelphia Flyers have hired Alain Vigneault as the 21st head coach in franchise history, the team announced on Monday afternoon.

“We are extremely excited to have Alain join this franchise and lead our team behind the bench for many years to come,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a team statement. “He brings a tremendous amount of success over an extended period of time that will prove valuable to our team to take the next steps in returning the winning culture to the Philadelphia Flyers organization.”

It brings an end to Scott Gordon’s brief tenure as Flyers interim head coach, who performed admirably behind the bench after taking over for Dave Hakstol, who was fired 31 games into the season.

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The 56-year-old showed an affinity for working with younger players, especially during his stint as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate. In the NHL, Gordon helped with the emergence of Carter Hart into a franchise goalie while Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim took considerable steps forward in their developments.

While Gordon was a candidate for the job, Fletcher’s desire to carry out a head-coaching search only confirmed that the interim bench boss was not the leading candidate to take over on a permanent basis.

It is unclear whether or not Gordon will return to the Flyers organization in any capacity.

Fletcher vowed that it would be a quick process finding a new head coach, stating that the search would be completed before the 2019 NHL Draft in June.

The Flyers reportedly received permission from the New York Rangers to interview Vigneault last week. He was fired by the Blueshirts following the 2017-18 season, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Vigneault has been one of the more successful coaches in hockey despite not winning a Stanley Cup during his nearly 20-year run as a head coach, which included stops with the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Cancuks before leading the Rangers.

Among his most notable accomplishments, Vigneault won the 2007 Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s head coach of the year with the Canucks along with the 2011 Western Conference title and President’s Trophies in 2011 and 2012.

He captured the 2014 Eastern Conference championship with the Rangers, who fell to the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Stanley Cup Final, and the 2015 President’s Trophy.

The 57-year-old ranks 12th on the NHL’s all-time list with 648 victories thanks to seven division titles. Flyers fans can get a sneak peek of Vigneault during the IIHF World Championships in May where he’ll coach Team Canada.

“It is an honor to be selected as the next head coach of the Flyers,” Vigneault said. “The history they have established and the passionate fan base has made this a first-class franchise. I am excited to work with Chuck, the talented group of players and prospects coming up through the system, in order to return Philadelphia to the top of the NHL landscape.”

He’ll have a lengthy checklist alongside Fletcher upon his arrival in Philadelphia. The Flyers are coming off their worst season since 2006-07 and have a number of areas that need to be addressed.

While Fletcher will be tasked in finding a second-line center, wing depth, and defensive help, Vigneault will be responsible for helping further develop those younger players while providing the franchise with a defensive structure that will make them a more well-rounded team in the Metropolitan Division.