Flyers Coach Nominees: Paul Morris

During May and possibly even June, we will be looking at potential candidates for the position of Head of Training at Flyers.

“We’re going to sit down and try to build that perfect candidate profile and really keep all options open, and maybe look at it from a slightly broader perspective,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said May 3. And we really dive into what we’re looking for. I’m sure there will be plenty of good candidates to talk to. ”

We’ve looked at Barry Trotz and Rick Tocchet. Next in our series is Paul Morris.

Why Morris is a good fit

The 55-year-old is so respected in the game that the NHL president’s coaching experience originated when he was 28 years old.

Morris has coached the fourth-most games in NHL history (1,684), behind Scotty Bowman (2141), Trotz (1,812) and Joel Quinville (1768). He ranks seventh in all-time regular-season wins (775), 53 times ahead of eighth-placed Alain Vinault (722).

Highlighted by a trip to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final with the Hurricanes, Morris’ resume features nine playoffs and eight winning streaks.

On his last stop, Morris lingered long enough in the Canadian market where trainers can chew and spit out quickly due to stress. He spent parts of nine years with the Gates before he respectfully resigned in December of this season. The Flyers find themselves facing a lot of pressure after having one of their worst seasons in franchise history, so Morris’ shrewdness will be welcome.

Maurice has led Winnipeg to the playoffs five times. The best season of his coaching career was 2017-18 when Gates finished 114 points at 52-20-10. Winnipeg went on to lose in the Western Conference Expansion Golden Knights Final.

During his tenure, the Jets scored the seventh most NHL goals per game (2.98) and were tied with the 14 least allowed goals per game (2.79). He’s been known to use some kind of man-to-man cover in the defensive zone. His philosophy could help the Flyers slash the 3.56 goals per game they have ceded over the past two seasons, a mark that has been equal to the worst in the league.

Why isn’t Morris a good fit

When Morris stepped down from his position at Winnipeg, Morris admitted losing some of the passion and fun of coaching during the coronavirus pandemic. He was honest about the Jets’ need for a new sound and their need for a break from the game.

The Flyers haven’t been in a fun place for the past two seasons. This will be a challenging task with a great deal of adversity right from the start. Pilots need to make sure they hire a Head Instructor who is fully invested, committed to the process, and ready for the long haul. Morris’ resignation could cause the pilots to be paused for understandable reasons.

While Morris’ longevity has been impressive, his post-season marks have not been as good as other bench chiefs in league history. Morris has a 41-51 record in the playoffs. Others like Trotz (83-79), Vigneault (78-77) and John Tortorella (56-64) were more in the post-season and fared better.

As we noted when looking at the Trotz, the pilots went the trial route with Vigneault. Maybe they want something a little different this time.

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