Peter Laviolette is the Philadelphia Flyers‘ head coach, but he’s not solely responsible for the results his team has created during this shortened-season. Even though general manager Paul Holmgren knows a number of reasons why this apt assessment is true, it’s uncertain if he’ll allow “Lavy” to lead a revamped squad again next season.
Swapping James van Riemsdyk for Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn during the off-season was a necessary move. However, that one deal basically became the most significant transaction that took place since last season.
Considering the blue line holes that were created when Chris Pronger was lost and Matt Carle departed via free agency, there was no reasonable way for the current defensive unit to be better than last season’s group. That specific roster deficiency remains the genesis of the majority of the Flyers’ 2012-13 problems.
Laviolette has seen the previously inconsistent Ilya Bryzgalov play a generally good game this year. However, a decent goalie isn’t going to carry a team that has defensive issues and also has dysfunctional set of forward lines.
The good news is that the younger men on the roster haven’t quit. Instead, they are working through natural career growing pains. For example, Sean Couturier proved last season that he’s a far better player than he has seemed to be in 2013.
It’s also not an excuse to reference the Flyers’ early-season compressed schedule, or to cite the variety of injuries that they have endured. Yes, Philadelphia deserves to be located at the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings because the competition has been better. But, work can be done during the upcoming spring and summer months to bolster portions of this encouraging hockey bunch.
It doesn’t appear that Laviolette’s coaching style or the in-game decisions that he’s made have caused his team to be located outside of the playoff picture. With those seasoned facts in mind, it would be fair to allow him to remain behind the bench so that he has a full-season shot next year.