Scott Mellanby was a prototypical Flyer. Big and strong, not the fastest skater, tough in the corners, not afraid to get to the net.
He was a physical presence at 6-foot-1, 208 pounds. He was an honest hockey player, one of the great compliments out there.
Mellanby played 355 games in six seasons, scored 83 goals and had 114 assists. He played an astounding 21 years in the NHL, retiring in 2007. His career numbers: 840 points in 1,431 games. He even swatted and killed a rat during his time with the Florida Panthers.
He was a Flyer’s Flyer.
Interview for Mellanby?
Now, Mellanby reportedly is in the mix for the vacant job of team president. Crossing Broad reported the team was going to interview Mellanby, possibly on Thursday.
Let the wailing begin.
The Flyers, correctly, have been tagged as an organization that is too insular. Front office openings frequently stayed in the Flyers’ family — for better or worse. Orange-and-black nepotism reigned.
That mindset, and devotion to the old-school hockey that made the Flyers famous, has left the team breathing fumes in the new, speedy NHL.
In their recent front-office shakeup, the Flyers pledged to move on from the old guys — Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Paul Holmgren — and bring in some fresh, modern thinking.
Mellanby’s candidacy understandably might have some fans upset. There go the Flyers, back to their old tricks. But Mellanby, 56, has a bursting-at-the-seams resume that has nothing to do with the Flyers.
A year after he retired, Mellanby returned to hockey. First, a season as a pro scout, then a senior advisor for the Canucks. He was the Blues’ assistant coach for two seasons. Then, two years as director of player personnel for the Canadiens, followed by eight seasons as Montreal’s assistant general manager.
He spent this past season as a senior advisor for the Blues.
That’s 15 years of experience, invaluable for the Flyers, who are breaking in a rookie NHL general manager in interim GM Danny Briere.
We don’t know Mellanby’s philosophy. We believe it’s important having an experienced voice in the room working with Briere and coach John Tortorella in reshaping the team.
Especially if that experienced voice is ready to look ahead and not back. The Flyers always will have their storied history. To perhaps regain their glory days, that experienced voice should be open-minded and not beholden to the ghosts of the 1970s.
Three other interesting names were recently connected to the position. On Elliotte Friedman’s “32 Thoughts: The Podcast”, the host mentioned Eric Lindros, Chris Pronger and Ed Olczyk.
Lindros, of course, is a Philly legend without management experience. Pronger, who played three seasons with the Flyers, was vice president of hockey operations for the Panthers from 2017-20.
Olczyk has been a national broadcaster and local broadcaster covering the Blackhawks for nearly two decades. He also coached the Penguins for two seasons.
Another name out there is former Flyers goalie Robert Esche, the current president of the Utica Comets, the New Jersey Devils’ AHL affiliate. Also, reports in Vancouver indicate that assistant general manager Emilie Castonguay has drawn interest from the Flyers.
The Flyers have an interesting dilemma. Of course, they want the best person available. They also want to keep the promise they made to themselves and leave the past in the rearview mirror.