Briere’s first bit of low hanging fruit is a prickly pear, the Kevin Hayes situation. Calling it low hanging is not to say it is an easy situation, just an obvious place to start. Briere needs to get this mostly right to start the rebuld.
Tortorella and Hayes are both good at what they do, but stylistically are not a match. It is like having two great friends who you are sure would never work out as a couple. It does not make either of them less great, just not great together.
Tortorella insists on demonic levels of effort on each shift, almost to the point that the effort outweighs the outcome. By contrast, Hayes is a 6 foot 5, finesse forward who skates slowly, but thinks the game at a high level. What is best for the team is likely for Hayes to take his game elsewhere, where his talents better mesh with the style. However this can’t be a Gostisbehere give away, in fact Briere will have to execute the best trade the Flyers have made in 5 years. Keep in mind Matt Duchene, a lesser player, lesser leader was traded for two first round picks.
Briere has to get Tortorella and Hayes on the same page. Getting Hayes playing his best hockey is the top priority, even if Torts has to make a carve out in the team’s style. Briere must convince Tortorella of the obvious, that Hayes is most effective playing as he has which is a departure from how Torts wants it. If Hayes is expected to cover all 180 feet each shift it makes him far less effective. The fastest way for Tortorella to be free from Hayes is to let Hayes maximize his skills, even if that means playing a style that Tortorella loathes.
Hayes is a borderline 1C or a plus 2C in the league. Because of how he plays, it is a good bet he will still be effective as he advances in years. He could be worth at least a first round pick at next season’s trade deadline, but Briere must broker an understanding between player and coach to get the most in return for Hayes.