I think this is a good hire. Let’s get that out of the way. I’ve known “Lappy” for a long time, and he’s a hard worker, and that work ethic rubs off on his players.
“We all know our style, and I know what kind of guy I am,” Laperriere stated. “I will bring life to the rink every day and make sure we’re on the positive side. That’s what the young guys need.”
The biggest obstacle he will have is working with Alain Vigneault. It’s not that AV is difficult to work with, that’s not it, the same way that Laperriere is rigid with how he thinks his players should play so is the Flyers coach, and there will be difficult moments. Those moments may occur when the Lehigh Valley coach thinks a player is ready to be promoted or to replace an injured player. Vigneault likes what he likes, and the Lehigh Valley coach is going to coach it his way. It will be interesting how that all works out.
“To me, when I come down here full time, it’s to make sure those guys become the best versions of themselves,” Laperriere reiterated. “I love working with the young guys. That’s what I did in player development. As an assistant coach, I could relate to those young guys. Now I can do it as a head coach. I won’t change my mentality. It really helped me prepare for this role. It’s one thing I do have control of is the ice time….There are a lot of things that aren’t negotiable. Players and coaches can make mistakes. That I can live with….”
The Flyers still have a deep system, and most of the players know the new coach. BUT, Laperriere’s new role will be a bit of a change from some. If they miss that mark, they will likely miss some ice time.
In the end, he wants structure, hard work, and a high fitness level (something the Flyers need to improve as well). In most cases, he’ll get that. What could get tricky is if the coach is looking for a particular type of player at the Flyers level who may not be playing that same role down there. Will the new Phantoms coach change that for a few viewings? That’s what could get very interesting down the road. To his credit, Vigneault will go to Phantoms games live when he can.