Danny Briere promised more changes internally for the Flyers’ front office, and the team officially announced some on Friday.

Long-time team employees Kjell Samuelsson, John Reilly, and Mike O’Connell were fired, while Alyn McCauley, Riley Armstrong and Nick Schultz were all promoted.

Let’s break them down:

McCauley now Assistant GM

This is probably the biggest of all the moves, at least on the surface. McCauley, who was the team’s Director of Player Personnel for the past 18 months, moves into a bigger chair for the first time.

It’s a unique situation, as the Flyers don’t appear to be replacing either of their current assistant GMs – Brent Flahr and Barry Hanrahan. McCauley, who was originally brought to the Flyers when Ron Hextall was GM, hiring him away from the Los Angeles Kings as a scout, will be in charge of the pro scouting, player personnel, and managing the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

This means Flahr will be in charge of amateur scouting and the draft, while Hanrahan will remain in charge of managing the cap, which hasn’t particularly been a strength of the Flyers since it was instituted in 2005.

While the Flyers didn’t announce anything involving Dave Brown, who has long been the Director of Pro Scouting for the team, creating a third assistant GM position that oversees pro scouting seems to have created a significant overlap between the two roles. In the past, when Comcast-Spectacor has done this, it has usually meant that time was running out on the person in the initial position’s tenure, so Brown could be another long-time employee on the outs.

McCauley was promoted to his previous role by former GM Chuck Fletcher and was one of the trusted voices in the former GM’s inner circle.

Armstrong the first member of the Briere network

It’s no secret that in sports, front office and coaching positions are often filled by people with some sort of prior connection to somebody in the organization. Who you know is often more important than what you know, which is likely why the incestuous nature of running sports teams has such volatile job turnover.

With Briere new to the NHL management pipeline, he obviously doesn’t have much of a front office tree to pluck from, but Armstrong certainly is that. When Briere was tasked by Comcast Spectacor with running the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, Armstrong, the brother of former Pittsburgh Penguin Colby Armstrong, was his first coach. Armstrong was later promoted to be Briere’s assistant GM in Maine for one season, before becoming an assistant coach with the Phantoms.

Now, with Briere in charge, Armstrong is the new Director of Player Development, replacing Samuelsson, who has served as a coach or worked in player development for the organization since 1999.

Although not as heralded as the assistant GM position, this hire is probably the one with the greatest impact on the organization. I’ll dive into that a little more below.

Schultz gets a minor promotion

Schultz ended his long playing career with the Flyers in 2017, but also played for many years in Minnesota under Fletcher. He was hired by Fletcher in 2019 as a player development coach but has also served briefly as an assistant coach for the team. He sort of replaces two guys – John Riley, who spent more than 15 years with the Flyers, the first six an amateur scout, and the past nine-plus years in player development, and Mike O’Connell, the former GM of the Boston Bruins who Fletcher hired as a senior advisor in 2021, whose advice came in the area of player development.

With the senior advisor roles all being eliminated – or re-purposed elsewhere away from actual hockey operations – O’Connell was believed to be considering retirement at the end of the season anyway.

What does all this mean?

Really, not a whole heck of a lot. The Flyers moved on from three front office members, and a fourth could be coming soon in Brown. Three of them were long-time employees linked to previous leadership regimes while the fourth was an old-school type nearing retirement anyway.

The most interesting change is putting Armstrong in charge of player development. It’s an area the Flyers have not excelled at, as many of their prospects that have graduated into reliable NHL players haven’t blossomed into anything more than good role players or depth options.

Armstrong is a new voice in that area, and one Briere obviously trusts, based on their relationship that was forged at the minor league level.

The question is, can it translate into better outcomes for Flyers prospects moving forward?

We won’t have a quick answer there, as player development is not an overnight process, but it’s likely the most important move of the ones announced Friday, and will go a long way in determining how fast or slow this Flyers rebuild has to be.