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Vigneault to return as Flyers head coach next season

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Alain Vigneault isn't going anywhere.

The Philadelphia Flyers head coach will back for the 2021-22 campaign, general manager Chuck Fletcher told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun this week.

"Absolutely. AV's our coach and we're excited to have he and his staff back next season," Fletcher said without hesitation, according to LeBrun. "We have a lot of work ahead of us to redefine our defensive game and our defensive structure. I can't think of a better group to do it than the group of experienced coaches that we have behind our bench right now."

Fletcher added that the Flyers didn't meet expectations in 2021. The club missed the playoffs this season with a 25-23-8 record after posting the NHL's fourth-best record in the previous campaign.

The Flyers allowed the most goals against per game in the league and finished last in save percentage while producing a minus-38 goal differential. Franchise netminder Carter Hart owned the NHL's worst goals saved above expected and goals saved above average totals in all situations.

"You have no chance to be successful giving up the number of chances and the number of goals that we did this year," Fletcher said.

Philadelphia was expected to continue to make strides after finishing strong and winning a postseason series on the strength of a solid defensive effort in 2019-20. However, steady blue-liner Matt Niskanen surprisingly retired in October, and Fletcher said he should have done more to replace him.

"I did a poor job of filling that void," the GM said. "It wasn't for a lack of trying, but we didn't do what we needed to do. And that falls on me."

Vigneault reportedly signed a five-year, $25-million contract when the Flyers hired him in April 2019. The longtime bench boss, who turned 60 on Friday, previously guided the New York Rangers for five seasons, the Vancouver Canucks for seven, and the Montreal Canadiens for parts of four to begin his NHL coaching career.

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