Flyers Fire GM Hextall
The Philadelphia Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall. Team president Paul Holmgren is overseeing the search for Hextall’s replacement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Didn’t see this coming. I expected head coach Dave Hakstol was on the hot seat, given the Flyers’ ongoing inconsistency. Hextall’s replacement could quickly relieve Hakstol of his duties and bring in his own man behind the bench.
Hired as Flyers GM in May 2014, Hextall took a different approach than predecessors like Holmgren and Bob Clarke. Gone were the days of big trades and expensive free-agent signings.
Hextall instead freed up salary-cap space by shipping out the contracts of sidelined or aging veterans such as Chris Pronger and Vincent Lecavalier while restocking the Flyers’ farm system. Promising youngsters such as Ivan Provorov, Travis Konency, and Nolan Patrick were Hextall draft picks.
Hextall preached patience as he attempted to rebuild his roster, and for a while, Flyers fans bought into his program. At times, the club showed promise but inconsistency plagued them. Like his predecessors, Hextall couldn’t find a reliable starting goaltender, turning instead to affordable, injury-prone or inconsistent options like Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth, and Brian Elliott. He also raised eyebrows with his hiring of Hakstol, a successful NCAA coach who lacked prior NHL experience.
This season, Hextall drew criticism for his ongoing inability to address the Flyers’ creaky goaltending and sloppy defensive play, especially on the penalty kill. As the club continued to blow hot and cold, Hextall’s calls for patience wore thin amid calls for change from frustrated Flyers’ followers. With the club in danger of tumbling to the bottom of the standings, the front office obviously felt a change in direction was needed.
No word yet as to who becomes Hextall’s replacement. Whoever gets the job will be expected to make moves that provide more immediate and positive results.