Ron Hextall Fired as Flyers GM After Four Years
It’s not exactly the move fans thought was coming.
After Saturday night’s 6-0 embarrassment in Toronto, the Philadelphia Flyers organization was at a boiling point. With good reason, too, as the team was getting shelled night in and night out.
There’s a very real possibility that GM Ron Hextall was fired because he wouldn’t fire coach Dave Hakstol. After all he’s done for the team, that’s not exactly a good hill to die on.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 26, 2018
In what was supposed to be a year to “take the next step”, the team has done the opposite. This stagnancy, with Hextall’s failure to address the goaltending situation, led to his firing. Team President and former GM Paul Holmgren used the word “unyielding” to describe Hextall. He was stubborn, and didn’t want to deviate from the rebuilding process whereas management thought differently.
The players were caught by surprise by this move, and Giroux and the gang have taken the blame.
#Flyers captain Claude Giroux reacts to firing of general manager Ron Hextall: "Anytime a coach, a GM, gets fired, us players, you feel responsible. If we win games, that doesn't happen." https://t.co/mKUND5Op7Y pic.twitter.com/c6LIU21FAS
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) November 26, 2018
Since 2014, Hextall drafted as well as anyone in the NHL and navigated his way through a sea of mismanaged contracts. For that, Philadelphia should be grateful to have a team loaded with high end talent.
In the end, he couldn’t get that talent over the “elite” threshold. To the fans buying the tickets, that’s all that really matters. The Flyers were losing millions of dollars in revenue.
As far as the new GM goes, they’ll have their say with a handpicked coaching staff. This means that Dave Hakstol’s time is likely nearing an end, but the front office doesn’t see him as much of a problem.
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) November 27, 2018
The organization has made it clear that the new hire will come from outside the organization. Two popular names being thrown around include Dean Lombardi and even Chris Pronger. However, it’s been confirmed that neither are on the shortlist of candidates.
Holmgren said Dean Lombardi is not a candidate for #Flyers GM job. (Not sure why anyone would mention him as such since he molded Hextall) He said he can guarantee the hire will come from currently outside the organization.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 27, 2018
A few names have popped up legitimately: former longtime Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, former Hurricanes GM Ron Francis, and Buffalo’s assistant GM Steve Greeley.
Another name being tossed around is Mark Hunter, who was in serious contention for the Maple Leafs GM job before losing out to Kyle Dubas.
Regardless of who gets hired as the replacement, they’re going to have a lot to play with. The front office wants to move prospects for established NHL help, and Holmgren has pledged to fix the goaltending situation sooner rather than later. Trades and firings are coming.
The new GM, according to Comcast Chairman Dave Scott, should be creative and have a “bias for action”. Sounds like a lot of fireworks.