If you like the way the Flyers have been going since they lost in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals to Chicago, you’re going to love the management shuffle the team announced yesterday.
And once again the Flyers, who haven’t won a Stanley Cup in 39 years, hired one of its alums to run the team.
It turns out there was good reason why Ron Hextall’s name would appear and then quickly disappear from the conversation when there were openings in Buffalo, Vancouver, Calgary and, most recently, Washington.
He was in the Flyers’ crosshairs from the start.
“That’s why he was brought in,” chairman Ed Snider said last Friday. “He didn’t come in to stay assistant GM forever, but that doesn’t mean tomorrow.”
Only five days later, the team named Hextall general manager and Holmgren team president.
Hextall, the heralded former goalie, is becoming the team’s seventh general manager. Holmgren is taking the position vacated by Peter Luukko last December and will oversee the business and hockey operations sides.
Holmgren held the title of general manager for eight years. Although Hextall is yet another former Flyer to hold a front-office title, he has been considered a rising star around the league for the past couple years.
It was considered a big acquisition last summer when the Flyers got Hextall back from the Los Angeles Kings, where he was assistant general manager from 2006 to 2013. The Flyers gave him the same title, along with director of hockey operations, upon his return.
Hextall had been in the Flyers’ front office for seven years before heading out to California, where he was part of a Stanley Cup team with the Kings in 2011-12.
When Holmgren brought Hextall back to Philadelphia, Hextall made it known that his next career goal was to be an NHL general manager, but he wasn’t trying to push Holmgren out the door.
According to Snider, even the decision to make Hextall GM was Holmgren’s call.
“All I have to do is endorse it,” Snider said last Friday. “If I don’t agree with it, then we have a behind-closed-door discussion.”
Hextall is among the most popular former Flyers. He was the first goalie to score a goal in the regular season and in the playoffs. Eleven of Hextall’s 13 seasons were spent with the Flyers. He has played the most games in Flyers history among goalies with 489 and has the most wins with 240.
Now it’s time to see what he has as a general manager.
“He’s an excellent resource in our organization,” Holmgren said of Hextall last Friday. “He’s a tremendous hockey man and I have no question that he’s ready to be a general manager at any point. We’ll see where that goes, but I’m certainly not in any position today where I want to change chairs.”