ARE FLYERS TANKING? HEXTALL SAYS THEY ARE NOT BUYERS!

“We’re not buying,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said yesterday about the impending trade deadline. “I’ve said that for a while now, we’re not buying. We’ll see where we’re at in a couple days. Like I said, tomorrow is a big game. I have ideas and we’ll execute [them].”

By Mary Cunningham

The Flyers are stuck at 63 points, five games out of the second wild card playoff spot, as they face the Pens tonight at Heinz Field in Pitt.

So, why isn’t Hextall buying?

Has he given up on making the playoffs?

And why isn’t the Flyers’ butt boy local media accusing him of tanking, like they do the Sixers?

Just the other day, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun opined that Mark Streit would be a fit next to Shea Weber in Montreal, where he started his career. In that same article, LeBrun played matchmaker with Michael Del Zotto and the Boston Bruins.

When asked if he wanted to follow the lead of teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh who have made successful Stanley Cup playoff runs with younger players up and down the roster, Hextall said that he would like to as long as the prospect doesn’t make the Flyers a worse team.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, a team with a few of the Flyers’ top prospects, currently have the third-most points in the AHL. Like has most often been the case, Hextall has taken the patient approach with his young guys.

“Their guys helping in the playoffs were all 23-years old except for the goalie,” Hextall said of the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins. “So keep that in mind. They were kids, but 23-year-old kids.”

This philosophy would make some sense. The Flyers are five games out of the final wild-card spot with three teams to jump over. According to Hockey Reference, that puts the Orange and Black’s playoff odds at only 3.7 percent.

There are two games on the Flyers schedule before deadline day, tonight’s Stadium Series game and then Tuesday back in Philly against the Colorado Avalanche. Hextall admitted that the results of those games could affect his philosophy when it comes to making trades.

Perhaps the Flyers lead decision maker is hinting at “to sell or really sell.”

“It could have some effect, it could,” Hextall said of those final two games. “Again, we’ll watch the standings closely. We need to win tomorrow night, it’s a big game for us.”

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