Ron Hextall is coming back to Broad Street. The Philadelphia Flyers announced Monday afternoon Hextall will become the team’s Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations effective August 1.
While some fans may have rejoiced in Hextall’s return, others speculated that the hiring of Hextall is a sign of future change within the organization. With the Flyers retooling, and arguably better, in every facet of the game, the expectations have been set by Ed Snider.
To me, Mr. Snider has set three goals for the 2013-14 season.1. Get off to a good start – If the Flyers are not over .500 after 20 games, I would not be surprised at all to see an overhaul with the head coach and general manager positions.
2. Make the playoffs – The Flyers are a model of consistency in the National Hockey League. They rarely miss the playoffs and have made it past the first round of the playoffs in four of their last six post-season appearances.
3. Perform well in the first round – This one could go either way. If the Flyers squeak into the playoffs and draw the top-seed, they could see an early exit. If they play well, but fall short, I do not foresee any drastic changes. If they lose the series in four or five games and look horrendous, then look for something big in the off-season.
The first two goals are of vital importance to Paul Holmgren’s job. He assembled this team. His finger prints are all over it, therefore, this team must do well. Paul Holmgren is the starting quarterback, Ron Hextall is the hot draft pick waiting his turn.
“To me, he’s probably the most highly thought of guy in the league who is not a general manager,” Holmgren said in a conference call. “To add him to our staff is just huge. We’ve remained very close over the years. His family is basically on the East Coast. The timing seemed right. His contract expired in June. We jumped at it, to be able to add a person of his quality and knowledge. I’m really pleased we were able to do this.” – Paul Holmgren to Frank Seravalli on Philly.com
Holmgren is correct. When the Columbus Blue Jackets searched for a new GM, Hextall’s name was on a short list of candidates to replace Scott Howson. During his time in Los Angeles, Hextall oversaw the Kings’ minor-league system, which went to two Conference Finals. Numerous players have jumped from the A.H.L. to contribute with the Silver and Black. As Director of Hockey Operations, Hextall will have the daunting task of making the Adirondack Phantoms a winner again.
Looking at this, I believe Hextall will become the next GM of the Flyers. I cannot imagine someone moving across the country just to take a similar job with a slight promotion. I will not pretend to know what Hextall is thinking, but I believe he has his eye on something much bigger than rebuilding the Phantoms. He won a Cup with the Kings, now he wants to bring Philadelphia the Cup it should have had in 1987.