Trades and Free Agents
Hextall’s first move was to trade fan favorite Scott Hartnell to Columbus for RJ Umberger. Umberger was a former Flyer who had done better since leaving Philly while Hartnell was a fading star. However, the team took on more salary in the deal, saw Hartnell continue to perform for CBJ, while Umberger never took off. He also signed Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz to free agent deals.
The following season, he traded Vincent LeCavalier and Luke Schenn to Los Angeles for Jordan Weal, a prospect who never really panned out in Philly. But because of a tight salary cap situation (this is an ongoing theme for almost a decade), no real free agents came in except a flurry of backup goalies who would constantly get injured. The team also fired Craig Berube as coach and took on Dave Hakstol on to guide the team.
The following season as the general manager, he tried to be like Howie Roseman of the Eagles. Most of his trades were trading draft picks to move up or down; much as he had the year before. He did trade Mark Streit, a competent and reliable defender to Tampa Bay for Valtteri Filppula in the hopes he could regain his once 20+ goal stature. Fun fact…he did not and Streit went on to win a Stanley Cup as a Penguin after the Bolts flipped him to Pittsburgh. But for the second year in a row, the team stood pat during free agency and made no moves. As other teams got better, the Flyers core got older. They did, however, buy out Umberger’s contract in an effort to free up some money.
However, in 2016-17, the Flyers signed Radko Gudas to a four year deal. Shayne Gostisbehere was re-signed to a six year contract. Brayden Schenn was also re-signed for four years. The year before, Sean Couturier was locked up for six years while Jakub Voracek reupped for eight years.
In his last full year as GM, Hextall brought in Brian Elliott as goalie. He traded Brayden Schenn to St Louis for Jori Lehtera and two first round picks and traded for Petr Mrazek at the trade deadline. But again, Elliott was the only main free agent they got. Again, instead of upgrading their roster, they stood pat and did nothing. For each year of Hextall’s term as general manager, the team made no major moves on the free agent market….save one. In 2018, he re-signed James van Riemsdyk to an expensive five year deal.
Hextall was dismissed in 2018. None of the trades made during the offseason or season were of any major importance, trading away bench pieces for bench pieces; draft picks for draft picks.