With the NHL Trade deadline looming, rumors are running rampant on social media, team websites, so on and so forth. We are all going to hear this rumor, and that rumor, and that this person is on the block but that person isn’t. It’s a tough time to filter out fact from fiction. One thing we can all rely on is that Ron Hextall will make his decisions based on what is best for the team.
Hextall has a history of making some great deals that benefit the Flyers. Need I remind you of the Zac Rinaldo deal to Boston? Regardless, if we are strictly talking deadline, Hextall has steered the club in a direction 180 degrees away from where Paul Holmgren had the club going. His deals are few and far between at the deadline, but the deals he has made, have been solid given the position Holmgren left him in when he took office.
His first deadline deal sent Kimmo Timonen to Chicago for a 2015 2nd round pick and a conditional 2016 pick. The conditional pick ended up reaching its maximum potential due to the Blackhawks making the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup. That deal counts as a tally in the win column for Hextall. He managed to garner a pretty decent return for an aging veteran defenseman who honestly ended up not playing much for Chicago anyway.
His next deal, like the first, was bittersweet as well, as fans saw the team part ways with long time blue liner Braydon Coburn. In return, the Flyers ended up with Radio Gudas, and Tampa Bay’s 2015 first round pick, which was flipped to Nashville during the 2015 entry draft along with Chicago’s aforementioned second round pick in exchange for Nashville’s first round pick, which turned into Travis Konecny. On top of the first round pick from Tampa, they also acquired Tampa’s third round pick and drafted Matej Tomek with that pick. That trade, along with the Timonen trade, gets tallied up in the win column as well.
Just last year, Hextall pulled the trigger on another trade with Tampa Bay, sending veteran defenseman Mark Street to the Bolts in exchange for veteran forward Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 1st round pick, and 7th round pick. Those picks turned into Maksim Sushko and Wyatt Kalynuk, respectively. Currently, Sushko has 45 points in 45 games for the Owqen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk has registered three goals and nineteen assists in 33 games for the Badgers of Wisconsin. Another win.
If we are talking trades in general, and not just deadline deals, then let’s talk about draft day. In two of the last three years, Hextall has pulled the trigger on deals that netted him a late first round pick in each of those drafts.
In 2015, he struck a deal with the Predators to get their first rounder, and drafted Travis Konecny. Two years later, and one year ago, the Flyers, after drafting Nolan Patrick with the number 2 overall pick, traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera, their 1st round pick in that years’ draft, and a conditional first rounder for 2018. With that pick, the Flyers selected “under-sized” Morgan Frost, who just so happens to be leading the OHL with 90 points through 54 games.
Philadelphia sports are a culture. Each team goes through a rough patch, and that rough patch ended up bringing the term “Trust the Process” to the 76ers. When discussing Ron Hextall and the trade deadline, I think it’s best that we take a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers playbook, and “Trust the Process” here too.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports