The orange and black are trying to rewrite the script of inconsistency. Some answers are needed from the players, as former General Manager Ron Hextall was terminated last week, along with Assistant Coach Gord Murphy, and Head Scout Chris Pryor. What a week of hoopla it was for this once proud organization and its fans.
A change was needed with this young Flyers team, and unfortunately Hextall took the blow on this one. There was some good that Hextall did for this organization, while servicing as the teams’ General Manager. Make no mistake about it Hextall inherited quite the mess, but he was able to rid the Flyers of cap hell and restock the prospect pool in just five off-seasons, while remaining a competitive hockey club. Remarkable right? His termination is justified however, as he didn’t improve the Penalty Kill and Goaltending throughout these years. Moreover, apparently he was very controlling with the players and the team alike, as well. However, this prospect pool is in the best shape it has ever been, and we can thank Hextall for that.
Everyone knows by now Paul Holmgren is the Head of Hockey Operations for the orange and black. He presumes control of pretty much everything until at the very least a new General Manager is hired. Holmgren wants to know of any moves the General Manager wants to make, as was stated last week in Tuesday’s Press Conference. This has some Flyers fans terrified for good reason. Anytime Holmgren was on the phone as the Flyers General Manager from the 2006-07 season till May of 2014, you knew there was a deal going on. Holmgren would not tolerate losing streaks, and he wouldn’t remain patient. He would make panic moves, and blow things up, take Jeff Carter and Mike Richards for instance. Moreover, Holmgren in some cases would go after an aging Veteran, and sometimes he would use draft picks as his means for obtaining immediate talent. Here are some of his worst moves as GM of the Flyers:
1. Traded a 2008 First Rounder to the Washington Capitals for Steve Eminger and a third round pick. That 2008 first rounder turned out to be John Carlson. Eminger sure wasn’t worth a first rounder.
2. Acquired Kris Versteeg in 2011 for a 1st and 3rd round pick.
3. In 2008, Holmgren traded a 3rd round pick for Jaroslav Modry. Modry was a Veteran Defenseman who was struggling with the Los Angeles Kings at the time of the trade. Unfortunately, Modry finished with a minus 11, while donning a Flyers sweater in just 19 games played.
4. Holmgren signed an aging Veteran in Vincent Lecavlier to a 5 year deal. Lecavlier was a good signing at first, but the term turned out to be the problem with this contract.
5. Acquired Ilya Bryzgalov which were finding out his hands were tied with this contract, and that this was actually Ed Snider’s move. However, Holmgren traded the now two-time Vezina Champion, Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012. Bobrovsky was traded for a second round pick and 2 fourth rounders. Why not a first?
6. Traded JVR for Luke Schenn in 2012. JVR then became a perennial 30 goal scorer with the Toronto Maple Leafs. If Holmgren was just one more year patient with JVR, he may have potted thirty goals with the orange and black.
The Flyers are loaded to the gills with Grade “A, B, and C Prospects.” For instance, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Jay O’Brien, Joel Farabee, Wade Allison, David Kase, German Rubtsov, Mikhail Vorobyev, Noah Cates, Olle Lycksell, Marcus Westfalt, Connor Bunnaman, Carsen Twarynski, Matthew Strome, and Tanner Lacyznski at Forward. On the Defensive side of the puck, Samuel Morin, Linus Hogberg, Wyatte Wylie, Wyatt Kalynuk, Philippe Myers, Mark Friedman, Jack St. Ivany, Yegor Zamula, and David Bernhardt. At the Goaltending position they have Carter Hart, Kirill Ustimenko, Felix Sandstrom, Ivan Fedotov, Samuel Ersson, and Matej Tomek.
I mean up and down the prospect pool they are loaded almost at every positional need. It’s always been about the future, and the Flyers have remained competitive while restocking the cupboard. Hextall’s inability to pull the trigger on a trade for a need at the Goaltending position, at the Center position, or obtaining a top four Defenseman is one main reason he is no longer GM of this club. Hextall preached patience, and in one, two, or even three years we will start to see this real Flyers club, filled with youth infusion. Trading one, two, or even three prospects for a dire need is fine. Heck even trading a few draft picks is fine, however knocking down the walls entirely, which we have seen in the past by Holmgren is not.
This is my fear…the fear of trading our assets for the aging Veteran, by of course using our deep prospect pool to do such. Try improving the team by trading minimal draft picks, and using the least amount of prospects to do such. For instance, using our goods to obtain Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Alec Martinez, Jake Gardiner, or Tyler Myers is great. All of these players are still young, and have some miles on their tires. Myers is 29, so he still has a good 3 or 4 years in him to perform at a high level. However, Holmgren should refrain from using our assets to acquire aging Veterans to plug a hole. History has proven with the Flyers organization that the aging Veteran just doesn’t work out 9 times out of 10, so let’s pray that Holmgren has learned his lesson from past mistakes.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports