When Ron Hextall took over as the General Manager of the Flyers on May 7, 2014, he envisioned a long-term commitment to the Draft, while preaching patience to the fans. Hextall has just been on a tear trying to keep this young Flyers core together for many years to come in the future. His hard-work and dedication to the team appeared to be paying off with making the playoffs 2 out of 3 seasons during the Dave Hakstol era. However, in year four of the Hakstol era, Hextall has been faced with some roadblocks. His young Flyers team is just flat-out inconsistent, and they needed a new face. Well, today it begins, per Sam Carchidi, Flyers President Paul Holmgren has hired Chuck Fletcher to be the next General Manager of the orange and black.
Hakstol (NHL coaching record 132-97-40) was hired by Hextall on May 18, 2015, as Hakstol formerly coached a very good hockey program at the University of North Dakota. He was known as having the stare, and apparently was good with grooming young talent. For instance, Hakstol eventually groomed Zach Parise and TJ Oshie into NHL mainstays. However, in year four of his tenure as Head Coach of the Flyers, they are inconsistent once again early in the season, in a season the orange and black were supposed to take the next step in terms of their rebuild. Hakstol did seem a little nervous last week as he stated,
“It’s a tough morning, a tough morning. I’m going to continue to focus and work on that job to the best of my abilities. That’s what I told the players. I don’t look over my shoulders.”
Hextall wouldn’t press the trigger on a trade to improve the penalty kill and Goaltending corps, which ultimately led to Hexy’s firing. Yes, he stockpiled the youth in the system, and took the Flyers out of cap hell. However, the Flyers top brass thought the rebuild should have been ramped up. Hextall was seen as a General Manager who didn’t make that move. According to Holmgren, in a Press Release from the Flyers, Hextall didn’t meet their, “Philosophical approach.”
Fletcher hails from Montreal, Canada, and was a former Assistant General Manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He then moved onto to become the General manager of the Minnesota Wild, a title he held for nine seasons. During Fletcher’s tenure with the Wild, he lead them to six playoff appearances in a row. Fletcher’s contract was not renewed this past off-season by the Wild, so he was hired by the New Jersey Devils as a senior advisor.
Hopefully, Fletcher can right the ship, and eventually lead the Flyers proud organization to the promised land. It may take a year to two, but who knows, right? The Flyers made a bold move, and this puts everyone on notice, to include the players. The players share some responsibility for the lack of success this season too, not just Hextall and the coaching staff. One thing is certain Flyers fans, time will tell how this bold move pans out.
Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports