Last Monday, the Philadelphia Flyers relieved Ron Hextall from his General Manager duties, which ended his five-year tenure with the team. Paul Holmgren, who was promoted to President of the Flyers in 2014, will fill in as interim GM for the time being while the front office will search for the next GM. Flyers President Paul Holmgren and Chief Executive of Comcast Spectacor David Scott held a press conference last week to explain their reason to move in another direction without Hextall saying, “our goal is weeks not months.” They later said that the decision on whether Flyers Coach Dave Hakstol will stay or go will be up to the new GM.
Rumors have been circulating on who could fill the position previously held by Hextall. According to Darren Dreger, a TSN Hockey Insider, Chuck Fletcher is rumored to be the “frontrunner” as of now. Fletcher was the GM of the Minnesota Wild from 2009 to 2018. It is also rumored that former Tampa Bay GM and NHL Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman has drawn interest from the Flyers, but it’s an unlikely option due to his want to stay close to family. Here’s my four-step plan for the flyers to get back on track:
1. Hire a GM from outside the Organization
The Flyers have had a common theme of filling coaches and front office positions with former players of the team. Paul Holmgren and David Scott cannot follow the same path that led to this point. Even though I did agree with the Hextall hiring at first, it’s time for the Flyers to break the mold and hire someone outside of their organization with championship clout and experience.
2. Fire coach Dave Hakstol and hire Joel Quenneville
In November, the Chicago Blackhawks fired Quenneville after being with the team since 2008. Since that time, he has 452 wins and won three Stanley Cups in his tenure. The Flyers are in dire need for a head coach with his championship experience, and it only helps that their current coach is on the hot seat. Dave Hakstol has not been a fan favorite in Philly since landing the job four years ago and this season is nothing new. The Hakstol hire was an out of the box move, but it’s time to move on.
3. Trade away Wayne Simmonds for a young player or draft picks
This year seems doomed for a miss on the playoffs and a front row seat in the NHL draft lottery. The front office might as well sell at the trade deadline. Trading veterans like Giroux and Voracek is unlikely because their contracts are large and have no trade clauses. One guy who has always been rumored in trades is power forward Wayne Simmonds and since he’s in the final year of his contract, likely seems out the door. It’s been a struggle for the Flyers and Simmonds to reach an agreement on an extension, so they might as well trade him to retool the roster.
4. Figure out the goalie situation!
Well, it’s that time of the year! Christmas Carols, families getting together and mystery regarding who will play goalie for the Flyers. This has been a running problem for this franchise for the past 20 years but there is light at the end of the tunnel—Carter Hart. The 2016 second round draft pick from the WHL is playing his first professional season with the Flyers affiliate team, the Phantoms. It’s been an up and down year for Hart, but hockey analysts believe Carter Hart is the best goalie prospect around. The only problem is he’s just 20 years old and not ready for the NHL. In the time being, the Flyers need a reliable stop gap goalie. Brian Elliot and Michal Neuvirth have been injury prone to say the least. While Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz are young and talented, they are more suited for the AHL.
Conner Gabe is a second-year student majoring in media and culture and minoring in communications. CG864458@wcupa.edu