A few days removed from their end-of-season breakdown and assessment of the organization, the Philadelphia Flyers announced an 11:30AM press conference where they are expected to promote Ron Hextall to general manager.
The #Flyers will hold a press conference today at 11:30 a.m. to announce front office promotions.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) May 7, 2014
Hextall, who was brought in last offseason from the Los Angeles Kings organization as the heir-apparent for the GM position, will be taking over for Paul Holmgren. Speculation is that Holmgren will ascend to the position of team president.
Holmgren took over as general manager for Bobby Clarke after the 2006-2007 season that saw the Flyers in the lottery. His track record as far as transactions go have a checkered reception to them, but he did help put together a team that reached a Stanley Cup Final and reach the postseason all but one year. It has yet to be determined what his new position within the organization will entail, though it is clear that team owner Ed Snider was ready to put a fresh perspective in charge of the personnel decisions.
As for Hextall, the former beloved netminder for the Orange-and-Black has made a name for himself as a strong front-office presence. He was a key member within the Los Angeles organization as they pieced together their championship team. Some found it odd last season that he would make a lateral move to Philadelphia to take a similar, secondary position. However, seeing the haste with which Snider made the decision to make this front office transition sheds a bit more light on why Hextall left Los Angeles. Considering all of the openings for general managers around the NHL and Hextall being a wanted commodity, the Flyers did not have much time to waste if they wanted to keep him in-house.
Hextall will have his work cut out for him. Though the organization is probably a bit better off in its minor-league and secondary levels as far as prospects go than usual, the NHL team is still littered with questionable contracts and a lack of identity. One has to think that having experience within a different franchise should allow Hextall to see things a bit differently than some of the ‘lifelong Flyers’ that tend to nail down positions such as this. At day’s end, if the Flyers hope to re-invent themselves as a legitimate cup contender, Hextall will need to show an ability to distance the way the team evaluates talent from the ‘Flyer way’ that seems to prevail in too many instances. The game is no longer about intimidation and fear as it is speed, precision, and depth. Hextall saw first-hand how a champion is put together and what strings must be pulled to take advantage of any and all opportunities. If the Flyers hope to hoist their first Stanley Cup since the 1970s, it will take a concerted effort from Hextall’s and his front office to develop a new ‘Flyer identity’ to replace the style that appears to be holding the franchise back.
CSNPhilly.com will stream the press conference. Here is the link