The Philadelphia Flyers have made a “philosophical change” and fired general manager Ron Hextall. The club made the announcement Monday.
According to team president Paul Holmgren, it has “become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team.”
Hextall had spent four and a half seasons with the Flyers before the philosophical changes arose, but one has to imagine the 10-11-2 record has a lot to do with how things are breaking down in Philly. The Flyers just popped off a 6-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and have a lot to answer for, including the use of more than a few goalies this season.
It’s interesting to note, too, the Flyers’ general lack of “old school hockey toughness.” The team has just two fights all year, down from the league average by a fair margin, and didn’t get too rough against the Maple Leafs.
That’s a technical issue that many may find interesting given Hextall’s history, but it’s where we find ourselves today.
And the Flyers now find themselves in yet another search for character, with the Broad Street Bullies of a bygone era now looking beyond unfashionable and the contemporary no-touch Flyers a no-go among the fanbase.
Hextall replaced Holmgren as general manager in May of 2014 and the Flyers never really caught on during his tenure. They reached the playoffs twice, but got bounced out of the first round each time.
And now, the club is allowing an absurd 3.57 goals against per game – behind just the Senators and Panthers. Their penalty kill is almost dead last and their power play is atrocious.
Hextall did put a few impressive prospects in the team’s pipeline and that’s a good thing, as it will give the new GM something to work with. And he hired Dave Hakstol as head coach, right out of the NCAA. That was a provocative hire that hasn’t paid off yet, but Holmgren hasn’t canned the coach so that could be a good sign.
So, what’s next? Who’s next?
Holmgren is faced with making an immediate decision and says that he’ll find a new general manager right away, so candidates are rising to the top quite quickly. Among the names discussed are Ron Francis and Chuck Fletcher, according to TSN. The Flyers would have to ask Carolina’s permission to talk to Francis, but that shouldn’t be an issue.