Rumors, thoughts, hopes or whatever else you want to call it have been swirling around for months on end about the possibility of Ron Hextall becoming the new general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers. Well, right around noon on Wednesday, that possibility became a reality. In the team’s 47 years of being an official club of the NHL, Hextall becomes just the seventh guy to take the title as GM. With mixed emotions stemming from the news, a majority of them are positive — and for very good reasons.
Hextall is arguably one of the most, if not the most, well-rounded front office guys in hockey. When his playing career ended, he spent some time in Philadelphia as a scouting member. In 2006, Hextall moved to the position of vice president and assistant general manager; however, he did so as a member of the Los Angeles Kings‘ front office. It didn’t take long for him to prove he knew what he was doing, though. He helped develop guys like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, two key assets to the Stanley Cup championship season he was a part of back in 2012.
So, with a ring under his belt in L.A., the journey to get one under his belt with the Flyers begins next season. How exactly will he get that done?
Hextall has made it very clear that he is an extremely draft-oriented kind of guy and that he has every intention on hanging on to those players to let them develop — something former general manager Paul Holmgren didn’t do the best of jobs with. However, Hextall didn’t count out the possibilities of trades and free agent signings, obviously.
It’s hard to make any decent judgement calls on the possible performance of Hextall. Him having a ring, however, is a good start. Holmgren didn’t set the bar too high, so the only way for Hextall to go is up.