Philadelphia Flyers fans finally got their wish on Monday: Ron Hextall is back.
OK, he won’t be making slick passes, nasty slashes, dramatic saves and naked interviews as the team’s goalie, but savvy fans should still be intrigued that he’s accepted an assistant GM gig. The team notes that he’ll begin on August 1.
Without context, the decision might seem like a lateral move in Hextall’s career as an executive. He’s been an assistant GM for the Los Angeles Kings since 2005-06, helping them build one of the best team structures in the NHL. (The Kings wished Hextall good luck, for what it’s worth.)
While the Flyers haven’t said as much, there’s reason to believe that Hextall, 49, could be groomed to eventually take over the GM role for current general manager Paul Holmgren.
Few would deny that Holmgren’s had some struggles, as two expensive buyouts and various dramatic organizational 180’s can attest. Holmgren’s been in the GM role since 2006-07, so one must wonder if the franchise is looking toward the future with this move.
Even in a vacuum, it’s a nice move for the Flyers, especially if Hextall can help them improve a farm system that’s ranked second-worst in the league (according to Hockey Prospectus).