GM Ron Hextall has introduced something the Philadelphia Flyers’ front office hasn’t seen in some time: rationality.
OK, that’s a little hyperbolic, but it’s been fascinating to watch him run the team with a slow-and-steady approach after years of reckless spending on quick-fix solutions.
Unfortunately, Hextall was handed the salary cap equivalent of a hand grenade while managing a franchise that still aims for the postseason every year. It’s a bit like asking for lightning-fast meals and only providing a cook with an oven.
Really, it would be best if Hextall could let everything marinate for a while.
Through some brilliant maneuvering, the Flyers selected nine players in the 2015 NHL Draft, including two first-rounders who carry positive buzz. Hextall has been stockpiling future selections, too, as the Flyers also currently hold nine picks in both 2016 and 2017.
Again, masterful stuff, but that bodes well for the future. Will the pressures of the present force the ship off course?
As Philly.com reports, Flyers owner GM Ed Snider spoke directly to that issue back in March, and his comments don’t exactly guarantee Hextall the opportunity to ride through what looks like a transitional period on the ice.
“You don’t say when you’ve got Giroux, and you’ve got Voracek, and you’ve got Mason and you’ve got the kind of pieces like Simmons that we have, that, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be patient, we might make the playoffs in 2 or 3 years,’ ” Snider said. “[Bleep] that.”
“We’ve got to make sure our message gets through properly. Patience is great with the kids. But patience isn’t great with the team we have on the ice.”
Uh oh. That puts a lot of heat on Hextall to win now, even with a team sporting possibly fatal flaws.
If expectations aren’t adjusted, a different GM might reap the rewards of Hextall’s reasonable, forward-thinking approach.