The Flyers are bringing Hexy back.
Paul Holmgren, the team’s current GM, will be given the title of president. He replaces Peter Luukko, who resigned from the position in December.
It was just last week that Holmgren said he had no intention of giving up his responsibilities, but that seemed to clash with what owner Ed Snider had said earlier: “Paul brought in Hextall. That’s why he was brought in [to become GM]. He didn’t come in to stay assistant GM forever.”
After a legendary career between the pipes, most famously in Philadelphia, Hextall spent seven years in various scouting roles with the Flyers. He then went on to serve as the assistant GM to Dean Lombardi with the Kings for seven years, playing a key role in building the 2012 Stanley Cup champions. Hextall rejoined Philadelphia last July. From that point on, it was only a matter of time before he was handed the keys to the shop.
”I’m extremely excited about this new opportunity to manage the Philadelphia Flyers,” Hextall said at today’s press conference. ”I look forward to working closely with Paul in our new hockey structure and working toward our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
He certainly has his work cut out for him. Holmgren leaves a team that rode a strong second half to an unlikely playoff berth, but which also has gaping holes to fill and very little cap room. The Flyers have $64.5 million committed next season (against a cap expected to top out at $69 million) for the salaries of just 17 players (10 forwards, six defensemen, one goalie). Brayden Schenn, Jason Akeson and Tye McGinn are RFAs who’ll need new deals, and there’s a decision to be made on 39-year-old defenseman Kimmo Timonen.
Holmgren also left Hextall with a decision to make on the future of Vincent Lecavalier. The veteran center was a lousy fit under new coach Craig Berube and still has four years left on a deal that pays him $4.5 million annually. He could part of the first trade Hextall has to make.
Philly’s talent pipeline ranks among the bottom third in the league, although Holmgren did manage to stockpile some promising blueliners (Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin, Brandon Manning). One or more of them could be moved, though, as Hextall reshapes the team in his image.