It’s now been nearly a month since Ron Hextall was fired by the Philadelphia Flyers, replaced as GM by Chuck Fletcher after a poor start. The Flyers expected to be in the playoff hunt this season, but were 10-11-2 when Hextall was relieved of his duties. Not surprisingly, there has been some interest from around the league according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, who reports that a few teams have “reached out” about the former goaltender’s availability. Friedman notes that the teams may not be looking at Hextall as GM, but to join their team in some capacity.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone, given Hextall’s successful post-playing career as a front office executive. Starting with the Flyers as a scout, he ended up as an assistant GM with the Los Angeles Kings when the team won their 2012 Stanley Cup and had only just left to return to Philadelphia when they won again in 2014. Twice he was also part of the Canadian World Championship management group, taking home a silver medal as GM in 2017. There are plenty of organizations who could use that kind of experience, and there are plenty of other benefits.
As Friedman writes in his latest 31 Thoughts, under Hextall the Flyers were a tightly run ship that very rarely leaked information. He was also notoriously patient with his development plan, to the point where some have wondered whether that is what got him fired this season. Hextall had long-term goals for the Flyers, and certainly had built up quite the prospect pool.
Any team that wants to hire Hextall would have to go through the Flyers, and it’s not clear that they would allow him to change organizations mid-season. We’ve seen front office members have to wait before, like former Toronto Maple Leafs AGM Mark Hunter who was relieved of his duties but kept under contract through the draft. Still, it doesn’t seem like it will take too long before we see Hextall back in an NHL front office somewhere.