Ron Hextall wasn’t leaving the cushy confines of the Los Angeles Kings front office if not to become a general manager somewhere in the NHL. So immediately upon his arrival back in Philadelphia last July, the speculation began: Hextall would one day replace Paul Holmgren as the team’s GM.
That day has arrived: CSN Philly and other sources indicate that Hextall has been promoted to general manager, while Paul Holmgren takes over as team president, a position Peter Luukko vacated last December.
Hextall of course is a Flyers legend: 11 seasons in Philly, in multiple stints, and an infamous temperament on the ice that matched his competitive fire.
From Tim Panaccio:
It was Holmgren who brought Hextall back into the organization last summer as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. “Paul brought in Hextall,” [owner] Ed Snider said last week at breakup day. “That's why he was brought in [to become GM]. He didn't come in to stay assistant GM forever, but that doesn't mean tomorrow. But I've gotta sit down with Paul.”
The Flyers had a .598 winning percentage under Holmgren, with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final and two trips to the conference final.
It was Holmgren’s call to make, and Frank Seravalli believes he didn’t want to make it:
Five days ago, Paul Holmgren scoffed at the idea of giving up his seat as the Flyers' general manager. "Do you think I look 70?" Holmgren barked. "I still feel pretty good. I'm certainly not in any position today where I want to change chairs."
It's amazing what five days and a little "coaxing" from chairman Ed Snider can do.
Seravalli reports that Holmgren “will still have a role in hockey operations decisions moving forward, but Hextall will make most of the personnel calls.”
Which means, one assumes, fewer crazy pants contracts and signings, which makes us sad.
Obviously Holmgren’s reign as general manager, after taking over for Bobby Clarke in 2006, will be remembered for several blockbuster highlights (the Danny Briere signing, the Chris Pronger trade), questionable calls in hindsight (blowing up the locker room with the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter deals, only to see them win a Cup together in Los Angeles) and a parade of truly disastrous decisions in goal, thus continuing the legacy of Clarke.
We’ll have a longer look at Holmgren’s tenure later. For now, congrats to Ron Hextall, the new GM of the Flyers.
Man, Hextall leading the Flyers, Patrick Roy coached the Avalanche … it’s good to be a legendary goalie with impulse control problems these days.