NHL rumors: Penguins to talk with Flyers great Ron Hextall about general manager opening

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Could the Penguins hire a Flyers great as their next GM? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Penguins-Flyers rivalry is already one of the most heated in all of professional sports.

Now, imagine one team bringing in a former player and front office exec from the opponent to run its team, and you've got some real added animosity.

That's the exactly the scenario we could be headed toward. Former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford stepped down suddenly last week, citing personal reasons, leaving the Pittsburgh organization unexpectedly leader-less in the middle of the season.

The Penguins are already looking for Rutherford's replacement, and one option is a familiar face to Philadelphia-area hockey fans.

Per a report from Bob McKenzie on the NBC Sports intermission report during Wednesday's Flyers-Bruins game:

"There are three other NHL personnel that the Penguins have requested permission to talk to. [...] They've gone to the Los Angeles Kings to talk to former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. That interview should be taking place shortly."

According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the Kings have indeed granted the Penguins permission to speak with Hextall about the opening:

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Hextall, who spent 11 seasons with the Flyers as a player between 1986 and 1999, joined the Flyers as a scout in 1999 and eventually worked his way through the NHL managerial ranks until he was hired as the Flyers' general manager in 2014. He was, of course, fired in 2018 and replaced by current Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher.

It wouldn't be totally unheard of, but Hextall landing with the Flyers' cross-state rivals after such a tight relationship with the organization over four decades would certainly add an extra layer of spice to every following Flyers-Penguins interactions.

Or, perhaps things would go the other way and the tensions would soften ever so slightly? Would the teams suddenly be more likely to trade with one another?

... OK, maybe not.

But if Hextall lands the job, it'll be a very interesting dynamic to watch.

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