by PuckStopsHere on 05/07/14 at 11:10 PM ET
A few NHL teams have general manager openings to fill and Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Ron Hextall is considered a top contender to fill one of those positions. In order to prevent another team to hire him away from the Flyers, he has been promoted to general manager. In order to make room, Paul Holmgren was promoted to president.
Holmgren had been the Flyers GM since 2006. Although the Flyers had been a pretty good team through most of his tenure, he made several questionable moves. Trading away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, who became significant parts of the Los Angeles Kings 2012 Stanley Cup victory in order to have salary cap room to sign Ilya Bryzgalov, who was bought out. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky was traded away when Bryzgalov was seen as the Flyers goalie. It is not a good record. I wrote about it here.
Hextall was brought back to the Flyers where he played much of his career in 2013 to be the assistant general manager and director of player personnel after a seven year run in several jobs including assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Kings. Hextall was involved in bringing Richards and Carter from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to build a Stanley Cup winner. While it is often hard to know exactly what responsibilities an assistant general manager takes on, Hextall got a lot of credit for his work and was seen as a future NHL general manager.
I think it is quite reasonable to believe Hextall will not make the same mistakes Holmgren made as GM, although it is hard to be too tough on Holmgren because the Flyers were a solid team under him.
The potential problem is there may be too many people running the show in Philadelphia. Hextall is supposed to be in charge. Holmgren is still around and is in a position superior to Hextall. Flyers owner Jay Snider is one of the more involved owners in the NHL. Will there be power struggles? Does Ron Hextall really have to freedom to take the team in his direction or will his power be limited? If his power is limited, Philadelphia will have problems. If Hextall is free to run the team as he sees fit the Flyers may succeed if he has the skills. He has the potential to be a good general manager.
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