Ron Hextall has returned to Philadelphia, but not to solve our goaltending crisis, as much as we would love to have the hot tempered net minder back in our net. Hextall came back to Philly as the new assistant GM and director of hockey operations for the Flyers. In 2006 Hextall left Philly with Dean Lombardi for a promotion and a plan to rebuild a franchise in LA. This would be the first step in building the eventual “Flyers West”. His contract with LA ran out in January and the Flyers organization jumped to bring him aboard.
“To me, he’s probably the most highly thought of guy in the league who is not a general manager,” Holmgren said in a statement. “To add him to our staff is just huge. We’ve remained very close over the years. His family is basically on the East Coast. The timing seemed right. His contract expired in June. We jumped at it, to be able to add a person of his quality and knowledge. I’m really pleased we were able to do this.”
Hextall, 49, was an important part in helping the Kings earn their first Stanley Cup championship in 2012. In addition to aiding in contract negotiations, Hextall oversaw the Kings’ entire minor league operation which turned out players that would aide the Kings in their run for the Cup. Hextall’s role in Philly will be similar and they’re hoping that he can pull the Phantoms together after not having made the playoffs since 2009, and the move away from Philly to Adirondack as their home venue. Questions of course came up about the already existing staff’s positions and how their jobs would be affected. Holmgren said the Flyers reshuffled the titles of front-office members, though their day-to-day roles really will not change. Chris Pryor will be the Flyers’ director of scouting. Dave Brown will be the head of pro scouting. John Paddock, former assistant GM and assistant coach, will become player personnel director. And Barry Hanrahan will remain assistant GM in charge of the salary cap and financial decisions.
Hextall, one of the most popular players in Flyers history seems to be set as the next Philly GM when Holmgren decides his time is up in the office; a plan that seems to have some fans excited.
Hextall was the 19th member inducted into the Flyers’ Hall of Fame on Feb. 6, 2008. He appeared in 489 games during his 11-year Flyers career, posting a record of 240-172-58, and his 45 playoff wins are the most in franchise history.
Hextall won the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies in 1987, when the Flyers fell to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of what many believe to be the best Stanley Cup finals in NHL history. He was the first goaltender in NHL history to score a goal by shooting the puck in an opponent’s net – and the first to do it in a playoff game. Hextall also still holds the Flyers’ record for penalty minutes by a goaltender (113 in 1988-89) and points by a goaltender (eight in 1988-89).