The reign of Paul Holmgren is over. Ron Hextall has taken over as the Flyers General Manager after much anticipation and very loud whispers of a GM change when the Flyers former goalie returned to Philly. This of course leaves a lot of questions about the Flyer off season. We’ve grown to expect a win now attitude and trades that are based on making the team seemingly better for the current year and completely disregarding any development of future talent, but now we’ve got something drastically different.
If you’d like an example of Hextall’s previous work and how different it is from Paul Holmgren’s style, just look at the LA Kings. Obviously Hextall wasn’t the lead man in LA, but you’ve got to imagine he learned a few things about building a successful team. So far though we’ve seen nothing, we can only guess at Hextall’s ideas for this team.
Of course as is tradition for the Flyers, there are a bunch of trade rumors floating around the internet that might make fans pee themselves or faint, but don’t really make a lot of sense for the team. The biggest name at the moment is Ryan Kesler.
If you haven’t heard already, Ryan Kesler is requesting a trade, but only to one of 6 teams he’s named and of course the Flyers are on that list. The Flyers had to many centers last year when they signed Vincent Lecavalier and that hasn’t changed yet. Kesler is also about to turn 30 and is seemingly past his prime and the Flyers organization doesn’t have the cap space to waste on a big question mark.
The team’s obvious need is defense. With Holmgren we may have expected to sign a center when we desperately need a blue line upgrade, but that’s hopefully not Hextall’s mo. Which brings up the obvious and overused Shea Weber calls. This is less of a serious rumor than hopeful fan dreaming, but here it is. When Peter Laviolette was the Flyers coach, he wanted Vinny Lecavalier and Vinny wanted to play under him. Now as we all know Lavy is the new coach for the Predators. People have offered that maybe the Predators would be dumb enough to accept a trade of Vinny Lecavalier for Shea Weber, which all I can say to is “I doubt it”. Smarter ideas along the same line have been offered, like getting rid of Lecavalier to the Predators for just about anything getting rid of his contract and shaving off an extra center from the roster. That’s a best case scenario.
The other defensive issue is veteran Kimmo Timonen. What do they do with him? Well if he decides to stay the Flyers can’t offer him the same amount of money that he had last season which, based on his interview, shouldn’t be a problem for him. If he is brought back the Flyers are gonna have a hard time upgrading the defense, if they don’t bring him back they’re probably going to rush one of their prospects (most likely Shayne Ghostisbere) into an NHL spot.
Tim Panaccio has also suggested the Flyers try to trade for Matt Niskanen as a replacement for Kimmo Timonen giving him the $6mil contract that Timonen had last season. That’s if the Pens don’t try to resign him … which they probably will.