In a shocking development on Monday morning, Philadelphia Flyers president Paul Holmgren announced that Ron Hextall was relieved of his duties as executive vice president and general manager.
The organization has begun the search for his replacement.
“We thank Ron for his many significant contributions, but it has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team. In light of these differences, we feel it’s in the organization’s best interests to make a change, effective immediately. I have already begun a process to identify and select our next General Manager, which we hope to complete as soon as possible,” said Holmgren in a statement.
This surprising move comes as the Flyers were shutout 6-0 on Saturday night by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was their fourth loss in the last five games and the third game out of five in which they allowed more than five goals.
Under the direction of head coach Dave Hakstol this season, the Flyers have struggled to start off games quickly, which has led to a disappointing record of 10-11-2 for 26 points. Some people believe that Philadelphia’s slow start falls on the shoulders of Hakstol, while others thought placed blame on Hextall.
Hextall joined the Flyers back in July 2013 as an assistant general manager and director of hockey operations after spending several seasons with the Los Angeles Kings as vice president and assistant general manager.
In May 2014, the former Flyers goaltender was elevated to general manager as Holmgren was promoted to team president. From there, Hextall went on to name Hakstol as the team’s head coach in 2015 and tried to rebuild the minor league system.
Even though he was successful in rebuilding the system to a certain extent, the veteran talent on the ice was still struggling to make the playoffs. After getting embarrassed again in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, Hextall made a splash in free agency and bought back former Flyer James van Riemsdyk.
While van Riemsdyk was added to provide a scoring punch, the Flyers still had a glaring need at goaltender. Hextall tried to remedy the situation last year with the trade deadline acquisition of Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings, which did not work out well.
This season, he came back with a ton of options in net consisting of Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Calvin Pickard, Alex Lyon, and Anthony Stolarz. Elliott has been solid in between the pipes but is currently injured while Pickard and Stolarz are just holding down the fort for the time being.
Carter Hart, who is the Flyers’ top prospect and was drafted by Hextall in the 2016 draft, is waiting in the wings in Lehigh Valley. If Hart pans out to be a Vezina Trophy candidate and a top-tier goaltender, then that would be one major plus in the Hextall era.
The Flyers will hold a press conference on Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the dismissal of Hextall.