Flyers Promote Ron Hextall to GM, Holmgren to President
PHILADELPHIA — Ron Hextall, new Flyers general manager, joked that he looks at YouTube every now and again and sees his old highlights as a player going after opponents waving his stick over his head.
"I look at that guy and go, 'man, he must be crazy,'" Hextall said. "I don't know. I'm not a different person. I'm the same person, but as your role evolves you start to realize (more about the game)."
Now 50, Hextall sees things a lot different than he did from his goal crease with a short temper. Yes, he's another former Flyer in a front-office position, but this isn't just another move for the old boys' club.
After his introductory press conference, it seems like Hextall has a little different philosophy than former general manager, now team president, Paul Holmgren.
That starts with developing defensemen. The Flyers have drafted a few and traded them away, tried to pay top dollar for Shea Weber and gave away half a farm system and two first-round picks for Chris Pronger. Developing defensemen is something they're trying to do with draft picks Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin and Shayne Gostisbehere.
"It's a huge priority," Hextall said. "The one thing that hasn't changed in my mind about building a team is build through the middle. Your goaltender. Your defense and your centermen. You have to be strong there or you can't win."
The Flyers think they have a goalie in Steve Mason, who had a bounce-back season in his first full year with the Flyers. With some combination of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, the Flyers have youth at center, something Hextall likes.