Is Dave Hakstol the Next to Go for Flyers?
With so many embarrassing losses already after just 23 games this season, it was becoming more and more apparent that the Flyers needed to make a change. Many times, a team tries to shake things up with a trade or make a coaching change.
A change higher than that wasn't really on the radar. But on Monday, GM Ron Hextall was out.
Speculation was that Dave Hakstol would exit as head coach before Hextall lost his job as GM. With a new GM search underway, it would seem the coaching staff has numbered days.
Hakstol's seat was already heating up before the decision on Hextall was made. The Flyers were barely hitting the .500 mark this season, losses were becoming increasingly embarrassing with poor starts, a lack of preparation and overall ineptitude of a roster that held higher expectations to "raise the bar."
There were also more and more free agent coaches becoming available, and that only increases the pressure.
When the decision to relieve Hextall of his duties surfaced on Monday, it seemed that the final straw wasn't the team's loss on Saturday, but a stubbornness on Hextall's part to make a change in the wake of another loss of that nature. If he wasn't going to make the change, whether to the coaching staff or the playing roster, then he was going to be the change.
But this wasn't a change made to just make a change. This was a change that indicated more is on the way.
Typically, any new GM enters an organization knowing the goal of the franchise and brings in his own team to do, usually in the form of the head coach. Does that mean Dave Hakstol is next on the chopping block?
Things certainly could progress that way. Hakstol's system has not worked with the current team and far too often there have been games where the team has either tuned him out, shown complete ineptitude to any semblance of structure or been unprepared for what the opposition throws at them, or sometimes a combination of all three. It had Hakstol's seat heating up more and more for obvious reasons.
The Flyers don't have this kind of patience with a coach. Only two in franchise history have coached for four full seasons. The Flyers don't stand for constantly being out of the playoff picture early in a season. When a coach has hit the breaking point, he's jettisoned away like the others.
His assistant coaching staff hasn't been great either. Special teams is generally handled by assistant coaches -- Ian Laperriere and Kris Knoblauch in this case -- and has been a nightmare. Team defense has been an ongoing issue -- that's Gord Murphy's department. Goaltending has been another atrocity. Wholesale changes may be coming soon.
With the likes of Joel Quenneville, Todd McLellan, John Stevens and Mike Yeo already bounced by their previous teams and now available, the pressure was mounting for Hakstol as it was. Now, it's almost a given that whenever the team names a new GM, that executive will make a decision regarding the coaching staff sometime soon, maybe as soon as this week, maybe at the end of the season, but the days appear numbered.
It seems that all the talk of a change involving Hakstol will finally come to a head somewhere in the future. A new GM wants his own coach. There are some good ones out there. Maybe it's going to come from somewhere off the radar. Whatever happens, another change, perhaps behind the bench, would be another wake-up call to the franchise.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.