During this time last year, prayers that looked to be answered in Philadelphia when Ron Hextall was appointed the general manager position were once again in question. As we might recall, Hextall traded the crowd-favorite in Scott Hartnell for salary cap reasons and in return brought back, R.J. Umberger, who had an awful season to say the least. Hartnell on the other hand scored 28 goals and racked up a solid 60 point season. Furthermore, Hextall extended a contract to Zac Rinaldo, a fourth line player who are a dime a dozen in this league thus leaving Flyer’s fans scratching their heads.
Present day, Ron Hextall has been a wizard and is already in the running for general manager of the year. During the NHL draft, while the Flyers did in fact take a plethora of goaltenders, they lit the lamp on their first overall selection of defenseman, Ivan Provorov. Provorov looked to be at worst a third overall selection but fell right into the laps of the Flyers and Hextall didn’t think twice but to select the highly talented prospect. Later in the first round, the Flyers traded their 29th pick in the first round and their 61st pick in the second round to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 24th pick and selected right winger, Travis Konecny.
“We like the players we got. We added what we feel is a top prospect on defense, a 200-foot player,” Ron Hextall told reporters, referring to Provorov. “With Konecny, we added speed, skill, competitiveness. Captain of his team at 17. We’re happy with the guys we got; it’s a good day for the Philadelphia Flyers.”
While the obvious knock on Konecny is his lack of size, there have been a plethora of players in the National Hockey League past and present, that aren’t gifted in size that have been very successful. Furthermore, Konecny is an outstanding skater, has great puck-handling skills, and plays with a serious edge as he amassed 68 points in 60 games with Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League this season.
With the 2015 NHL Draft in the books, Ron Hextall now went to work on the salary cap nightmare that has been plaguing this team the last several years. That being said, the Flyers made a head-turning trade by acquiring center Sam Gagner and a draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the rights to unofficially retired blue-liner Chris Pronger.
While this deal more than anything was to rid this team of the aforementioned salary cap nightmare, which saved the Flyers $5.3 million in cap space, this team also acquired a highly motivated player in Gagner, who wants to prove the Arizona Coyotes made a big mistake. However, Hextall wasn’t done playing the role of a magician when he completely fleeced the Boston Bruins.
In a completely shocking move, Ron Hextall traded Zac Rinaldo to the Boston Bruins for a third round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Look, one can understand that the Bruins first-year general manager, Don Sweeney has been under constant fire since trading Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic, but to trade a third-round pick for a fourth line player is simply mind-boggling for Sweeney and complete wizardry by Hextall.
Even though the Philadelphia Flyers still have a long way to go in rebuilding this team into a contender, Ron Hextall is proving his worth once again in Philadelphia.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Derek Markovitz