Paul Holmgren: Flyers' next GM will be from ‘outside our organization'


We can slice through the Flyers' mostly nothing press conference Tuesday morning addressing the firing of general manager Ron Hextall and come away from it wondering what exactly did we find out.

The "philosophical differences" in the initial statement were never clearly defined. Hextall was "unyielding" in his approach and wasn't going to "waver from that plan." That stubbornness ultimately cost Hextall his job.

Flyers management, like the fan base, grew tired of the stagnation, felt the current team was underperforming and wanted to do something that can "make the team better now, not two-three years from now," as Comcast Spectator Chairman and CEO Dave Scott put it.

Multiple times during the press conference Flyers president Paul Holmgren used the term "fresh" but never really expanded upon what "fresh" means. He said, "It was time to look for a new voice with a different mindset that can push the team to the next level."

Afterward, we received some clarity as to what Holmgren is looking for in the Flyers' next GM. When asked if it was fair to say if Dean Lombardi is a candidate, Holmgren adamantly responded with:

No, it's not fair to say that. I've talked to Dean, I don't believe Dean has interest. I think he's not at a point in his life where he wants to do that again right now. I have a short list. … Preferably, I would love to go outside our organization. In fact, I can probably guarantee that we'll go from outside our organization.

So, there's that. We can cross Lombardi off the list. Per Holmgren, Lombardi, the architect of the two-time Stanley Cup champion Kings, will remain with the team as a senior advisor.

One of the few things we can take away from this day is, the Flyers seek a fresh perspective, because, of course, they do. That's what happens when change is made without scandal. And a fresh outlook is a good thing, really.

Far too often does this organization reward old players and familiar faces with jobs. Loyalty is what the Flyers' brand is built upon. Even Hextall was a former player and front office face before he returned as GM, though by his managerial philosophy, you'd never know.

If the next GM hire came internally, it would go against everything Holmgren and Scott said Tuesday. It certainly wouldn't be the first time executives fibbed about business.

Holmgren said he has "a number of people that are interested" and that the team's GM position is a top job. A lot of that has to do with Hextall's "unyielding" approach.

We've already seen some names surface, including former GMs Chuck Fletcher and Ron Francis. Some interesting names to keep tabs on are Sabres AGM Steve Greeley and Kings AGM Michael Futa. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman mentioned Chris Drury, among others.

When asked what they're looking for in a new voice, Scott added, "I think we're looking for bright, energetic, strategic thinkers but also balancing that with a bias for action and really making some things happen."

Of course, "bright, energetic, strategic thinkers" is corporate speak. But the key part of Scott's statement is this: "Balancing that with a bias for action." Hextall wasn't capable of that. The next GM hopefully will be.

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