Hextall becomes GM of Flyers' most-hated rival


Ron Hextall, a Flyer through and through, has his next general managing gig:

Leading the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Weird, right?

The Penguins on Tuesday named Hextall as their new GM and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations.

Hextall is a member of the Flyers' Hall of Fame and has served the organization in various roles for 24 years. He was drafted by the Flyers in 1982, made his NHL debut with the club in 1986 as a 22-year-old and is the franchise's all-time leader in games played at the goalie position (489), regular-season wins (240) and playoff victories (45).

After playing 11 years in Philadelphia, Hextall held the following positions with the Flyers: general manager, executive vice president, assistant GM, director of player personnel and scout.

"I got drafted by Philadelphia when I was 18 years old, I started playing my first year when I was 22, and the only thing I wanted to do was be a part of bringing a Stanley Cup to Philadelphia," Hextall said in an April 2020 interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark. "Obviously we came up a little bit short as a player. To get the opportunity as a general manager, my sole focus was not building a real good team, the sole focus was building a team that was capable of winning the Stanley Cup."

Hextall was abruptly and surprisingly fired from his GM post in November 2018, a move that kick-started the Flyers' massive shakeup in their hockey operations and direction. Hextall was named the Flyers' general manager in May 2014 and the team went 165-128-58 during his tenure with a pair of first-round playoff exits.

When Hextall was relieved of his duties in the fifth season of his process, the Flyers had been in last place of the Metropolitan Division at Thanksgiving for a second straight year.

Hextall tirelessly restocked the Flyers' farm system and impressively rescued the club from its salary cap hell. He changed the Flyers' culture with a vision of competing in the present but building for multiple runs in the future.

What led to his firing was the lack of action to take the next step toward seriously contending for the Cup. Many argued Hextall was too protective of his process, which simply wasn't coming along fast enough in the eyes of upper management.

Before taking the Pittsburgh job, Hextall was back with Los Angeles as an advisor to the Kings' hockey operations department. He won a Stanley Cup with L.A. in 2012 as its assistant general manager.

Hextall's next shot in the GM chair opened when Jim Rutherford resigned as the Penguins' general manager last month for personal reasons. Pittsburgh won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017 under Rutherford.

Everyone knows Hextall is highly regarded for his ability to draft, develop and retool a team's future. The Penguins are a team that could be nearing that stage. Pittsburgh is also trying to make the most of its current window to contend, led by three-time champions Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

The Flyers hope to be in the way.

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Contact Us