On November 26th, the Flyers fired their general manager. Ron Hextall has officially been let go. He was been with the organization for over four years, joining in May of 2014. The Flyers fan base has mixed feelings on whether he really needed to go. Some say he did a good job of fixing the salary cap situation when he was hired, and the coach should’ve been fired instead. Others say he did not handle the goal situation and should’ve been fired. But regardless he has been replaced with Chuck Fletcher. Many are saying he is the one who will finally bring the Stanley cup back to Philly.
OPINION: In all honesty Hexstall was a horrible general manager and deserved to be fired. He did not handle our goal situation very well. The flyers have never had “that goalie” in a long time. We’ve never had a goalie that we could look at and say “we are confident that he will perform at his best and not make silly mistakes that will cost us games.” And it’s not just us who should say that it’s the rest of the league who should fear him. In the game of hockey the goalie is the most important position (my goalie on my team last year carried us to win the league championship so that says a lot). You can have an amazing offense who can get up to 8 goals in the entire game. But if you have a bad goalie who lets in 10 goals in that same game you will lose that one and many ones to come.
Like I said, our new GM Chuck Fletcher has a lot of fans saying he will finally be the guy to bring the Cup back to Philly. But where is he coming from and is he really qualified? His Wikipedia does not say much but one thing that really stood out to me was he went to Harvard University. He is most likely very qualified to manage not only the Flyers but any other team who picks him up. Before the Flyers Chuck spent 2012-2018 with the Minnesota Wild, they would advance to the playoffs for six consecutive seasons under him, but in those six seasons they did not make it past the second round. The play offs have always been a problem for the flyers, ever since 2012 we’ve always struggled in even making the playoffs. And if we did make them we would lose in round two. There isn’t much else to say about Fletcher I will try to report on any updates that come out, until then we just need to give him some time.
UPDATE: Several weeks ago when Hextall was fired and Fletcher was hired some fans thought that this was a great decision that needed to be made. Others thought that the coach had to go. But now since both are gone we have the best of both worlds. But is Chuck Fletcher handling the position professionally? Well, let’s look at how he’s handling our current coach/goalie situation. First the coach situation. Dave Hakstol was fired a couple days ago after a disastrous road trip for the Flyers. Before the official announcement from the team a lot of rumors built up from very reliable sources saying that Hakstol would be fired and be replaced by Joel Quenneville, who I will come back to later.
Although Hakstol was fired Joe Quenneville has not been picked up by Fletcher. This is one of Fletchers biggests mistakes, Quenneville coached the Blackhawks before being let go. In his time with the Blackhawks he would go on to win 3 Stanley cups in 6 years (one of them beating us in 2010). To replace Hakstol we have Scot Gordon, the Lehigh Valley (AHL) Phantoms head coach. Now does this seem like a good decision? Not really. Why wouldn’t you pick up the former Blackhawks head coach when he was with them in his prime? Scott Gordon is being named as an interim coach so he won’t be with us for that long. Next is our goalie. We were considering bringing Anthony Stolarz who plays for the Phantoms to our team as a permanent decision. But he is currently out with a lower body injury (and that’s all we’re hearing). In his place we called up Carter Hart who also plays for the Phantoms. He played with us on Tuesdays game against the Detroit Red Wings. Sure we did win and he only let in two goalies on twenty two shots Detroit is one of the worst teams in the league so we need to see more of him.
So in summary we have a substitute coach for a minor league team and a substitute goalie from that same minor league team. It seems like Fletcher is not handling his position that well and is not making the best decisions. Right now there is a lot of pressure on him to make some magical decision to restore our team to its 2010 glory days. But like I said on the last article we just need to give him more time. Let’s just hope he makes the best use of this time.
by Will Coleman ’23