The Philadelphia Flyers made quick work of their hiring process after letting Ron Hextall go recently, as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the team will soon name Chuck Fletcher as its next general manager.
Fletcher was immediately linked to the Flyers search once Hextall was relieved of his duties. He would be coming to an organization that is at a crossroads. Philadelphia was expected to compete for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division and perhaps even the Stanley Cup, but the Flyers have been plagued once again by inconsistent goaltending and find themselves sitting 15th in the Eastern Conference with a 11-12-2 record. That, combined with Hextall’s notoriously slow-developing plan, forced team president Paul Holmgren to make a change.
Bringing in Fletcher makes sense after the report that the Flyers were looking for plenty of experience in their next GM, as he previously ran the Minnesota Wild for nearly a decade. That was the culmination of a lifetime of hockey experience, given Fletcher’s father Cliff’s legendary history as an executive. Cliff Fletcher was the man behind the 1989 Stanley Cup-winning Calgary Flames team and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. Chuck meanwhile lifted the Stanley Cup himself, as an assistant GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Already there are reports of how Fletcher will quickly put his stamp on the team, as Frank Seravalli of TSN tweets that Rick Wilson could be joining head coach Dave Hakstol behind the Philadelphia bench.
Wilson has more experience behind a bench than several NHL coaching staffs combined and worked for Fletcher in Minnesota from 2010-2016. He last worked as an assistant for Ken Hitchcock in Dallas last season but is currently a free agent.
When Fletcher does take over, it will be interesting to see what kind of changes he implements with regard to the Philadelphia roster. Best known for his signing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in Minnesota, he’ll have to deal with a pair of new extremely large contracts in Philadelphia with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. He’ll also have plenty of tough decisions to make in regard to pending unrestricted free agents, as Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal, Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are all in their final year under contract. It’s hard to expect anything other than big changes coming in Philadelphia, though perhaps they’ll wait until after the season to really shake things up.