Will Flyers’ new GM Fletcher be bold?
Last week, after the Flyers fired Ron Hextall as general manager, Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott set the table for his newest employee when he said he was looking for a “bias for action.”
Chuck Fletcher, who the Flyers named the ninth general manager in franchise history, isn’t ready to start trading picks and prospects or forming a new staff just yet.
Entering the week, the Flyers were five points shy of a playoff spot, which is the short-term goal for the group that was supposed to take a much bigger step forward this season than that. Fletcher is supposedly somewhere in between the aggressiveness of president Paul Holmgren, who offered Fletcher the job, and Hextall, who rarely made a move.
“We have some work to do, no doubt,” Fletcher said on a conference call with reporters, “but there are some very strong players here. There are some players that are finding their way in the NHL and getting better.”
If there is action, it won’t be immediate either for the roster or the staff.
Coach Dave Hakstol, whose contract runs through next season, said last week that he wasn’t looking over his shoulder and likely doesn’t have reason to in the immediate future. Fletcher said he’s known Hakstol for a while, noting that when he was a general manager with the Minnesota Wild for nine seasons he always noticed that Hakstol’s pupils at North Dakota got better when Hakstol coached there.
“I’m just coming in. I’m a big believer in trying to get to know a situation before you make a reaction,” Fletcher said when asked specifically about a potential coaching change. ”
But Fletcher was pretty bold in Minnesota, too.
“We made some big moves. He’s not afraid to make moves,” Wild owner Craig Leopold told a handful of reporters at the NHL’s board of governors meetings in Georgia Dec. 3.