No doubt about it, the surging Philadelphia Flyers have provided hockey fans with some of the best “feel good” stories over the second half of the NHL’s 2017-18 season. After suffering through a franchise worst 10 game losing streak earlier in the season, the Flyers have risen out of the ashes and currently sit in first place atop the Metropolitan Division. Barring a catastrophic collapse, it looks like the Flyers will be back in the Stanley Cup playoffs this Spring. Incredible.
Credit to Flyers general manager Ron Hextall for practicing patience. He faced a ton of criticism during his team’s losing streak and had fans begging and pleading him to fire head coach Dave Hakstol, but Hextall refused. At last week’s trade deadline, Hextall made a similar choice when he elected to stand pat with his roster, putting things in their own hands and empowering his players. Outside of the necessary trade for goaltender Petr Mrazek, Hextall was silent. But, according to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Boruk, Hextall was busy behind the scenes.
Boruk reports that Hextall “kicked the tires” on Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman, but ultimately decided that the cost of acquisition was too high.
“It’s an emotional time for all of us and you’ve got to really think things through clearly,” Hextall said following the deadline. “To do something because someone else did something, that’s not how I operate. We’re going to make well-thought-out decisions.”
So… what was the offer? According to Boruk, the asking price was defenseman Travis Sanheim and a first-round pick… to start. Boruk maintains that those two pieces were just a “starting point.” Ouch. That’s steep. It’s not wonder why Hextall elected to pass.
But, don’t be surprised if Hextall and Sens GM Pierre Dorion pick up the conversation once the season has ended. The Flyers have two first round picks in the upcoming draft and the general consensus is that Hextall would be willing to move one if it means that he can get back a solid roster player. But, seeing as how this current group has come so far in such a short period of time, it’s clear that Hextall wants to see how they perform without any outside interference. After all, if we’ve learned nothing during Hextall’s tenure as the Flyers’ GM, it’s that he likes to do his biggest work in the offseason, once he’s had the opportunity to properly evaluate and address any shortcomings. Stay tuned, Flyers fans.