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Ron Hextall’s patient approach of wanting to build the Flyers through the draft was never going to mesh with his boss Ed Snider and it has some executives around the league wondering if Hextall could be one and done — under one scenario —
If Snider is able to land Mike Babcock who is said to covet more authority on personnel decisions along with a boat load of money, if he leaves Detroit.
Hextall’s eye from the start has been on the future, trading Scott Hartnell for a broken down forward in R.J. Umberger for the sake of Umberger having two less years on his contract.
Snider this week expressed frustration towards the Flyers patient approach this season.
“It’s not like we don’t have pieces,” Snider said per Philly.com. “Now the question is, do we want those pieces to just die on the vine? And go for a long-range plan? And eventually they’re gone? Who’s going to replace them. So there’s a question of potential trades, free-agent signings, draft picks surprising you. I don’t like to give the impression that, ‘Hey, we aren’t going to win.’ It’s Ron’s job to analyze why. Why did this same team that made the playoffs fall? We’ve got to make sure our message gets through properly. Patience is great with the kids. But patience isn’t great with the team we have on the ice. These are the same guys, minus [Scott] Hartnell, who made the playoffs last year. Who did extremely well.”
“I feel like Ron has a lot of work to do,” Snider said.
What Snider is saying — we have Claude Giroux, Jacob Voracek, Wayne Simmonds — trade the kids for established players this summer, not wait around three to four years for them.
Snider is expected to fire Craig Berube after the season and like the Maple Leafs and Sabres, intends to go all out for Babcock and pretty much put a blank check on the table.
Some around the league believe if swaying Babcock to Philadelphia means giving him a coach/GM type role like Patrick Roy in Colorado, Snider would part ways with Hextall in heartbeat, despite what he means to the organization.
“I wouldn’t put anything past Ed,” an NHL executive said.
— Current Connor McDavid Odds —
1. Buffalo Sabres (48 pts, 20%)
2. Arizona Coyotes (54 pts, 13.5%)
3. Edmonton Oilers (55 pts, 11.5%)
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (60 pts, 9.5%)
5. Carolina Hurricanes (64 pts, 8.5%)
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (72 pts, 7.5%)
7. New Jersey Devils (74 pts, 6.5%)
8. Philadelphia Flyers (76 pts, 6.0%)
9. Colorado Avalanche (80 pts, 5.0%)
10. San Jose Sharks (80 pts, 3.5%)
11. Florida Panthers (82 pts, 3.0%)
12. Dallas Stars (82 pts, 2.5%)
13. Boston Bruins (85 pts, 2.0%)
14. Calgary Flames (87 pts, 1.0%)
All of the focus is on Buffalo and Arizona, but the two intriguing teams are Carolina and Columbus.
Among teams with a 7.5% chance or better to win the lottery, Columbus is the one among that group where McDavid would make them an instant contender in the East next season. Would be an absolute great fit and a Metropolitan Division filled with stars in Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Giroux, would add another.
Columbus would be best served to do some tanking themselves to stay in that six spot as they’re currently in the range where they could finish anywhere from the sixth to eighth worst record.
Among the current bottom-6, Carolina is another intriguing team.
You get McDavid, build a first line around him, and counter with a big, strong second line built around the Staal brothers that would be a handful for teams to matchup against.
— Ray Shero who spends a lot of time in the Massachusetts area now, has stayed involved with USA Hockey behind the scenes, doing a lot of scouting at the amateur level and those close to Shero say he would love to be named TEAM USA GM for the World Cup. One problem is for the Olympics at least, USA Hockey officials had prioritized in the past a coach and GM who were currently employed in the NHL. Shero’s not now but that may change with a potential intriguing opportunity out West that executives are linking Shero to and in the East maybe he gets an opportunity again to take the job he was offered and passed up in 2006.
Whether it’s the Shero camp putting it out there or not remains to be seen, but there is lots of chatter among executives that Shero will be highly coveted by the San Jose Sharks and he’s at the top of their radar if they make a change and part ways with Doug Wilson.
Shero had told former associates he prefers to stay on the East Coast with his son Chris playing amateur hockey in Foxboro and set to attend Boston College in fall of 2015, but not a lot of GM jobs open up and San Jose is a good job.
The Bruins potential opening is another one some wonder about. However, Shero expressed issues in working with owner Jeremy Jacobs and was the reason he passed the job up in 2006 when he had initially declined the Penguins job because of Ken Sawyer’s insistence of keeping Michel Therrien as coach.
With how involved Cam Neely is now in the day to day operations and the sky high expectations, this would be the Penguins job all over again for Shero. People seem to forget, he’s a small market GM at heart.