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Flyers fire GM Ron Hextall. What does it mean for Dave Hakstol?

The Philadelphia Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall on Monday morning after a 10-11-2 start to the season. The Flyers have already used five different goaltenders this season and have the worst save percentage in the NHL (.880). It's a posi...

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The Philadelphia Flyers fired general manager Ron Hextall on Monday morning after a 10-11-2 start to the season.

The Flyers have already used five different goaltenders this season and have the worst save percentage in the NHL (.880). It’s a position that has long haunted the franchise.

"The Flyers organization has decided to relieve Ron Hextall of his duties as executive vice president and general manager,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “We thank Ron for his many significant contributions, but it has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team. In light of these differences, we feel it's in the organization's best interests to make a change, effective immediately. I have already begun a process to identify and select our next general manager, which we hope to complete as soon as possible."

The next question is: What does this mean for former UND coach Dave Hakstol?

Hakstol is currently the fourth-longest tenured coach in the NHL, only behind Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets and Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators.

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But he was Hextall’s guy.

Hextall, who was hired in 2014, made what was considered an outside-the-box move to sign Hakstol away from his alma mater in the spring of 2015.

Hakstol became the first NCAA head coach to go directly to an NHL head coaching spot in more than 30 years.

Since then, more have followed that route. The New York Rangers hired David Quinn from Boston University and the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery from the University of Denver last summer.

Hakstol has made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons (2016, 2018), making his trademark late-season push both times. The Flyers were eliminated in the first round both times.

It appears that the Flyers will give the new general manager leeway to make a decision on whether to retain Hakstol or to hire someone new.

Longest tenured NHL head coaches (as of 11/26/2018)

1. Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay Lightning

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2. Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets

3. Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

4. Dave Hakstol, Philadelphia Flyers

5. Mike Babcock, Toronto Maple Leafs

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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