Flyers Hire Chuck Fletcher as New GM
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Out with the old, in with the new.
Exactly one week after hiring Ron Hextall, as first reported by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Flyers have found his replacement - Chuck Fletcher, the GM of the Minnesota Wild from 2009-2018, will hold the same position in Philadelphia. He was hired as a senior advisor for the Devils this offseason.
Fletcher's tenure with the Minnesota Wild is one full of some obvious goods and just as obvious bads, as is that of any ex-GM. Fletcher successfully built a good core group in Minnesota, largely by drafting and developing, and did a good job resigning many of them to team-friendly contracts. Those tools will come in handy, as the bevy of young talent the Flyers have will eventually have to be wideled down, with the tough decision to let go of some prospects eventually to be made.
Fletcher also wasn't afraid to make big moves at the deadline (something that Ron Hextall had never really done), or admit when certain decisions were failures and move on, something Hextall wouldn't do with players like Dale Weise and coaches like Hakstol. However, he has made some egregious errors, such as trading a young Brent Burns for Charlie Coyle, trading a 1st, 2nd, and 4th for a medicore rental in Martin Hanzal, and of course the massive 13-year contracts he shelled out to Ryan Suter and Zack Parise, both of which have predictably turned into albatrosses.
Once he is officially introduced (rumored to be a press conference for him Wednesday), Fletcher will have his work cut out for him. He has to decide whether this team has to be salvaged, which is no small task. If it can, he must acquire a stable goaltender and probably a top-4 defenseman as well. If it can't, then he has to entertain the likely scenario of trading Wayne Simmonds at the deadline. Regardless, he will have to eventually extend key RFAs such as Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov in the offseason (a specialty of his in Minny). And of course, the coaching staff will need to be evaluated and adjusted accordingly. It's worth nothing that Fletcher has a strong connection with Joel Quenneville, who would certainly be a welcome upgrade from Hak. The first step of the post-Ron Hextall era has been taken, but what will define its success are the moves that happen next. The Flyers new wave of change isn't over - it's only just beginning.
Edit: The Flyers have made the Fletcher move official. Also, it sounds like longtime NHL assistant coach Rick Wilson is coming to the Flyers as well, almost certainly taking over Gord Murphy's vacant role.