The case of the missing top six forward

Ron Hextall had a simple goal going into free agency, to add a top six winger. Through day one, the available left wingers were picked off one-by-one without so much as a hint of interest from the Flyers. As first day frenzy came to a close, Hexy admitted he did not achieve his goal. Why?

Sticking to the plan

Hextall is a general manager with strong convictions. He has a plan and he is going to stick to it. Overpaying and overcommitting to Andrew Ladd or Loui Eriksson was never going to happen. It goes against the grain of everything we grew up with as Flyers fans but it might just be right. The Flyers are not ready to win the Stanley Cup in the next two years. By the time the Flyers are contenders, Ladd and Eriksson will be strong candidates for a buyout. Seven years, $38.5 million for a 30-year-old Ladd? Hard pass.

That Vesey guy

It was rumored that Jimmy Vesey, the Harvard grad and Hobey Baker winning winger, was the Flyers primary target going into the offseason. He is an attractive prospect whose earning potential is somewhat limited by the fact that he is subject to a (bonus laden) entry level contract. However, he is property of the Buffalo Sabres, his father is a scout for the suddenly attractive Toronto Maple Leafs, he is from Massachusetts where is father played for the Boston Bruins, and he would not reach free agency until August. The odds seem slim that he would land in Philly. Hextall either must know something we do not or…

It is all a smoke show

Maybe that thing Hexy knows is that he would not sign Vesey, nor would he sign Eriksson, Ladd, et al. He also knows Flyers fans want blockbuster moves. Floating a rumor about a player a month removed from free agency diffuses the situation and keeps the beats at bay.

Hextall could have done better

Nobody wants to cast Philadelphia’s savior in a negative light but yesterday left more questions than answers. The Kings stole Teddy Purcell for $1.6 million. Jamie McGinn got a comparable deal to Dale Weise  — slightly more money but a shorter term — while bringing a lot more top six potential than him. Ryan White, who may have overplayed his hand, ended up getting $1 million from Arizona. What was Hextall thinking? Did he not do his due diligence or did they not want to come to Philly? He improved the Phantoms and the Flyers’ bottom six but that is about it.

Maybe he’ll snag P.A. Parenteau for next to nothing and it will end up being the steal of the summer. Right? Right?

The answer under your nose

By not committing to a big name, the Flyers have left the door open for Travis Konecny to earn a spot in the top six out of camp. The no-move move will also prevent the Flyers from being cap strapped after re-signing Brayden Schenn and the other restricted free agents. It also keeps the Flyers out of a tough spot with the expansion draft. Signing a Kyle Okposo would mean leaving someone else unprotected in the draft. Once again, hard pass.

Fortunately, there is still plenty of time between now and the start of the season to improve the team. So, lets not jump to any rash conclusions just yet.


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