Last Monday, the Flyers relieved general manager Ron Hextall of his duties. Since then, President of the Flyers, Paul Holmgren and CEO of Comcast Spectacor Dave Scott have been doing their due diligence in finding a new general manager.
There are a lot of moving parts here as there was a disconnect between Hexy and Homer. The latter wants to compete now and move prospects to land another star while the former was maintaining the long view. With that knowledge, the duo of Holmgren and Scott could be looking to land an aggressive GM to trade players, prospects and find his own coaching staff. Let’s look at the two leading candidates:
Chuck Fletcher, former general manager of the Minnesota Wild was first reported to be a candidate by Michael Russo of the Athletic via twitter.
Told by multiple sources that folks within and close to the #flyers have begun their due diligence into contacting #mnwild people about GM candidate Chuck Fletcher, who now advises #njdevils GM Ray Shero
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) November 28, 2018
From doing brief research on the man here is what I found:
- Fletcher was a member of the Anaheim Ducks front office from 2002 to 2006. The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
- From there, Fletcher became assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2007-2009. The Penguins won the Cup shortly after Fletcher left.
- Fletcher was general manager of the Minnesota Wild from 2009 to 2018. During his tenure he’s proven that he isn’t afraid to spend big – the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise signings are good examples. The Wild have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.
- According to Adrian Dater of BSN Denver, Fletcher and potential head coaching candidate Joel Quenneville have a good relationship.
Also, Q’s wife’s family from nearby Connecticut. I think that would be a plus for Q when considering Flyers https://t.co/FmioTcMyum
— Adrian Dater (@adater) November 29, 2018
All in all, not a bad candidate. There are definitely worse out there. If it ends with Coach Q behind the bench, I’m for it.
On to the second candidate:
Zito is the assistant general manager for the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was reported by Pierre LeBrun that he received permission to interview for the Flyers job.
Flyers have asked and received permission to speak with Blue Jackets AGM Bill Zito
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 30, 2018
Zito, a former agent, has a good relationship with the Flyers front office as he represented beloved defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Bill Meltzer, the Flyers’ website official contributor, said the following:
“As mentioned by Pierre LeBrun, a dark horse name for Flyers GM search is Columbus assistant GM Bill Zito. He will become an NHL GM — some liken him to Ray Shero — and had a good working relationship with Homer when Paul was Flyers GM and Zito was an agent (Timonen among others).”
Having a number cruncher as a general manager, who is a former agent, could prove to be advantageous when talking about contracts. As a relatively unknown candidate, Zito does show some upside.
The Flyers have two stark opposite contenders here – one is a proven veteran in the front office and while he doesn’t have a Cup to his name, he could be just what Homer and co. are looking for. On the other hand, Zito could be the next big GM. The Flyers have a lot of thinking to do before the make a decision as both candidates have their pros and cons. Would you rather go with experience or try to find the next big thing? The Flyers are expected to make a decision early this week.