Penguins fire former Flyer Ron Hextall as general manager
Hextall, 58, lasted just over two years in the job and was one of a series of changes made Friday after the Penguins missed the postseason for the first time in 16 years.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in 16 years, the Pittsburgh Penguins are undergoing a complete front-office overhaul.
The team announced Friday that president of hockey operations Brian Burke, general manager Ron Hextall, and assistant general manager Chris Pryor have all been relieved of their duties effective immediately.
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John Henry and Tom Werner of the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Penguins, released the following statement on the changes:
”We are grateful to Brian, Ron, and Chris for their contributions to the organization over the past two seasons, but we feel that the team will benefit from new hockey operations leadership. While this season has been disappointing, we believe in our core group of players and the goal of contending for the Stanley Cup has not changed.”
The move ends Hextall’s two-and-a-half-year tenure as the Penguins’ GM. The 58-year-old previously worked with the Flyers as a scout, director of player personnel, and assistant general manager before serving as the team’s general manager from 2014 to 2018.
The Flyers made the playoffs in two of Hextall’s four full seasons as GM, while he oversaw drafts that saw the Flyers land core players such as Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Carter Hart, Morgan Frost, and Joel Farabee. He also was famously the general manager when the Flyers drafted Nolan Patrick No. 2 overall in 2017.
As a player, Hextall played 11 of his 13 NHL seasons with the Flyers, making the All-Star team in 1988 and winning both the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy in 1987. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played as a goalie (489) and wins (240). He was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2008.
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Hextall was hired as general manager by the Penguins in February 2021. The Penguins failed to win a playoff series under his watch.
Prior to his dismissal, Hextall had come under criticism this season for not doing enough to keep the Penguins’ Stanley Cup window open around stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. This season, the Penguins made only minor moves at the trade deadline, acquiring aging depth players like Nick Bonino, Dmitri Kulikov, and Mikael Granlund. They ultimately finished one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Also Friday, the Washington Capitals “mutually agree to part ways” with head coach Peter Laviolette after three seasons. The Capitals failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs this season for the first time since 2013-14 and went 115-78-27 under him, including a 35-37-10 mark this season.
Laviolette previously coached the Flyers from 2009-14, compiling a 148-98-29 record and leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009-10, which they lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
» READ MORE: Capitals let go of former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette after three seasons