Ron Hextall says he treasures draft picks.
"You build from drafting well…Certainly I think the Flyers have drafted extremely well," he said after being named the team's general manager Wednesday. "You look at a lot of the players in the lineup and around the league, they're first-round picks from the Flyers."
Hextall gave the impression he will hang onto his draft picks — current and future — and be patient with their development.
"I like young players, and I like draft picks," he said. "My vision is to build this team and continue to make this team better through the draft. That doesn't mean we won't make trades; it doesn't mean at some point, if it's a good enough player and we've got to trade a young player, we may look at that. But it's not a vision of mine to trade young players for older players. It would have to be a really, really strong deal for us."
Reading between the lines on some of his comments, Hextall may go searching for a left winger to play on Claude Giroux's No. 1 unit.
Among the potential free-agent left wingers: Matt Moulson, Benoit Pouliot, and Mason Raymond. Winnipeg left winger Evander Kane, who had 19 goals last season, is also an intriguing trade possibility. Kane, 22, a one-time 30-goal scorer, just completed the second year of a six-year, $31.5 million deal.
"I really like our group of forwards. Whether it's a perfect fit, that's a thing I tend to look at — the lines and the fit," said Hextall, whose team would have to clear some cap space to acquire Kane. "There's a couple things. We had a lot of guys move around the lineup this year. I'd like to find one or two guys that are a little better fit. I don't know if that will be out there or not. That would be one priority, and I think on defense, we'd like to upgrade. But I'm not going to do something rash to upgrade short term. We're building this thing. Like I said, we've got some good, young defensemen coming, and defense is going to be a priority."
The Flyers used numerous left wingers on Giroux's line last season, including Scott Hartnell, Michael Raffl, Vinny Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn, and Tye McGinn. Hartnell and Raffl were used the most.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.