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.