Ed Snider hints at changes to Flyers' front office

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Ed Snider hints at changes to Flyers' front office

Updated: 7:42 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Will Ron Hextall replace Paul Holmgren as general manager of the Flyers next season?

Club chairman Ed Snider said on Friday afternoon that whatever happens between now and next fall when training camp opens, Holmgren will be part of the decision-making process, but that job titles in the hockey ops department could change.

Holmgren said later in the afternoon he wants to return as GM next season.

Snider said he would meet with Holmgren, who has one year left on his contract, soon to discuss his future role.

“Of course Paul will be back,” Snider said Friday at Skate Zone. “Basically, he's the head of our hockey operations. The job he did I think was excellent. Not too many guys would have guts enough to fire a coach after three games.”

When pressed specifically about what role Holmgren will have next year, Snider said the Flyers' front office is in the process of “analyzing everybody's title” and that Holmgren will “be the head of hockey operations” before offering a wry smile.

Snider did concede that assistant general manager Ron Hextall was brought in to one day succeed Holmgren as GM.

“Paul brought in Hextall. ... That's why he was brought in [to become GM]. He didn't come in to stay assistant GM forever, but that doesn't mean tomorrow. But I've got to sit down with Paul.

“I expect our operation to be solid, good hockey men. We have a lot of people that are analyzing this entire situation.”

It’s Holmgren's call ... so long as he and Snider agree.

“It’s really Paul’s call. All I have to do is endorse it,” Snider said. “If I don’t agree with him, then we have a behind-closed-door discussion.”

There have been several general manager openings this season, and even this past week, that Hextall would have been a logical candidate for.

Yet his name has not and does not come up. Why? Sources inside and outside the Flyers say it’s because Hextall is going to be the next GM in Philly and it could happen this summer.

Asked if he wanted to remain GM, Holmgren said, “Yes. I’m the one who brought Hexy back. He’s an excellent resource in our organization, a tremendous hockey man.

“I have no question he is ready to be a general manager at any point. We’ll see how it goes. I’m certainly not in any position today to change chairs.”

Snider was observing Holmgren’s remarks from the back of the room at Skate Zone where the new conferences took place.

If Vancouver or Washington called and asked to speak to Hextall, would the Flyers allow it?

“I don’t have to if I don’t want to,” Holmgren said. “If that were the case, for me, you do the right thing. Is that the right thing? Yeah.”

Ironically, Hextall’s other title is exactly as Snider called Holmgren: director of hockey operations.

If a change is made, it’s entirely possible the two men switch titles, with Holmgren also taking on the vacant title of “club president.”

Peter Luukko, who left Comcast-Spectacor this past winter, was the previous club president.

Snider said he thought Holmgren did an “excellent” job with the Flyers this season.

In assessing the Flyers' current roster, Snider gave the team a "B" and stated that he was pleased with the team's core but does believe the team needs some “several tweaks.”

Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers-Panthers 5 things: Eyeing longest win streak since Ilya Bryzgalov was in net

Flyers (14-10-3) vs. Panthers (12-11-3)
7 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers, on the NHL’s longest current win streak, will try to extend it to six games when they host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let’s get you set for the matchup with five things to know:

1. Push it to the limit
The Flyers beat the Predators, 4-2, on Sunday to give them their most consecutive wins since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five in a row.

A victory on Tuesday would mark the team’s longest win streak since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when it won seven straight and Ilya Bryzgalov was in net — yeah, that long ago.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol has been pleased with the consistent effort by his club after it collapsed Nov. 11 in a 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs.

“You go back to that poor performance up in Toronto, which was about a dozen games ago,” Hakstol said Monday. “Since that point in time, I think we’ve really taken pride in the consistency of our play and worrying about what we do on a day-to-day basis. It’s real important that we continue to do that.”

2. Leier hops right in
With Matt Read out approximately a month because of an oblique muscle pull, winger Taylor Leier has been recalled from AHL affiliate and will join Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Dale Weise on the Flyers’ third line Tuesday.

Leier, a 2012 fourth-round pick of the Flyers, gets his chance after proving himself with the Phantoms in 22 games, putting up 20 points on six goals and 14 assists.

The Flyers decided it was Leier over Scott Laughton, who has been sent back down to Lehigh Valley. Leier's earned his second call-up of the season with the Flyers. The first was just for one game on Oct. 25 in which he was a healthy scratch. Last season, the 22-year-old made his NHL debut, going scoreless in six games.

3. Mason on a roll
Speaking of consistency, goalie Steve Mason finally finding a rhythm is a big reason why the Flyers are stringing together wins.

In his last four games, the 28-year-old is 4-0-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. He was honored for his play by being named the NHL’s first Star of the Week.

“Right now, there’s a comfort level with the guys in front of me,” Mason said Monday. “Winning five in a row is nice and we’d like to keep making ground in the standings.”

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Ever since Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup from his three-game benching, the orange and black have won five straight. Now there’s no direct correlation, but Del Zotto is providing a stable presence defensively and chipping in offensively with four points (two goals, two assists) over the five-game run.

Panthers: Center Aleksander Barkov leads Florida in assists with 12 and has eight points (two goals, six assists) over his last nine games for a plus-5 rating.

5. This and that
• Mason is 8-3-2 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in 13 career games against the Panthers.

• Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, who has a 2.15 goals-against average this season, is 9-10-3 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 23 games lifetime against the Flyers.

• The Panthers are 1-1-2 since general manager Tom Rowe took over head-coaching duties for the fired Gerard Gallant.

• The status of Radko Gudas (sick) for tonight’s game is uncertain. He’s missed the last two contests.

• Florida defenseman Keith Yandle’s ironman streak of 577 games will come to an end Tuesday as the 30-year-old is expected to miss some time with a lower-body injury.

• It’s unknown if Panthers leading goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault (lower-body injury) will play Tuesday. 

Flyers Skate Update: Taylor Leier gets another chance with Read out

Flyers Skate Update: Taylor Leier gets another chance with Read out

Things can move fast in the hockey world. And not just on the ice.

Taylor Leier will be the first person to tell you that.

Just about 24 hours ago, he was skating with the Phantoms in Lehigh Valley. Tuesday night, he’ll be suiting up for the Flyers when they go for their sixth straight win as they host the Florida Panthers at the Wells Fargo Center.

“I’m really not taking anything for granted here,” Leier said on Tuesday morning while sporting three stitches and a shiner under his left eye, all after effects of friendly fire after Phantoms teammate Corbin Knight caught him with a high stick Saturday night against Hershey.

"I’m just taking it day-by-day and controlling the things I can control and taking it shift by shift in a game scenario. I’m just looking forward to getting things going."

Leier was recalled Monday after the Flyers announced Matt Read will miss four weeks with what sources tell CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio is an oblique injury.

This is Leier’s second call-up to the big club this season. He was called up in October for a game, but was a healthy scratch.

But that won’t be the case Tuesday as Leier will take Read’s place on the third line with Pierre-Edouard Bellmare and Dale Weise.

There is a familiarity between Leier and Bellemare as the two played together briefly when Leier was with the Flyers for six games in November 2015.

Leier has killed penalties for the Phantoms this season and he will also take Read’s spot on the penalty kill Tuesday, according to Dave Hakstol, who likes the style of game Leier brings to the ice.

“Taylor really has just continued doing, in the first couple months in Lehigh Valley, exactly what he did for us here in training camp," Hakstol said Tuesday morning. “Just playing a real sound, solid role as a two-way winger. He’s obviously scoring at a good pace, he’s nearly a point a game there, which is outstanding."

Leier is second on the Phantoms this season in scoring with six goals and 14 assists. He did not record a point in his six games with the Flyers last season.

Lineup
Expect the lineup to stay the same Tuesday as the Flyers have sent out throughout most of the five-game win streak.

That includes the absence of Radko Gudas, who returned to morning skate on Tuesday after missing the last two games with an illness. He skated on the fourth defensive pairing with Nick Schultz at skate, so he’s expected to remain out vs. the Panthers.

Steve Mason, the NHL’s first star of the week, will start his fifth straight game between the pipes.