Bobby Clarke, a current executive with the Philadelphia Flyers, spoke recently about the mistakes the Flyers are currently paying for and almost exclusively blamed former general manager Ron Hextall — current GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins — for those mistakes. Essentially, it sounds like Clarke is holding Hextall responsible for all the pain the Flyers are currently experiencing.
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Among the things Clarke said Hextall did, he went off the board from all of the Flyers’ scout’s advice in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and selected Nolan Patrick, he made a terrible trade that sent Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues and said “there were other choices made in our draft that we’re paying for.” When commenting on the Schenn trade, Clarke said, “That was just as bad. … I sat at the table three seats away from him when he traded Schenn.” Clarke noted the scouts were livid and “Didn’t have a clue.”
While speaking on the “The Cam & Strick Podcast” on Monday, Clarke said that all the scouts agreed that Cale Makar was who the team should take and Hextall went out on his own and took Patrick, who nobody wanted. He also made a trade to send Schenn away without consulting the scouts and then turned down a deal to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres without talking to the scouting staff.
Clarke added, “(Hextall) made some huge mistakes. … He made himself bigger than the team. That is something I would never ever have thought of with Hexy, because he was such a team player.” He added, “We’ve got two or three first-round picks that are never gonna play. That’s why we’re struggling.”
Strange and Timely Comments from Clarke
It’s not every day that you hear one executive absolutely blast another, but Clarke didn’t hold back here. He noted he believed the two were still friends but said, “When Hexy came in… he alienated everybody right away. He shut his door, he locked the doors. He was the boss, and nobody else was part of it.”
It’s interesting that he would choose to be so quick to point fingers. While he might be right and this does sound like a situation that was ugly and has affected the team in a number of ways moving forward, it was largely believed during that draft that either Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick would be the Flyers pick based on who New Jersey wound up taking.
It’s also fair to point out that the Flyers’ current struggles shouldn’t necessarily all lead back to that 2017 draft. The team is now under the leadership of Chuck Fletcher and some questionable trades this offseason haven’t helped the team at all.
The Flyers are not in a good place right now and there’s talk the team will be sellers at this year’s deadline, perhaps having to give up Claude Giroux. It will be interesting to see what Clarke says at the time that trade goes down, if it does.
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January 11, 2022 at 3:38 pm
If what Clarke says is true he has a point, however, Clarke and holmgren dished out huge contracts to subpar players which prevented the flyers from signing people, and couldn’t get rid of the dead wood because of the contracts. The culture of no accountability, lazy play, and not prepared to start games happened long before hextall was gm.
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