PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers are continuing to clean house. After firing Ron Hextall as general manager on Monday, the organization announced on Wednesday that they have gotten rid of director player of personnel and assistant general manager, Chris Pryor, and assistant coach Gord Murphy.
“The Flyers organization has relieved Chris Pryor of his duties as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant General Manager. In addition, in close consultation with Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol, Gord Murphy has been relieved of his duties,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a statement.
The statement added, “We do not anticipate any further personnel moves in the near term,” indicating head coach Dave Hakstol’s job is safe for now.
Hextall’s arrival signaled a new era in Flyers history, one where short-term fixes, big-budget spending and mortgaging the farm system were no longer in vogue. He gamely tried to restock the farm system and refused to make a major trade for a star that could instantly inch the Flyers closer toward contention.
And when all that got the Flyers were a pair of first-round playoff exits and a 10-11-2 record this season, Hextall got the boot.
“He was unyielding in his plan and remained that way,” Holmgren said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Good for him. He’s a well-thought out, deep-thinking guy.”
Holmgren said he never asked Hextall to fire the coach he hired with no NHL experience out of North Dakota. But Holmgren said Hextall had told him “of course, I’m thinking about it.”
But, Holmgren added, “he never did it.”
The Flyers did at least discuss the potential of adding Joel Quenneville after the Chicago Blackhawks fired the three-time Stanley Cup champion coach.
“I can tell you his name came up right away when he was let go,” Comcast Spectacor CEO Dave Scott said. “I think Ron was set on, stay the course.”
Holmgren punted Tuesday about every major issue facing the Flyers to the next GM, and there are plenty of top candidates. The Flyers have about $7 million in salary cap space, and enough talent that should entice some heavy hitters for the job. Former Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who won two Cups and now works for the Flyers, told Holmgren he wasn’t interested. But Chuck Fletcher, Ron Francis, Sean Burke and Brian Burke are sure to pique the interest of a team eyeing its first Stanley Cup since the back-to-back titles in 1974 and 1975.
“What can we do now, today, to make the team better now? Not two years or three years from now,” Scott said.
Hextall was criticized for refusing to listen to scouts and advisers and had been accused of cutting off alumni from access to the team. Hextall, a star goalie and one of the franchise’s more popular players, had wanted his own process on his terms.
“His plan was his plan and we’re really hoping for a little more openness going forward,” Scott said.
Asked when the Flyers decided to shift from long-term rebuild to legitimate contention, Holmgren was blunt.
“We’re in the fifth year,” Holmgren said. “That’s a long time in hockey years.”
The Flyers haven’t made the Cup finals since 2010 and haven’t won a playoff round since 2012.
“It’s a long time,” Scott said. “We’re gonna go for it.”
The Flyers lost 4-3 on Tuesday night to the Ottawa Senators after giving up three goals in the third period.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)