A shutout loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday stretched the winless drought of the Philadelphia Flyers to 10 games, and something has to give sooner or later.
The Flyers are last in the Metropolitan Division and are eight points back of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
General manager Ron Hextall came out in defense of his head coach last week, but how long can the Flyers afford to let this group figure it out on the ice before at least making a trade of some sort?
“I think that he’d prefer to be patient and wait, but how much longer can he wait,” pondered NHL Insider Darren Dreger during a Monday afternoon radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260. “I don’t get the sense that Dave Hakstol is target No. 1. Again, because he was handpicked by Ron Hextall, I think that Hextall, unless he was pressured from above – and I don’t think that would go well with Hexy – I think he’s a pretty loyal individual. He’d have to see first-hand that the coach is the problem, and I don’t again get the sense that is the case.
“So then you’re left with making a trade. And it depends on the pieces that he’s willing to part with. If he were ever willing to trade Wayne Simmonds, well, there would be people lining up to acquire Wayne Simmonds. But beyond that, it gets a little more complicated because anyone looking at the Philadelphia Flyers would be trying to pick his pocket, and would want some of his younger guys.
“So I suspect he’s going to try to do something trade-wise; but as hard as we’ve been digging on that front, no names that are significant or that would catch the attention of anyone out there have surfaced just yet.”
Simmonds, 29, has has seven goals and seven assists through 26 games.
His cap hit is slightly less than $4 million and he has this season and next remaining on his six-year pact.
He has a modified no-trade clause through which he can submit a 12-team no-trade list.