Possible Candidates for the Flyers’ Open GM Position
With a GM search now underway, the Flyers will spend the next several days and weeks looking for the right successor to Ron Hextall, the right voice to fill the GM role that can move the team forward.
Several candidates have emerged in reports and there are others out there that at least have warranted speculation.
Here are eight names that could be mentioned as possibilities for the open GM job with the Flyers.
Chuck Fletcher - After spending three seasons as the assistant GM of Ray Shero with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Fletcher assumed the GM role for the Minnesota Wild in 2009 and held the position until April 2018. He currently serves as a senior advisor with the New Jersey Devils. A report from TSN's Darren Dreger has Fletcher linked to the job. It seems that Fletcher is the current front-runner for the job. He would certainly provide some stability to the position with his veteran experience.
Steve Yzerman - Yzerman had a solid track record as GM for the Tampa Bay Lightning before stepping down from the role in September after eight years in the position. Yzerman has expressed a desire to spend more time with family, struggling with the work-life balance of the GM role. That leads many to speculate that he will next take the GM role in Detroit whenever it opens up. It may be a long-shot, but Yzerman has the best track record of any GM available. The bigger question is if he has the interest and would be willing to come to Philadelphia. It’s worth inquiring at the very least.
Ron Francis - From one Ron to another? Maybe. Francis is currently in the process of divesting in the Carolina Hurricanes ownership group, an indication that he wants to continue his front office career somewhere else. He served as GM of the Hurricanes from 2014 to March 2018, when he was briefly promoted to president of hockey operations in Carolina before his contract was terminated in April. A report from TSN's Darren Dreger has Francis linked to the job.
Steve Greeley - Greeley is currently the assistant GM under Jason Botterill in Buffalo and one of the names on the rise. Greeley, 38, does not have any experience as a GM, but is clearly on the fast track to holding such a position. He’s also worked as a scout with the Los Angeles Kings under Dean Lombardi and as an associate coach at Boston University under current Rangers head coach David Quinn. A report from TSN's Frank Seravalli has Greeley linked to the job.
Bill Zito - Previously a sports agent, Zito has been part of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization since 2013, serving as assistant GM and taking over as the GM of the Lake Erie Monsters, the team’s AHL affiliate, in 2015. Lake Erie won the Calder Cup in 2015-16. Zito was also the GM of the US National Team at IIHF World Championship in May 2018.
Tom Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald has had a long career as an assistant GM, first with the Penguins from 2009 to 2015 and with the Devils since 2015. Fitzgerald was the Director of Player Development for the Penguins prior to taking over the assistant GM role.
Mike Futa - Futa has worked his way through the ranks as an executive, first as the GM of the Owen Sound Attack from 2002 to 2006, then as Co-Director of Amateur Scouting with the Los Angeles Kings. He is currently the assistant GM with the Kings, a role he has held since 2014.
Sean Burke - As a former Flyer netminder, probably not the path the Flyers are considering, but Burke has worked his way through the ranks since retirement. He was the Coyotes Director of Player Development from 2008 to 2015 also serving as an assistant to the General Manager and the team’s goaltending coach. Burke moved on to the Montreal Canadiens as a pro scout in 2016 and was the GM of the Canadian national team at the 2018 Winter Olympics.