Hextall hints he may want new LW for Giroux line

Winnipeg left winger Evander Kane, who had 19 goals last season, is reportedly available.
Winnipeg left winger Evander Kane, who had 19 goals last season, is reportedly available. (DEREK LEUNG / Getty Images)
Posted: May 10, 2014

New Flyers general manager Ron Hextall says he likes the group of forwards he has inherited, but implied something is missing.

"Whether it's a perfect fit, that's a thing I tend to look at - the lines and the fit," Hextall said after being named Paul Holmgren's successor Wednesday. "There's a couple things. We had a lot of guys move around the lineup this year. I'd like to find one or two guys that are a little better fit. I don't know if that will be out there or not. That would be one priority."

Reading between the lines, Hextall may go searching for a left winger to play on Claude Giroux's No. 1 unit, which includes right winger Jake Voracek.

Among the potential free-agent left wingers: Matt Moulson, Benoit Pouliot, and Mason Raymond. Winnipeg left winger Evander Kane, who had 19 goals last season, is an intriguing trade possibility. Kane, 22, a one-time 30-goal scorer, just completed the second year of a six-year, $31.5 million deal and reportedly is available.

The Flyers would have to free some cap space to acquire the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Kane. In the 2009 draft, Kane was chosen fourth overall - one pick before the Kings selected Brayden Schenn, now with the Flyers.

The Flyers used numerous left wingers on Giroux's line last season, including Scott Hartnell, Michael Raffl, Vinny Lecavalier, Schenn, and Tye McGinn. Hartnell and Raffl were used the most.

Despite having so many different left wingers, Giroux finished third in the NHL with 86 points.

Lecavalier, signed to a five-year, $22.5 million deal before last season, has a no-trade clause, but it will be interesting to see whether the Flyers try to get him to relinquish it. Nashville, in need of offense, might be a good fit because it recently hired Peter Laviolette as its coach.

One of the reasons Lecavalier signed with the Flyers was because he felt comfortable in Laviolette's attacking system. Three games into Lecavalier's first season with the Flyers, Laviolette was fired and replaced by defensive-minded Craig Berube.

As for trades, Hextall treasures draft picks. He gave the impression he will hang onto his draft picks - current and future - and be patient with their development.

"My vision is to build this team and continue to make this team better through the draft," he said. "That doesn't mean we won't make trades; it doesn't mean at some point, if it's a good enough player and we've got to trade a young player, we may look at that. But it's not a vision of mine to trade young players for older players. It would have to be a really, really strong deal for us."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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