After missing the NHL post-season for only the second time in 18 years, the Philadelphia Flyers face a critical year in the franchise's history. Paul Holmgren, the team's general manager since the fall of 2006, could very well be on the hot seat.
Flyers' owner Ed Snider, an NHL Hall of Famer, has a reputation for being both fiercely loyal and insanely competitive. Despite Holmgren's many years of service to the organization as a player, assistant head coach, head coach, director of pro scouting, director of player personnel, assistant general manager, and general manager, the 80-year-old Snider's patience could be wearing thin.
Over the summer, former Flyer star goaltender Ron Hextall was brought in as assistant general manager, and a rumored heir apparent, after a successful run in the Los Angeles Kings' front office. It’s been 40 years since Snider's orange and black squad has hoisted the Stanley Cup, and with Father Time staring him squarely in the face, desperation could prevail.
Snider has no issue spending his fortune or making an impact move to take a "swing for the fences" run at the big prize. This year's squad has Holmgren's stamp all over it, so if things seem to be headed in the wrong direction early, don't be shocked to see the aging owner force big changes.
Holmgren, who shockingly learned of his trade from the Flyers as a player while listening to the radio, and has seen Philly legend Bob Clarke forced to "resign", should not be surprised by any Snider blind-side. What follows are Holmgren's 10 biggest moves as Flyers general manager that helped paint the current landscape of the franchise.