Flyers general manager Ron Hextall may soon be able to add Ken Hitchcock to his lengthy list of coaching candidates.
Hitchcock’s St. Louis Blues had another great regular season _ and another early playoff exit. They were knocked out in the first round for the third straight season, this time by the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota, the NHL’s best team since mid-January, eliminated the Blues on Sunday, 4-1, winning the series in six games.
Hitchcock, 63, is in the final year of his contract and it is not likely he will return. In fact, hours after the loss, NBCSN reported that Hitchcock and the Blues would part ways this week.
If so, will Hextall try to lure him back for his second tour with the Flyers?
Possible, but not probable.
Hextall wants to build through the draft and farm system. Hitchcock, the fourth-winningest coach in NHL history, has never been patient in developing young players (see Patrick Sharp and Justin Williams).
In Hitchcock’s four seasons in St. Louis, the Blue have compiled a 175-79-27 regular-season record, but are 10-17 in the playoffs with just one series victory.
Hitchcock has coached for parts of 19 seasons _ seven with Dallas, four with the Flyers, four with Columbus, and four with the Blues _ and has put together a 708-429-88-97 record. He coached Dallas to a Stanley Cup in 1999.
That impressive resume will probably get him another coaching job, but the odds are it won’t be with the Flyers.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.