UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Philadelphia-Los Angeles pipeline is apparently still intact.
General manager Ron Hextall on Sunday confirmed the hiring of former boss Dean Lombardi, who’s been added to the Flyers' front office, but in a position that has yet to be determined.
“He’s got a lot of experience,” Hextall said of Lombardi. “He’s a sharp guy and we’d be foolish not to bring him aboard. For me, it’s going to be another guy to run things by. We'll find something else for him to do. He’s not going to be in the scouting department.”
Lombardi served as a Flyers scout from 2003-06 before joining the Kings organization in the role of general manager in 2006. He hired Hextall, who, at the time, was the Flyers' director of player personnel, as assistant GM that same year and together they constructed a team that brought Los Angeles its first Stanley Cup championship in 2012. After Hextall rejoined the Flyers organization in 2012 as assistant GM, Lombardi and the Kings added a second championship.
What Lombardi does here in Philadelphia will be completely different from Hextall’s job in Los Angeles.
“Night and day,” Hextall said regarding Lombardi's role. “He’s a real hard worker and a thinker. Again, every hockey mind you can get around is good. He’s got a good mind. Whenever your work with people, you learn a lot. From Bob Clarke to Paul Holmgren to Dean, everybody’s got their strengths. So whoever you work with, you learn. I learned things from Keith Allen years back.”
Hextall and Lombardi had initial conversations not long after the Kings fired Lombardi this past April, but Hextall doesn’t believe Lombardi was holding out to see if a general manager position opened up somewhere around the league.
“I think he was kind of focused on us, if something worked out with us,” Hextall said, “He had been here before and we obviously know each other. In terms of whether he wants to be a GM again, that’s a better question for him.”
Perhaps the better question is whether Lombardi and Hextall can bring similar success to Philadelphia like they did in L.A.