Flyers

Flyers announce 2018-19 leadership group, with a new addition

Flyers announce 2018-19 leadership group, with a new addition

It's always fun to see if there are any additions to the Flyers' leadership group of Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds ahead of each season.

The team announced its captains Tuesday night and there's one change. Sean Couturier is the alternate captain for home games, a role held last season by Valtteri Filppula, who signed with the Islanders this summer.

In a total shocker (kidding), Giroux is the Flyers' captain, while Simmonds is the alternate captain at all times with Andrew MacDonald serving as an alternate captain on the road, like he did last season.

Giroux

The 30-year-old has been the Flyers' captain since January 2013. He is currently the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia, going back to the 2008. Giroux is not a rah-rah speech kind of guy, but his actions speak volumes. Every single player looks up to him by the example he sets. He is truly admired.

Simmonds

With the Flyers since the 2011-12 season, there's no doubt Simmonds is the heart and soul of the team. The respect for him around the league is enormous. He'll fight anyone for any teammate, the first to stand up when one of his guy's takes a hit. It's remarkable what he played through last season (see story). He can become a free agent after this season and you can bet his leadership will come into play for the Flyers.

MacDonald

The veteran defenseman is really well respected within the locker room. Teammates see his professionalism and how he acts, day to day, throughout a season. The front office and coaching staff love the quality of person he is and head coach Dave Hakstol values his presence. "It's that time of game where crap hits the fan a little bit and you just need somebody to settle things in and Mac's one of the guys that can do that for us," Hakstol said during training camp.

Couturier

After his breakout 2017-18 season, Couturier has begun to take on a leadership role with the Flyers. The 25-year-old has been with the club since the 2011-12 season. When he played through a torn MCL in his right knee at the end of the postseason last year, you saw a leader blossoming. "I try to lead in any way I can," Couturier said after the first-round playoff exit to the Penguins. "More by example, I should say. I'm not really the guy who's going to yell or talk often. I try to lead by example. Maybe show the new guys, I should say young guys, how the game should be played."

More on the Flyers

Former Flyers GM Ron Hextall finds new job with Los Angeles Kings

Former Flyers GM Ron Hextall finds new job with Los Angeles Kings

Former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has found a new job in the NHL. 

Hextall has been hired as a part-time advisor to hockey operations for the Los Angeles Kings, the team announced Wednesday.

Fired by the Flyers in November after a poor start to the 2018-19 season, Hextall, a former goalie who played 489 games with the Flyers, served as general manager for four-plus seasons.

At the time, then-president Paul Holmgren said, "it has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team."

The Flyers did not win a playoff series under Hextall, going 165-128-58 and losing twice in the first round.

The team relieved head coach Dave Hakstol of his duties in December. Chuck Fletcher took over Hextall's position, and he hired Alain Vigneault in April as head coach.

Hextall said in November he was "proud" of the groundwork he built as general manager, and that he believes the team is "poised to do something great." 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Joel Farabee climbing, Samuel Morin's complex case, more in Flyers stock watch

Joel Farabee climbing, Samuel Morin's complex case, more in Flyers stock watch

The Flyers are two games into their seven-game exhibition slate.

The competition for jobs will only heat up with three games in the next five days.

"We've got some decisions to make," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said last weekend. "That's what you want in camp. You need surprises, we need some of these young kids to step up and force us into some decisions. That's how your team gets better and we're going to give them an opportunity to do that."

Who's trending up? Who's trending down? Let's take a look at the stock of those players who could impact the staff's decisions:

Stock up

Joel Farabee

From rookie camp to now, the heralded prospect has done everything to fuel his roster case. He's exhibited skill, smarts and, most importantly, his effort. Farabee has put the whole package on display and the 19-year-old winger has been impossible to not notice.

In the preseason opener Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center, Farabee showed impressive burst to create some quality scoring chances during a game that featured a lot of rust from both sides.

"Farabee, I think everyone can see the skill set," Vigneault said afterward. "I didn't think he was as good tonight as what I've seen, but some of that had to do with the opposition. I like that kid. I like his skill level. I like that he can play in tight. I think we've got a good young player there."

Farabee's stock is rising, too, because it appears he'll get a game with the big guns Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, two players he excelled with during the opening days of camp.

German Rubtsov

Rubtsov's steady and cerebral game has impressed the coaching staff and front office. The 21-year-old center's defensive strengths were well-documented entering camp, but he's beginning to grow into his offensive upside.

The 2016 first-round pick scored two goals in the rookie game and was recognizable in both of the preseason games.

If he's not winning a bottom-six job now, he's showing he can be relied upon as one of the first call-up options throughout the season.

Stock down

Samuel Morin

Morin's camp is an interesting case study. It's tough to make out how he's done. He hasn't necessarily hurt himself, but he's a 2013 draft pick and the Flyers' current regime really likes mobile defensemen that skillfully push the puck up ice and jump into the play.

Morin is a 6-foot-6, stay-at-home kind of blueliner. My gut just tells me the Flyers are much higher on guys like Philippe Myers, Egor Zamula and maybe even Mark Friedman.

We'll have to see if the Flyers carry eight defensemen. Right now, Morin is probably their eighth and he would have to clear waivers to go to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Isaac Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe is an exciting prospect with a 6-foot-6 frame that can belie his superb skill.

His strengths were accentuated in junior hockey but they'll take some time to translate at the pro level. He's had difficulty standing out because there's much less time and space with the puck in the NHL.

The 20-year-old goal-scoring winger works hard and will learn how to better utilize his size to produce offensively at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley in 2019-20.

"My main focus is trying to get rid of those junior habits," Ratcliffe said Monday. "Some of those pull and drag moves at the blue line while coming into the zone — a big part of the game, trying to push the pace coming up, you're playing against the best defenders in the world here. Even in some of the practices here, I can still feel it trying to creep back into my game. I'm trying to focus on using my size a little bit more and try to dominate using my reach and strength getting around defensemen rather than try to maneuver the puck around them."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers