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Ron Hextall discusses D pairings, Lecavalier, Coburn rumors, our horniness

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Ron Hextall talked with Elliotte Friedman about a bunch of different topics. Here are some thoughts on what he had to say.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Elliotte Friedman had another great "Thoughts" column over at CBC on Monday, where he discussed the Flyers a bit, including a conversation with general manager Ron Hextall.

Here's the pertinent bit of the column, with some thoughts about what Friedman and Hextall had to say.

41. Now that Ron Hextall is in charge, what ideas come from Los Angeles to Philadelphia with him? "I liked how the defence pairs were put together," he said, remembering the Doughty/Scuderi, Mitchell/Voynov, Greene/Martinez duos that won a Stanley Cup. One sleeker model, one conservative. "Off the glass and out is the last resort," Hextall said.

This isn't a new concept. We've heard in the past that the Flyers like to mix and match their defensive pairings, putting guys like Braydon Coburn with Nicklas Grossmann -- one physical guy, one mobile guy.

The clear difference, of course, is that the Kings actually have the personnel to put together three strong defensive pairings that complement each other well. The Flyers? Well there's something to which they can aspire, I guess.

42. As a follow-up to that, when asked what he wants to see different about his team's play next season, Hextall replied, "How we enter the offensive zone." There are some Flyers bloggers who are really horny about that stuff, and I'm pretty sure he's aware of it.

Yeah.

43. Hextall also likes "pairs" up front, where two guys get used to playing with each other and a third can be rotated through. He believes Claude Giroux/Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier/Matt Read have that chemistry, while Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds are getting there.

This makes a lot of sense, but it personally bums me out for one reason: I was hoping to see Matt Read get more of an opportunity offensively this coming season, especially with Scott Hartnell now traded.

We've talked about how Read is the Flyers' Swiss Army knife and that he can do pretty much anything, and how he's excelled in any position the team's put him. I was personally hoping to see Read get a look on the top line this coming season, and I think he'd be the best bet among the Flyers current personnel to play alongside Giroux and Voracek on the top line.

But if Hextall believes that he's such a perfect pair with Sean Couturier -- and I mean, that's totally true; they're great together -- that seems to limit the chance that Read gets more of an offensive crack. Or, frankly, for that matter, whether or not Couturier is ever able to get more of a chance as an offensive-first player, not a defense-first guy. Ultimately a good problem to have, though.

44. Hextall on Vincent Lecavalier: "People forget he scored 20 goals last year."

Yes, this is true. Yes, Hextall is probably just talking up a player that he wants to get rid of.

But we know the reality here: Lecavalier is largely a power play specialist at this stage of his career. He scored eight of those 20 goals on the power play, and his shooting percentage was an unsustainably high 15.2 percent last season. He hasn't had a shooting percentage that high since 2006-07, and there's no reason to expect it to be that high again next season. That means fewer goals.

Also, we know that Lecavalier is a drag at even strength, as evidenced by any number of things: his paltry ~12 minutes per game played at evens, his demotion to the fourth line, and the fact that he made everybody he played with at even strength worse. Especially regular linemates Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

Lecavalier had perhaps the least impressive 20 goal season I've seen in a very long time.

45. If there's a Philly player you tend to hear about in rumours, it's Braydon Coburn. Asked about that, Hextall said: "He's a big man who can skate. Not surprised people ask about him." Other teams say that's not a move Philly wants to make and will exhaust other options before considering it.

Lots of people dislike Braydon Coburn. To a certain extent, he suffers from Matt Carle Syndrome in this town: He plays a lot, he logs tough minutes, and he possesses the puck often, which means he's going to have a soft turnover every once in a while. Those mistakes then stand out, and we overlook the fact that 99 percent of the time, he's a really good defenseman -- one of the best the Flyers have.

Luckily, it seems like Hextall and Craig Berube and the Flyers powers that be recognize that. I mean, after all, people around the league want him on their team. It's the same thing with a guy like Sean Couturier. It's just silly to easily give up a guy that other teams covet so badly, because they covet him for a reason.

We discussed back in January just how good Coburn was this past season, and I'm happy that the Flyers do not want to trade him.