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Flyers' Hextall committed to future, patience

by Mike G. Morreale

Don't expect Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall to sacrifice future assets in an attempt to enhance his chances for present-day success.

The Flyers, in the midst of their best point streak (5-0-2, 12 points) of the season, trail the Boston Bruins by eight points for the second wild-card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with 28 games remaining in the regular season. The Flyers have road games Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The NHL Trade Deadline is March 2.

"Being X number of points out of a playoff spot won't necessarily [dictate what we will do at the deadline]," Hextall said on a conference call Thursday. "That's going to be part of the equation. The other part will be what type of price people will pay. There's a lot of things that go into the decision-making, so as we close in [on the deadline] we'll gauge where we're at and the prices, and we'll make decisions."

Despite the recent success, many pundits feel Hextall will be a seller at the deadline. From the time he was named GM of the Flyers in May 2014, Hextall has preached the importance of building through the NHL Draft.

Philadelphia has many veteran defensemen on the roster who might benefit a playoff contender, including Braydon Coburn (29 years old), Mark Streit (36), Nick Schultz (32) and Nicklas Grossmann (30).

"If the right deal comes along for now and the future we'll make it," Hextall said. "If it doesn't, we won't, so we'll do everything we can to get into the playoffs rather than selling off younger assets.

"We have a vision for the future so we're not going to do anything short term that's going to hurt us long term."

Hextall was asked that if a trade were made, would it have to include draft picks or prospects not playing in the NHL.

"I've told you guys, I'm not going to discuss particulars of trades and I'm not going to come off of that," he said. "We have a vision for the future but I'm not getting into the particulars."

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen, 39, is hoping to return to the lineup later this month after missing the entire season to this point because of blood clots. Hextall said the Flyers will not rush Timonen back into the lineup in order to showcase him prior to the deadline. Timonen, who is in his 16th season in the NHL, has never won a Stanley Cup.

"We're not going to put Kimmo at risk or move his time schedule up so teams can see him," Hextall said. "This is about what's best for Kimmo. We're not going to rush him for reasons that aren't prudent."

Hextall said Timonen will likely join the Flyers on Tuesday for a light morning skate.

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