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Penguins Hire Hextall’s Son, Four More in Scouting Department

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Hextall, Brett Hextall
TheAHL, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a few hockey operations hires on Monday, including a last name you already know. The team picked up Will Acton and Kerry Huffman as professional scouts, Alexander Khavanov as a European amateur scout, Matt Mangene as an amateur free agent scout, and Brett Hextall as the Penguins integrated development coach.

Three of the new hires have direct or previous ties to Penguins GM Ron Hextall.

Brett Hextall, 33, is Ron Hextall’s son. He played four seasons of professional hockey in the AHL, including three for the Arizona Coyotes affiliate, the Portland Pirates. He played his final season for the Philadelphia Flyers minor league affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, in 2014.

Hextall retired following that season in Lehigh. He was most the development coach for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2017-20 and will work with players at the AHL level and other prospects in the Penguins’ system. The younger Hextall will report to director of player development Scott Young.

Acton, 33, just wrapped a nine-year professional career split between the NHL, AHL, and Germany’s top professional league. Acton also has ties to Ron Hextall. His father, Keith Acton, was a long-time Philadelphia Flyer pest and teammate of Hextall.

The Edina, MN native scored five points (3-2-5) in 33 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers. He played the last five years in Germany from 2015-20. Acton will scout players in the NHL and AHL and report to director of professional scouting Ryan Bowness.

Huffman, 53, served as an assistant coach for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms over the past five seasons (2016-21). The former defenseman played 401 NHL games over 10-years from 1987-96. He recorded 145 points (37-108-145) with Philadelphia, Quebec, and Ottawa. Huffman was Ron Hextall’s teammate in Philadelphia from 1987-92 and ‘96 and in Quebec in ‘92-93.

As a pro scout, Huffman will scout players in the NHL and AHL and report to Bowness.

The rest from the Pittsburgh Penguins press release:

The Penguins have added Khavanov, 49, to their European amateur scouting staff. A native of Moskva, Russia, Khavanov played 15 years of professional hockey in the NHL and Russia. The 49-year old former defenseman played with the St. Louis Blues (2000-04) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2005-06) and recorded 102 points (27G-75A) in 348 career NHL games. Khavanov will scout draft-eligible prospects as well as free agents in Russia. He will report to director of player personnel Chris Pryor.

Mangene, 32, joins the Penguins’ amateur scouting staff after a nine-year professional playing career. The Manorville, NY native played eight seasons split between the AHL and ECHL from 2012-20 and ended his playing career in Austria in 2020-21 with Villacher SV of the ICEHL. Mangene will scout draft-eligible players in North America and will also report to Pryor.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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