This season is the Flyers golden season, 50 years in the National Hockey League. The organization has seen some really talented players and also some I’d really like to forget. I thought it’d be fun to make my own ultimate roster.
Your lineup game day usually consists of two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards. For the sake of the article, I’m going to add one player for each position. Stats are during their tenure with the Flyers, not career (though in some cases they’re the same). Here we go:
Hands down, the easiest position to pick. Aside from already noting the Flyers troubles at signing/producing talent in-between the pipes, they’ve had three goalies in their history that have stood head and shoulders above the rest.
486 GP, 2.42 GAA, 232 wins
Bernie, still a fan-favorite. Hall-of-Famer, used to hold the record for most wins in a single season (47), two Vezina trophies and second all-time on the Flyers win list. Easy choice.
489 GP, 2.91 GAA, .895 SV%, 240 wins, 476 PIM
Another fan-favorite, mostly due to, not only his skill, but his complete Philly “fuck you” attitude towards opponents. First goalie in NHL history to shoot the puck into the other team’s net. Don’t look at the GAA and SV% and wince—there were more goals when he played and Hexy also played consistently against Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr slightly later.
157 GP, 3.30 GAA, .886 SV%, 87 wins
What could have been. Lindbergh won the Vezina the season before his fatal car accident. He was an up-and-comer and would have done tremendously if not for the accident.
270 GP, 15 goals, 67 assists, 82 points, +55
Career cut short by injury, life cut short by leukemia, Ashbee didn’t play long for the Flyers but he left a lasting memory. His number 4 hangs in the rafters and the Flyers annual award for Best Defenseman bears his name. He’s an easy choice.
738 GP, 93 goals, 303 assists, 396 points, +143
A rock on the Flyers defense for much of my childhood. He didn’t “wow” with his numbers, but the man was one hell of a defenseman and leader.
594 GP,138 goals, 342 assists, 480 points, +349
Arguably the best defenseman ever to wear the orange and black. Ninth on the team’s all-time assist list. It’s a real shame he never won a Cup, but he was a huge reason why the Flyers played the Oilers twice in the finals. He finished the 1985-86 campaign at an insane +85 and finished as the runner-up in Norris voting three times.
367 GP, 35 goals, 152 assists, 187 points, +223
Longevity doesn’t mean anything. McCrimmon played on six teams, five years were spent in Philly. He was Howe’s defensive partner, though, and they were great together. Finished a +83 in ’85-86.
519 GP, 38 goals, 232 assists, 270 points, +44
Not enough time or space to say good things about Kimmo. Acquired after the worst Flyers season in recent memory, Timonen became “the guy” on the blueline. A tremendous defenseman in so many respects and also a great leader.
613 GP, 38 goals, 148 assists, 186 points, +295
He and his brother come in the top ten of +/- in team history, Jimmy a little higher at number 5. He and Joe were crucial to the Flyers Cup wins in the 70s.
746 GP, 36 goals, 162 assists, 198 points, +191
See Jimmy. No. 10 in team’s +/- all-time.
903 GP, 420 goals, 463 assists, 883 points, +326
All-time leader in goals for the franchise. In 12 seasons, Barber only scored 50 goals once, but notched 40 five times and only failed to score at least 30 in three seasons. Pair him with Clarke, he’s going to shine.
633 GP, 235 goals, 366 assists, 601 points, -2
Rod Brind’Amour was the number two center under Eric Lindros. He had great offensive talents but was also a strong defensive forward. He got Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) consideration while with the Flyers, but actually won the award during his time in Carolina. My lineup may consist of quite a few centers, but that’s because they all, like Brind’Amour, deserve it.
1144 GP, 358 goals, 852 assists, 1210 points, +506
There’s a reason number 16 hangs in the rafters. Through 50 years of Flyers hockey, no player has meant more to the franchise than Bobby Clarke. He started with the team just several years after they came into the league and is still the franchise leader in assists, points, plus-minus and shorthanded goals.
691 GP, 264 goals, 271 assists, 535 points, +140
I could be making this up, but I distinctly remember playing one of the NHL games where Bill Clement in his commentary says “Peter Forsberg once told me ‘Simon Gagne is the most natural goal-scorer I ever played with.’” Gagne flourished with Forsberg, notching 47 goals in 2005-06. He had great speed and a natural scoring touch and who can ever forget him scoring the game-winner in Game 7 against Boston during the Flyers 2010 Cup run?
620 GP, 176 goals, 379 assists, +1
Honestly, one of my last picks for the ultimate team. Giroux is the catalyst for the Flyers. When he’s hot, they’re hot and he has an unbelievable passing ability. He’s only 29 and already fifth all-time in assists and tenth in points.
601 GP, 363 goals, 287 assists, 650 points, +90
Tim Kerr was one hell of a winger and one hell of a scorer. He finished four straight years with 50+ goals and still has the NHL record for power play goals in a season (34). Formidable when even strength, but throw him out there with a man-advantage, expect even bigger things.
649 GP, 333 goals, 310 assists, 643 points, +197
LeClair was the epitome of a goal scorer during his time with the Flyers. His goal totals took a sharp decline once Lindros left, but LeClair owned a great slapshot and was great around the net. He had three straight 50-goal seasons and was a force on the power play.
486 GP, 290 goals, 369, 659 points, +188
Oh, what could have been. Lindros was highly touted as the next big thing when he was drafted, and early on, he delivered. In the lockout-shortened season of 1994-95, he scored 29 goals and 41 assists for 70 points in 46 games, earning the Hart Trophy, the only Flyers player in history to win it. Size, strength and talent, Lindros had it all until injuries derailed his career. Regardless of what happened between him and the front office, Lindros was a stellar player.
741 GP, 328 goals, 369 assists, 697 points, +181
Another crucial piece to the Flyers Cup runs in the mid-70s. MacLeish scored 12 regular season hat tricks, the most after another man on the list, Tim Kerr. During the Flyers two Cup wins, MacLeish led the team in goals and points during the playoffs. And, oh yeah, he was the one that scored in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to give the Flyers their first Cup win.
467 GP, 161 goals, 233 assists, 394 assists, +168
Another workhorse for the Flyers, he won the Selke Trophy in 1986-87 and was the heart of the team during that time period. His numbers fall to a little under a point per game, but the defensive play and leadership earn him a spot.
790 GP, 369 goals, 480 assists, 849 points, +311
Brian Propp ranks third on the all-time list in points, trailing only two guys hanging in the rafters (Clarke and Barber) and is second in team history in playoff scoring. Propp was a great player, helping lead the Flyers to multiple Cup Finals in the 80s.
602 GP, 232 goals, 395 assists, 627 points, +43
Recchi spent three stints with the Flyers. He scored 123 points (53g, 70a) in 1992-93 and did it all on the ice. In his overall career, Recchi totaled over 500 goals and 1500 points.
621 GP, 232 goals, 276 assists, 508 points, +57
Rick Tocchet was a great mix of skill and grit during the 1980s. Tocchet wasn’t afraid of anyone, willing to throw down and win most of his bouts. He still leads the Flyers in all-time penalty minutes with 1,817. Even in today’s league, you need someone tough on your team. Tocchet, with his skill set included, is a perfect choice for this team.
The only coach to ever lead his team to Stanley Cup wins and also the coach behind the defeat of the Red Army.
Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan
Giroux, Ashbee, Lindbergh
So there you have it. There are some talented players left off the list, namely Reggie Leach, Pelle Eklund and Keith Primeau, but ultimately, this team is it. This team encompasses the history of the team and also are the ultimate Flyers.