Making an All-Time Flyers Lineup

Throughout their 50+ years of existence, the Flyers have iced some pretty considerable talents, some of which have been worthy enough to make the NHL hall of fame. Since it is still the middle of the offseason, and hockey news is generally slow, I have decided to have a little fun and devise a theoretical team made up of the greatest Flyers to ever lace up the skates.

The only requirement for being eligible is having played a game for the Flyers. However, when mentioning a player, their time as a FLYER can only be considered. For example, Jeremy Roenick played for the flyers in the early 2000’s, but by that point was older and considerably worse, and therefore in my opinion would not make the team.

Are you ready?

I am. Let’s go!

Forwards:

Line 1:

LW – Claude Giroux
C – Eric Lindros (A)
RW – Bill Barber

What better way to make use of the famed playmaking of Giroux and Lindros than with the franchise leading scoring prowess of Bill Barber. This line would definitely be able to establish the same kind of dominant cycle that Lindros had with Leclair and Renberg, and Barber would almost certainly end up with more than a single 50 goal season. I have perhaps controversially left Bobby Clarke off of the top line, but I will explain later why I have done so. I also think that Claude Giroux is the most talented player the Flyers have ever had in terms of raw skill with the puck on his stick, so he was a no brainer to make the list, and to me, an obvious first line choice.

Line 2:

LW – John Leclair
C – Bobby Clarke (C)
RW – Brian Propp

There are two reasons why Clarke is on the second line and not the first:

  1. I think in terms of raw skill, Lindros and Giroux are/were far better than Clarke
  2. Clarke would get called for so many useless penalties in today’s NHL that he would drag the first line down.

Leclair should score most of the goals on this line, and I think he has one of the best slapshots the organization has ever seen. Propp also gets placed on this line due to his skill and clutch nature. Propp is probably the most memorable player from the 80’s who isn’t named Hextall or Howe.

Line 3:

LW – Simon Gagne
C – Rick Macleish
RW – Jake Voracek

I don’t think a lot of long time Flyers’ fans will agree with me putting either Gagne or Voracek this high on the list, but I think they deserve it. Voracek, love him or hate him, is one of the most skilled players the Flyers have ever had, and he has consistently been an excellent play-driver with the team (consistent >50% corsi for) and is one of the best in the league at controlled zone entry generation. I may be a bit biased for selecting Gagne, but he is one of my favorite Flyers ever. He scored big goals when the team needed them (ala 2010 playoffs against the Boston Bruins and 2004 playoffs against Tampa Bay). Gagne, along with Barber and Leclair, is one of the best natural goal scorers to ever play with the team. He deservedly makes this list.

Line 4 –

LW – Danny Briere
C – Tim Kerr
RW – Reggie Leach

Kerr could score and fight and had the heart of a lion, which forever embedded him in Flyer fans’ hearts, and the only reason he is on line 4 is simply due to personal opinion. It is a shame Kerr never got to play a full career. Similarly, Reggie Leach is forever associated with the “LCB” line of Leach-Clarke-Barber, who helped win the Flyers’ second Stanley Cup in 1974-75. And how could you leave “Mr.Playoffs” off of an all time great list? Danny Briere may not have the numbers to back it up, but he was absolutely key to the 2000’s Flyers.

Defence:

LD – Mark Howe
RD – Chris Pronger

Pronger might not have been here long, but he was so dominant, practically dragging the 2010 Flyers into the playoffs all the way to a cup final. Deserving of a nod on the first pair. Mark Howe is also deserving of such an honor. As a defenceman, he is 9th all time in assists for the club. That’s unreal.

LD – Eric Desjardins (A)
RD – Shayne Gostisbehere

Shayne Gostisbehere is the best offensive defenceman the Flyers have ever had in terms of skill. Period. I’ve watched highlights of Dan McGillis and Mark Howe, but I think that Ghost is just the most skilled, and that time will show via his numbers.

LD – Joe Watson
RD – Kimmo Timonen

Both players were excellent 2-way defenseman, and were key in their roles for the team. I personally have great memories of Kimmo Timonen skating for the Flyers in an afternoon game, then showing up at my house hours later because his son and my younger brother were friends! I was thrilled when Kimmo finally won the cup with Chicago.

G – Bernie Parent

Need I say more?

Notable Absences –

Jeremy Roenick

As noted in the introduction

Peter Forsberg

He only played a season and a half here and was hurt all the time. Great for the Avalanche and a deserved champion, but not for this team.

Paul Coffey

Played in Philadelphia for 2 years in his mid 30’s and looked slow and old because he was slow and old

Jaromir Jagr

You’re a legend Jaromir, but you only played one season here (which was our fault for waiting too long) and are not justifiable for the list. Plus you used to be a Penguin.

Mark Recchi
Simply put, he won everywhere but Philly.

Andrew MacDonald

He may be a legend for anchoring Provorov and making him play better, but he’ll go on the “worst of all time” list.

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