Ranking the top 20 greatest Flyers of all time: 20-16

USATSI_8948179_168382939_lowres

With a franchise that is rich in history like the Flyers. It’s always tough to say who are the greatest players to ever play for them. From Gene Hart’s call in 1973-74 Stanley Cup Finals at the end of game 6, “Ladies and gentleman, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup.” To his signature goal call, “He shoots, he scores, for a case of tastycake.” Lauren Hart’s rendition of “God Bless America,” with the iconic Kate Smith, always gets the crowd going. Flyers hockey is alive and well, and we shall commemorate the 20 best players to ever lace up their skates for them in a four-part series.

 

20- Simon Gagne
Gagne was drafted (22nd Overall) by the Flyers in the 1998 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut at the Center position during the 1999-2000 season. This young high flying, dazzling play maker tallied 20 goals and 28 assists for a total of 48 points in 80 games played. Moreover, Gagne tallied 5 goals, and 5 assists in 17 games during the playoffs. For his efforts, Gagne was selected to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

This young up and coming product in Gagne began the 2000-2001 season playing at the position of Wing. While playing on a line with Mark Recchi, and Keith Primeau. Gagne chipped in 27 goals, and 32 assists for a total of 59 points in 69 games played. He will always be known for his great skating abilities and beautiful hands, but Gagne was good in crunch time.

Gagne was clutch with scoring big playoff goals. For instance, during the 2003-04 playoffs, Gagne tallied the game winning goal in overtime of game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Moreover, during the 2010 playoffs Gagne tallied the game winning goal in-game 4 against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers went on to become the third team in playoff history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win. Gagne ended an illustrious career by potting 37 goals, and registered 22 assists in 109 career playoff games played.

 

19- Pelle Lindbergh
After being drafted by the Flyers in the Second Round (35th Overall) of the 1979 NHL Draft. Lindbergh started playing for the Flyers during the 1981-82 season. For the season, he compiled a record of 2-4-2, with a 4.39 GAA, and a .879 Save Percentage.

In 1983, Lindbergh was named goalie of the NHL All Rookie Team after a fantastic Rookie Regular Season. For the season, he registered a 23-13-3 record, 2.99 GAA, and a .890 Save Percentage. Moreover, he led the NHL with 40 victories during the 1984-85 season, and without the great Lindbergh the Flyers may not of made the Stanley Cup Finals (Edmonton won 4 games to 1). Lindbergh would eventually win the Vezina Trophy, and he became the first European goaltender to do so in NHL history. Lindbergh was also named as a First Team All-Star for the 1984-85 season.

This young, flashy Goaltender in Lindbergh became the first goalie to bring a water bottle on ice with him during NHL games, as he suffered from severe dehydration. This practice first drew criticism from opponents and coaches alike. Unfortunately, Lindbergh died at age 26 in a single car accident, five months after leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals.

On Sunday, November 10, 1985, Lindbergh lost control of his Porsche, and he struck a wall in Somerdale, NJ. It was a sad day for this proud organization as Lindbergh was not only great on the ice, but a great guy in general. Although, Lindbergh isn’t officially retired by the Flyers, no one has worn his #31 since.

 

18- Tom Bladon
Bladon was drafted 23rd overall by the Flyers in 1972. On December 11, 1977, Bladon scored four goals and chipped in four assists, becoming the first Defenseman, and only the fourth person in NHL history to record eight points in a single game. Bladon was also a +10 in that game, which is also an NHL record.

Talk about a blast from the point…well that’s exactly what Bladon possessed. Bladon’s heavy slapshot from the point will always be remembered by the Flyers championship teams in the 1970’s. He hit the net with accuracy, and many times the puck would find twine. For his career, Bladon tallied 73 goals, and 197 assists for a total of 270 points in 610 games played.

 

Get ready for the new NHL season with cheap, OFFICIAL Flyers gear from Fanatics right here! 

 

17- Rod Brind’Amour
Brind’Amour was part of the more solid trades in Flyers history. He was traded to the orange and black in exchange for Murray Baron and Ron Sutter in 1991. Brind’Amour was a gritty, solid two-way player. He instantly became a fan favorite, as Brind’Amour spent his years in Philadelphia as an Assistant Captain to Captains Kevin Dineen and Eric Lindros. Playing with two greats in Dineen and Lindros. Brind’Amour became one of the best shutdown Centers in the NHL. He won two Selke Trophies (Given to the best Defensive Forward) in 2006 and 2007.

When the Flyers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 1997 playoffs. Brind’Amour scored two short-handed goals during a single power play. Let me say it again…one power play. With the guidance of Brind’Amour. The Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, to which they eventually lost to the Detroit Red Wings.

During his tenure with the Flyers, Brind’Amour was considered one of the League’s “Ironmen.” He played in 484 consecutive games, which still stands as a Flyers franchise record today. For his career as a Flyer, Brind’Amour is 7th all time in assists with 366, 10th all time in goals with 235, and 9th overall in points with 601. Brind’Amour was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on November 23, 2015 in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, to which he was eventually named Head Coach of the Hurricanes on May 8, 2018.

 

16- Reggie Leach
Leach was traded to the Flyers for Larry Wright, Al MacAdam, and a 1974 first rounder on May 24, 1974. He became part of the greatest lines in Flyers history, forming the LCB line (Leach, Clarke, Barber). Moreover, the LCB line set an NHL record by recording 141 goals by a single line in one season. Simply put, this line was unstoppable.

The prolific scorer in Leach had his best season in 1975-76. He set career highs in goals (61), points (91), and was a plus 73. Leach’s 61 goals earned him the goal-scoring title for the season, as well as, the current Flyers franchise record for most goals in a season.

Leach was the only skater (non-goaltender), to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of Playoffs) as a member of the losing team in 1976. The Flyers were defeated by the Montreal Canadiens, but he won the trophy after setting a record for most goals in a single playoff season with 19. However, this record has since been tied by Edmonton’s Jari Kurri in 1985.

This fantastic playmaker in Leach played in 934 NHL games, while scoring 381 goals, and 285 assists for a total of 666 points. Leach was also part of the orange and black’s 35-game unbeaten streak in 1980, as well as, the Flyers home game unbeaten streak of 22 games in the same year.

With so many greats that laced their skates up for this classy organization. It’s very hard picking the best. Next week’s piece will feature Flyers greats…15-11. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.

 

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites