With an organization that is rich in history like the Flyers. It’s very hard to pick the greatest players that ever laced their skates up for them. However, that’s what we’re aiming to do for the next two weeks, with continuing pieces of the top 20 players to play for the classy, orange and black organization. This week’s piece focuses on numbers 15-11. With that being said, “Good night, Good Hockey,” but first let’s see the rankings for gosh sakes.
15- Kimmo Timonen
Timonen was traded to the Flyers, along with Scott Hartnell on June 18, 2007. The 32 year-old at the time in Timonen agreed to a six-year deal shortly there after. He became the highest paid Finn agreeing to a $37.8 million contract extension. Timonen instantly became a number one, puck moving Defenseman for the orange and black.
The great Finn that Timonen was. He quickly established himself as a reliable Defenseman for the orange and black. Timonen was a fan favorite, and a great character guy in the locker room, while grooming some of the younger players. He shut down his opponents, blocked shots, could pot a big goal when needed. Simply put, Timonen did a little bit of everything, but he excelled at challenges.
Timonen was hit by a wrist shot on his foot by Montreal Canadiens Defenseman Andrei Markov during game 4 of the 2008 playoffs. He had his foot examined at the University of Pennsylvania, and the doctor found a small blood clot in his foot. Timonen was sidelined indefinitely, and missed the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, being the warrior that Timonen was he managed to return for Game 5, but the Flyers lost thus ending their season.
This excellent Defenseman in Timonen, eventually retired from the NHL following the 2014-15 season. A season that ended with him suffering from blood clots to his lungs, and his right leg. However, Timonen did manage to hoist the Stanley Cup in his final season as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, as the Hawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning for the title. For his career, Timonen was a five time All-Star (Played only in 4 due to injury), a five time Barry Ashbee Award Winner (Award given to the Flyers Best Defenseman), a Stanley Cup Champion in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks, and he scored his 100th career goal on March 5, 2011, against the Buffalo Sabres.
He was the Flyers third most productive Defenseman in history, by tallying 270 points in 519 games played. Timonen will forever be considered as one of the classiest, best Defenseman in Flyers history.
14- Mark Recchi
On February 19, 1992, Brian Benning, Recchi and a first round pick were traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Flyers for Rick Tocchet, Ken Wregget, and Kjell Samuelsson. Recchi played for the orange and black from 1992 to 1995, and he instantly became a fan favorite. He had a great pair of hands, to go along with a nice shot.
Recchi was part of the “Crazy Eights” line with Eric Lindros and Brent Fedyk. The young Recchi tallied 53 goals, and 70-assists for a total of 123 points in 1992-93, a record that still stands as a Flyers record for most points in a single season. In 1995, the Flyers traded Recchi to the Montreal Canadiens for Eric Desjardins, Gilbert Dionne, and John Leclair. However, the Flyers managed to reacquire Recchi during the 1998-99 season, and he was amongst the team leaders in points once again. For the duration of the season he tallied 4 goals, and 2 assists for a total of 6 points in 10 games played for the orange and black.
Concluding the 1999-00 season, Recchi was a finalist for the Lester B. Pearson Award as voted by the NHLPA (Most Outstanding-Player), and he finished third in scoring with a total of 91 points. For his Flyers career, Recchi potted 232 goals, and 395 assists for a total of 627 points in 602 games played. Recchi is currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and an induction to the Flyers Hall of Fame should be around the corner.
13- Rick Tocchet
After Tocchet was drafted by the Flyers in the 6th round of the 1983 NHL Draft. Tocchet returned to the Saulte. Ste. Marie Greyhounds for another year of junior hockey. He finally got his shot with the Flyers during the 1984-85 season. Tocchet tallied 39 points for the season, and helped the team to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers. He was mainly known to most Flyers fans as a fighter early in his career. However, Tocchet developed the skills to become a pretty solid Forward, a team leader, and a four-time NHL All-Star.
All good things seemed to come to an end in 1992, when Tocchet was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, along with Kjell Samuelsson, and Ken Wregget. He managed to help the Penguins win the Stanley Cup that same season.
Tocchet returned to the Flyers in 2000, and quickly became a force to be reckoned with, once again for the orange and black. He managed to play in 16 games for the Flyers tallying 3 goals, and 3 assists. He eventually retired while donning a Flyers sweater in 2002. The beast in Tocchet tallied 232 goals, and 276 assists as a Flyer for a total of 508 points in 621 games played. He is also the Flyers all-time leader for penalty minutes with 1,817. Tocchet’s love for the game lived on following his Flyers days, and he is currently the Head Coach of the Arizona Coyotes.
12- John LeClair
On February 9, 1995, one of the best trades in Flyers history occurred. LeClair, Eric Desjardins, and Gilbert Dionne were traded to the Flyers in exchange for Mark Recchi, and a 3rd round pick in 1995. Low and behold, LeClair found immediate success with linemate Eric Lindros, and the tandem became one of the most feared lines in the NHL.
LeClair played Left Wing on the “Legion of Doom” line, centered by Lindros, with Mikael Renberg on the Right Wing. The trio was dominant in all facets of the game. Moreover, they were a physical presence that could hit with the best of them that the league had to offer. LeClair became the first American born NHL player to record three consecutive 50 goal seasons in 1998, and became the second Flyer to do so (Tim Kerr).
The great play maker in LeClair played in 10 seasons for the orange and black, and he will go down as one of the most productive players in franchise history. While donning a Flyers sweater, LeClair scored 333 goals, and tallied 310 assists for a total of 643 points in 649 games played. LeClair’s 333 career goals as a Flyer currently ranks him 5th in franchise history, and for his efforts he was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on November 20, 2014. A career that is worthy to be inducted into the hockey Hall of Fame.
11- Eric Desjardins
Desjardins was traded to the Flyers along with John LeClair and Gilbert Dionne in exchange for Mark Recchi, and a 3rd round pick (1995), on February 9, 1995. The Flyers needed some immediate help on Defense, and Desjardins provided just that as he won a total of seven Barry Ashbee Trophies (Award given to the Flyers best Defensemen). He was great at scoring a clutch goal, shutting down his opponents, and blocking shots. Desjardins was the glue on the Flyers blueline for many years.
“Rico,” played the remainder of his career with the Flyers after being traded from the Canadiens. He played in three NHL All-Star games, and Desjardins’s 396 points ranks him second among Flyers Defensemen (Mark Howe 480). The Flyers didn’t offer Desjardins a contract following the 2005-06 season, and he opted to retire as a Flyer on August 10, 2006.
On January 11, 2007, the Flyers honored Desjardins (on Eric Desjardins Night), a night which featured a ceremony highlighting his Flyers career. Desjardins was presented gifts and tokens of appreciation from both the Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens. Moreover, Desjardins was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on February 19, 2015. He will be forever one of the greatest Flyers to don a number 37 sweater.
As each year passes it gets harder and harder to select the greatest players to lace their skates up for the orange and black. This organization is top notch, and rich in history. Next week’s piece will feature greats 10-6. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports