Founded in 1967, the Philadelphia Flyers have been one of hockey’s most successful franchises over the last half-century. They have the third-highest all-time points percentage among NHL teams, trailing only the Montreal Canadiens and the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that has yet to play three full seasons.
This is the Flyers’ 52nd season. Unless the remainder of 2019-20 is cancelled, they will make the playoffs for the 40th time in franchise history, a playoff appearance rate of nearly 77%.
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The Flyers have also won two Stanley Cups and were the first expansion team to win the Cup. Clearly such a successful organization has had its fair share of goalscorers. Here are the Flyers’ top 20 all-time.
1. Bill Barber (420 goals)
One of 13 Flyers in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bill Barber is the leading goalscorer in franchise history. In his 12-year career from 1972-73 to 1983-84, he never scored less than 20 goals in a season. His best was 1975-76 when he scored 50 goals and 62 assists.
Barber was drafted by the Flyers and never played for another team. He helped lead the Flyers to their only two Cup victories. He was also a six-time All-Star and the runner-up for the Calder Trophy in his rookie year.
2. Brian Propp (369 goals)
Brian Propp was one of the greatest players to ever wear the orange, white and black. Though overshadowed in his day by players like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, and consequently denied a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Propp quietly amassed a 1,000-point career in Philly, Boston, Minnesota and Hartford.
He spent the first 11 years of his career with the Flyers, and notched four 40-goal seasons during this time. He was perhaps best known for developing his “Guffaw” goal celebration in the 1986-87 season. Propp certainly had no shortage of opportunities to let the Guffaw loose.
3. Tim Kerr (363 goals)
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1980 by the Flyers, Tim Kerr would go on to have the the best goals-per-game average in franchise history. He scored 363 goals in just 601 games with the Flyers, a goal-per-game rate of over 60%.
Kerr is also one of six members of the Flyers’ 50-goal club. He scored at least 50 goals in four consecutive seasons from 1983-84 to 1986-87. He reached the 50-goal mark more times than any other Flyer in franchise history. Though Kerr played the final 54 games of his career with the New York Rangers and the Hartford Whalers, he is best remembered as a Flyer.
4. Bobby Clarke (358 goals)
The only reason why Bobby Clarke is not on the top of this list is because he was too busy setting up goals for his teammates. Clarke is the franchise leader in assists, with 852; no other Flyer has cracked 600. He is also the franchise leader in points (1,210), plus/minus (507), and several other categories. Oh, and he wasn’t too bad of a goalscorer either. His highest goal output came in 1972-73 when he scored 37.
As a nine-time All-Star, three-time Hart Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup champ, Clarke was an easy inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. The former captain played the entirety of his 15-year career with the Flyers. He is not just the greatest player in franchise history; he is among the greatest in NHL history.
5. John LeClair (333 goals)
Though Montreal drafted John LeClair, they made the mistake of trading him to the Flyers during the 1994-95 season. He tallied at least 50 goals in each of his next three full seasons with the Flyers and represented Philly five times at the All-Star Game.
After joining the Flyers in 1995, LeClair helped end their five-year playoff drought. He then made sure they didn’t miss the playoffs again during his 10 years with the club. He played the final two seasons of his career in Pittsburgh.
6. Rick MacLeish (328 goals)
Rick MacLeish has to be one of the only players in NHL history to have 50 goals and 50 assists in a season and fail to make it to the All-Star Game. He may not have caught the attention of the selection committee that season, but he certainly caught the attention of opposing net-minders with his elite wrist shot.
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He is also responsible for some of the most legendary stories in Flyers history. One time, he threw a bat into the penalty box. Another time, when his throat was cut by a skate blade, he only realized he was in trouble when smoke came out of his neck. MacLeish played his first 11 seasons in Philadelphia before finishing his career in Pittsburgh, Hartford and Detroit. He briefly returned to the Flyers for a second stint in 1983-84, his final season in the NHL.
7. Reggie Leach (306 goals)
After playing in Boston and California, Reggie Leach came to Philadelphia in 1974. He quickly became a focal point of the offense, and carried the Flyers during the 1975-76 season. He scored a franchise-record 61 goals during the regular season. He then added another 19 in the playoffs, including four against Hall of Famer Ken Dryden in the Final.
The Flyers were swept by the Canadiens in that Final series, but Leach was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. He is still the only skater in NHL history to be awarded playoff MVP without also winning the Stanley Cup. Leach played his final season in Detroit in 1982-83.
8. Eric Lindros (290 goals)
If Eric Lindros had made his NHL debut in almost any other year, he probably would have won the Calder Trophy with his 41 goals and 34 assists. Unfortunately, he had tough competition and lost to a player named Teemu Selanne. Nonetheless, Lindros received no shortage of accolades during and following his illustrious 13-year career.
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Lindros was a seven-time All-Star and won the Hart Trophy in 1995. In 2016, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was included on the NHL’s ‘100 Greatest Players’ list. In 2018, he received the ultimate Flyers honor by having his jersey retired. After eight dominant seasons in Philadelphia, Lindros played his final five seasons in New York, Toronto and Dallas.
9. Simon Gagne (264 goals)
Simon Gagne was one of the best Flyers of the 2000s. Though hampered by injuries for a good percentage of his Flyers career, he pieced together several strong seasons in Philly. He even played in two All-Star Games. Gagne led the Flyers in goals in 2005-06, with 47 goals, and in 2006-07 with 41. At the time, it had been five years since a Flyer last scored 40 goals in a season.
After 10 injury-riddled seasons in Philadelphia, Gagne was traded to Tampa Bay in 2010. After that, he was frequently on the move, playing in Los Angeles, briefly returning to Philly and then concluding his career in Boston.
10. Claude Giroux (257 goals)
The Flyers’ active goal-scoring leader, Claude Giroux, will not be 10th on this list for much longer. After being drafted by the Flyers in 2006, he has been the franchise’s best and most consistent player for the past decade.
At 32 years old, he has the chance to make a large dent in the Flyers’ record books. He already ranks second in assists in franchise history, and by the time he is ready to hang up his skates, he might just find himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
11. Rod Brind’Amour (235 goals)
Though he played the majority of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he is now the head coach, Rod Brind’Amour played his best hockey in Philadelphia. As a Flyer, he had four 30-goal seasons. His best season was in 1993-94 when he scored 35 goals and tallied 62 assists. He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues and played two seasons there, before eight and a half seasons in Philly and nine and a half seasons in Carolina.
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Despite scoring nearly 1,200 points in his 20-year career, Brind’Amour has so far been snubbed by the Hall of Fame, (from ‘Will success as coach help Brind’Amour’s Hall case as player?’ News & Observer, 06/24/2019). Nonetheless, if he continues his success as a coach, he might find another way in.
12. Rick Tocchet (232 goals)
Another NHL head coach, and one-time teammate of Brind’Amour’s, Rick Tocchet began his playing career with seven and a half strong seasons in Philadelphia. He scored 122 goals over three seasons with the Flyers from 1988-89 to 1990-91.
Though he also played in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington and Phoenix he, fittingly, finished the last three years of his career in Philly. These days, Tocchet is coaching the Arizona Coyotes, a team for which he played three seasons.
12. Mark Recchi (232 goals)
The Flyers acquired Mark Recchi in a trade that sent Tocchet to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Interestingly, both players wound up scoring the same number of goals with the Flyers.
The Flyers then traded Recchi to the Canadiens for a trio of players including John LeClair. Recchi played well in Montreal, but LeClair played better in Philadelphia. In an attempt to get the better of the Canadiens again, the Flyers re-acquired Recchi four seasons later. Between all the trades, he pieced together a very strong 22-year career, which included a 53-goal campaign with the Flyers in 1992-93.
14. Wayne Simmonds (203 goals)
Though he is still active, Wayne Simmonds will not move up this list unless he gets a second stint in Philadelphia. He came to the Flyers in 2011 as a key part of the package that sent Mike Richards to the LA Kings. Always flirting with stardom, Simmonds played eight strong seasons in Philadelphia and two that eclipsed 30 goals.
The Flyers sent him to the Nashville Predators at the 2019 trade deadline. This season, he played for the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres. With all this moving around, a second stint in Philadelphia might just happen.
15. Gary Dornhoefer (202 goals)
Though Gary Dornhoefer was not the Flyers’ best selection in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft (that honor goes to Bernie Parent), he still became an effective goalscorer.
Dornhoefer was initially signed by the Boston Bruins but spent most of the first four years of his career in the minor leagues. The Flyers clearly saw something in him that the Bruins did not, and he had five 20-goal seasons in Philly as a member of both Stanley Cup teams. Dornhoefer would never play for another team.
16. Ilkka Sinisalo (199 goals)
Ilkka Sinisalo is the Flyers’ leading European goal scorer in franchise history, though Jakub Voracek will likely claim this honor soon. Sinisalo had several strong seasons in the 1980s, but his best was in 1985-86 when he had 39 goals and 37 assists.
He is also the eighth-highest Finnish goal scorer in NHL history and helped pave the way for future Finns to join the NHL. Despite finishing his playing career with the Minnesota North Stars and the Los Angeles Kings, Sinisalo later returned to the Flyers organization as a scout.
17. Jeff Carter (181 goals)
Jeff Carter was the Flyers’ top goal scorer from 2008-09 to 2010-11. In 2008-09, his 46 goals were second in the NHL only to Alexander Ovechkin’s 56. His 12 game-winning goals that season did lead the NHL. However, perhaps Carter’s best contribution to the franchise was the return they received on the deal that sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011.
The Flyers received Jakub Voracek, a first-round draft pick and a third-round pick. The first-round draft pick became Sean Couturier. Carter played only 39 games in Columbus before getting traded to the Kings, where he has since spent the bulk of his career.
18. Jakub Voracek (168 goals)
Jakub Voracek will soon pass his trade-mate on this list. Since becoming a Flyer in 2011, Voracek has blossomed into one of the team’s top offensive players.
He passes more than he shoots, and he has never had more goals than assists in a season. Still, he can be counted on for roughly 20 goals each season. Voracek is also a key part of the Flyers’ power play. In 2014-15, half of his 22 goals came with the man advantage.
19. Dave Poulin (161 goals)
With two goals in his NHL debut in 1983 and another 31 in his first full season, Dave Poulin quickly proved he was a gifted goalscorer. Perhaps even more impressive were his defensive abilities, as he was a perennial candidate for the Selke Trophy. He took home the award in 1987, becoming just the second Flyer to do so.
After seven and a half seasons in Philly, Poulin played the final five and a half years of his career in Boston and Washington.
20. Scott Hartnell (157 goals)
When he wasn’t in the penalty box, Scott Hartnell was probably leading the offensive attack. He played the best seasons of his 17-year career in Philadelphia, where he was a two-time, 30-goal scorer, and notched at least 30 assists four times.
Hartnell’s kryptonite were penalties, averaging over 1.75 penalty minutes per game with the Flyers and finishing his career in 2018 with the 70th-most penalty minutes in NHL history. Hartnell played his first six seasons in Nashville before seven in Philly, three in Columbus and one more back in Nashville.
Honorable Mention: Sean Couturier
With 156 goals, Sean Couturier will be on this list in no time. The 27-year-old has played all nine seasons of his career in Philadelphia. He’s scored 86 goals in the past three seasons, and fans should expect a lot more from their star player.
Covering the Flyers for THW | Lifelong Islanders fan, but promise to become a little more sympathetic to the Flyers | Also a 4X marathon-runner | UChicago ’19