The Philadelphia Flyers have a rich history. In the 54 years since they were introduced to the NHL, the Flyers have accomplished a lot and iced some of the best players to play the game. They’ve won division titles, Stanley Cups and built some of the most competitive teams in the league.
Here’s a look back at some of the best single-season performances in franchise history.
Flyers Franchise Records
It’s a tough task to win 50 games in a season, and the Flyers have done it five times. The first time was in 1973-74 and they did it again the following two seasons, winning 51 in each. It wasn’t until 1984-85 and 1985-86, that they won 53 games in back-to-back seasons, the most in franchise history. These seasons that saw the Flyers win at will got them as far as the Stanley Cup Final the first year and the first round the next.
Philadelphia dominated the NHL almost immediately. In their ninth season in the league, 1975-76, they set a record with 118 points in the standings. This was the season following their first of two Stanley Cup consecutive championships (the only two in franchise history). They finished with 112 or more points in four consecutive seasons from 1973-1977.
Their next best seasons were in 1979-80 when they finished with 116 points, and in 1974-75 and 1984-85 when they finished with 113 points. Philadelphia has finished with more than 110 points seven times and 19 seasons with 100 or more points in their history.
Scoring has changed throughout NHL history. Scoring was high for years before goaltending equipment caught up to the game, and the number of goals dipped. Today, we have seen an increase in scoring, given the speed of the game.
The Flyers’ most offensive season isn’t the one you might think. The team scored 350 goals in 1983-84 but finished third in the Patrick Division with 98 points. They came close to that franchise record in two other seasons, in 1975-76 and 1984-85 when they scored 348. In their history, the Flyers have scored more than 300 goals in a season 12 times and eight consecutive years between 1979-1987. However, Philadelphia has not scored 300 goals in a season since 1992-93.
Flyers Player Records
Players have scored many goals in many ways throughout the team’s history. These are the single-season record holders for the Flyers and honourable mentions.
Goals came easier for the Flyers in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. The organization had six different 50-goal scorers who reached the mark 12 times in those decades. Only one player reached the 60-goal mark, and that’s the Flyers’ all-time single-season record holder, Reggie Leach, who scored 61 goals in 1975-76. There is only one runner-up. Tim Kerr holds spots two through six with 58 goals in two seasons and 54 goals in two other seasons.
Power-Play Goals– Kerr beat his own record by a landslide in 1985-86 when he scored 34 power-play goals. He also holds the next three best marks with 26, 25, and 21 in a season. The only Flyer with 20 or more power-play goals in a season is Rick MacLeish with 21 also.
Shorthanded Goals– Three Flyers are tied for the single-season record for shorthanded goals with seven, reached by Brian Propp in 1984-85, Mark Howe in 1985-86, and Mike Richards in 2008-09.
Game-Winning Goals– Two players hold the franchise record for game-winning goals in a season. Propp set the record in 1982-83 with 12, which was tied much later by Jeff Carter in 2008-09. Leach was the only other player to come within one of the records (with 11), but at the time, he formerly held the record for six seasons until Propp topped him. In the same season that Leach scored 11 game-winners, Bill Barber scored 10.
Bobby Clarke recorded 89 assists in both 1974-75 and 1975-76. The next closest to him scored just 70 in a season, accomplished by Mark Recchi in 1992-93.
The Flyers’ single-season points record will likely stand for a while as there are few players who can reach that mark in today’s game. Recchi finished the 1992-93 season with the most points in franchise history with 123. He is followed closely by Clarke who has the second and third best seasons with 119 and 116 points in 1975-76 and 1974-75. Recchi reached this mark in 84 games, while Clarke may have been able to hold the record if he had played more than 76 games that season.
There have only been six other instances where a player on the Flyers has reached 100 points in a season, done by four other players.
Power-play points– The franchise record for power-play points (PPP) in a season is impressive. Kerr reached 50 in one season in 1985-86. He also holds spot No. 3 with 44 PPP in 1988-89. Making his first appearance on these single-season records is Pelle Eklund, who recorded the second-most PPP in a season with 46. He also reached the 40 mark one other time and is one of only three Flyers to have recorded a 40-plus PPP season, along with Kerr and Recchi.
Shorthanded Points– Unlike shorthanded goals, the single-season shorthanded points (SHP) record for the Flyers is held by only one man, Dave Poulin. He recorded 12 SHP in 1984-85, holds sole possession of the second spot, and has four of the top six seasons for SHP. Only Propp in 1984-85 and Mark Howe in 1985-86 have recorded 10 shorthanded points other than Poulin.
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Other Player Records
Penalty Minutes– The Flyers’ franchise record for most penalty minutes in a season seems untouchable at this point. In 1974-75, Dave Schultz recorded 472 penalty minutes in a season. He also has the second and fourth most and is one of three players to have recorded more than 300 in a season, joined by Glen Cochrane and Paul Holmgren. Schultz’s second-highest penalty minutes in a season was 348, a difference of 124.
Shots– Only one player in Flyers’ history has ever recorded 350 shots or more in a season and his name is Bill Barber. He holds the record of 380 in the 1975-76 season and also the next highest at 350 in 1981-82. Jeff Carter is the next name on the leaderboard, and he holds spots three and four with 342 and 335. Leach’s shots in one season are tied with Carter’s worst of the two seasons with 335.
Plus/Minus– Ridiculous numbers from the 1985-86 and 1976-76 seasons see players from those teams fill the top of the single-season plus/minus leaderboards. Three different players have finished a season at more than a plus-80, Howe (87), Brad McCrimmon (86), and Clarke (83). Three more times has a player finished with more than a plus-70 and only once more over plus-60. This may be an unbreakable record for the Flyers, as each season may see a couple of players in the entire NHL get around a plus-40 rating.
Flyers’ Goalie Records
The only goalie to ever play over 70 games in a season was Bernie Parent, and he did it in 1973-74, playing 73. The following year, he also played the second-most games in franchise history with 68. Only three other goalies for the Flyers have ever played 65 games: Wayne Stephenson (66), Ron Hextall (66), and Pelle Lindbergh (65). For these numbers to be contested, the Flyers would have to have a goalie playing out of his mind and a backup who isn’t very good.
Uncoincidentally, the five most winning seasons from goalies came in the same seasons as the most games played, but in a slightly different order. Parent holds the top two most winning seasons with 47 and 44 in 1973-74 and 1974-75. Lindbergh and Stephenson are the only other two goaltenders to have accomplished 40-win seasons with the franchise. Hextall is next with 37.
Goals Against Average (GAA)
Only goalies who had played at least 20 games that season will be counted towards the franchise records. That being said, there are only three occasions where a goalie has ended the season with a GAA below 2.00. The Flyers’ record-holder is Roman Cechmanek with a 1.83 GAA in 2002-03, playing 58 games. The seasons of Parent with 1.89 GAA in 1973-74 (73 GP) and Brian Boucher with a 1.91 GAA in 1999-00 (35 GP) are just short of that record.
Save Percentage (SV%)
Once again, Parent’s 1973-74 season is at the top. That season could be considered the best season in NHL history by a goaltender. He recorded a .932 SV% that year. Doug Favell is the only other goalie to finish a season with a SV% higher than .930, and he did it in 1967-68 in 37 games played, the Flyers’ inaugural season. Steve Mason appears third on this list in 2014-15 with 51 games played and a .928 SV%. Only seven other seasons saw a Flyers’ goaltender have a higher SV% than .920.
Parent’s record-breaking season in 1973-74 with the most wins also has him with the record in shutouts in a single season with 12, doing it twice. Only Cechmanek in 2000-01 has finished a season with at least 10 whose name is not Bernie Parent. This will take an elite goaltender and a very good defensive team for a goalie to come close to this record.
Some of these records seem almost unbreakable at this point, but you never know when a generational player will come along and do the unthinkable. Some players of recent memory have gotten close, and it will be interesting to watch and wait for the next one to challenge for the single-season records.