The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since entering the NHL in 1967, the Philadelphia Flyers have won two Stanley Cup titles.
During said time frame, the Flyers have iced the likes of Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, Mark Howe, Brian Propp, Tim Kerr, John LeClair, Rick MacLeish, Reggie Leach, Eric Lindros, Simon Gagne, Rod Brind’Amour, Mark Recchi, Joe Watson, Eric Desjardins, Jimmy Watson, Chris Therien, Ron Hextall and Pelle Lindbergh.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Defenseman – Mark Howe
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Howe played 10 seasons in Philadelphia. Howe was a three-time All-Star with the Flyers. During the 1985-86 campaign, Howe led the league with a plus/minus rating of plus-85. Howe also topped all postseason performers in 1987 and 1989 with a plus/minus rating of plus-14 each time. Howe could also get it done on the offensive end, notching double digits in goals six times. Howe was also runner-up in James Norris Memorial Trophy voting three times. Howe’s plus/minus rating of plus-349 ranks second in franchise history.
3. The Goalie – Bernie Parent
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Parent played 10 seasons in Philadelphia. Not only was Parent twice a Stanley Cup champion with the Flyers, he also won consecutive Conn Smythe Trophies in 1973-74 and 1974-75. Parent also won the Vezina Trophy in both of those seasons. Parent led the league in shutouts three times, wins and goals-against average two times. In postseason play, Parent twice led the league in wins and shutouts and paced all netminders in goals-against average three times. Additionally, Parent was a five-time All-Star with the Flyers. In Flyers franchise history, Parent ranks second in games (486), wins (232), fourth in goals-against average (2.42) and first in shutouts (50).
2. The Wild Card – Bill Barber
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Barber was part of both Stanley Cup championship squads. Playing 12 seasons with the Flyers, Barber was a six-time All-Star. In his rookie campaign, Barber netted 30 goals and was second in Calder Memorial Trophy voting. During the 1975-76 campaign, Barber notched 50 goals and led the league with 380 shots on goal. Along with his 50-goal season, Barber posted 40 or more goals in five seasons and 30 or more goals in nine seasons. In the 1979-80 playoffs, Barber paced all players with 12 goals, including three short-handed and four game-winning goals. In 129 postseason contests, Barber registered 108 points and 109 penalty minutes. In Flyers franchise history, Barber ranks second in games played (903), first in goals (420), third in assists (463), second in points (883), third in plus/minus (316), first in even-strength goals (285), second in power-play goals (104), second in short-handed goals (31) and third in game-winning goals (54).
1. The Forward – Bobby Clarke
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Clarke was a superb all-around player with Philadelphia. Across 15 seasons with the Flyers, Clarke won two Stanley Cup titles and was an eight-time All-Star. Clarke was a three-time recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy and also won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and the Frank J. Selke Trophy. Clarke topped the league in games played five times, assists and short-handed goals twice and plus/minus once. During the postseason, Clarke twice paced all players in helpers and once in short-handed tallies. Playing 136 playoff games, Clarke netted 119 points and 152 penalty minutes. In Flyers club history, Clarke ranks first in games played (1,144), assists (852), points (1,210), plus/minus (plus-506), short-handed goals (32), fourth in goals (358), even-strength goals (227) and penalty minutes (1,453) and fifth in power-play goals (99).