The proverbial cup of coffee is a common strategy that will never disappear from professional sports. It’s practical for a player to leave a team after a successful stint for a more suitable fit if his best years are behind him. The Philadelphia Flyers are no exception to cup of coffee veterans.

A Trend That Characterizes The Flyers

The Flyers have successfully acquired veterans like Chris Pronger, Jeremy Roenick, and Keith Primeau as established players with long track records. Their Flyers careers were significant parts of their overall body of work, however.

Patrick Sharp, Justin Williams, and some other successful NHL players also broke into the league with the Flyers before achieving their greatest success elsewhere. The “cup of coffee” refers more to veterans with short periods in Philadelphia paling in comparison to their overall body of work.

The Flyers developed a reputation for aggressively acquiring big names during the Ed Snider era, but some of the names didn’t replicate the production of their prime years.

Darryl Sittler is one of the best Toronto Maple Leafs ever, but not many think of his later years in Philadelphia. He paved the way for other Hall of Famers like Jaromir Jagr, Paul Coffey, and Dale Hawerchuk. In fact, five of the top 22 scorers in NHL history played for the Flyers at some point in their careers. Mark Recchi is the only one of the group who built his legacy mainly with the Flyers.

A “Cup of Coffee” with the Flyers

See how many of the proverbial cups of coffee you remember. Which ones were blips on the radar for players you remember from careers with other NHL teams?

The other three major sports franchises in Philadelphia also have their fair share of memorable and/or forgettable cups of coffee. 


  • Jaromir Jagr

    A reunion with the Penguins looked inevitable when Jaromir Jagr returned to North America for the 2011-12 season at age 39. The former Philadelphia nemesis had other ideas.

    Jagr deliberately passed up an opportunity to return to the franchise where he reached NHL stardom and opted to sign with their arch-rival. Embarrassing Pittsburgh got him into the good graces of Flyers fans immediately.

    He played one season on the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, finishing with 54 points in 73 games. The Flyers defeated the Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs in one of the wildest series in NHL history.

    Jagr then climbed to the second spot in NHL history in scoring behind only Wayne Gretzky in stints with five other NHL teams after his 40th birthday. His time with the Flyers certainly wasn’t the highlight of his absurdly long hockey career, but it was one of many great memories.

    Jaromir Jagr, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Adam Oates

    The Flyers sent their upcoming 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-round picks and Maxime Ouellet to the Capitals on deadline day in March 2002 to acquire 39-year-old Adam Oates. 

    Oates had established himself as one of the best passers in the NHL in 16 seasons with the Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, and Capitals. However, the Flyers didn’t properly evaluate an impending unrestricted free agent well past his prime. The Senators stifled the Flyers in the opening round of the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, holding them to just two goals in a five-game series.

    Oates walked away in free agency after the playoff exit. He sits eighth in NHL history in assists, but 19 games in orange and black certainly weren’t the highlight of his career.

    Adam Oates, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Tony Amonte

    Jeremy Roenick spent three seasons with the Flyers, who decided to bring in his long-time friend and linemate Tony Amonte at the trade deadline in 2003.

    Amonte spent 12 seasons as a top-line player with the Rangers and the Blackhawks. He took a step back in orange and black with less production in his early 30s. He delivered a respectable 68 points in 93 games in a serviceable role toward the end of his career.

    Tony Amonte, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Peter Forsberg

    The ripple effects of the Eric Lindros trade in 1992 impacted the NHL and the Flyers for decades. Peter Forsberg proved himself as the crown jewel of the package Philadelphia sent to Quebec for Lindros.

    Forsberg reached the top tier of the NHL with two Stanley Cups and a Hart Trophy after Quebec moved to Colorado. His run in the late 1990s and early 2000s convinced the Flyers to right a wrong after the 2004-05 lockout. They thought they signed the best player in the world, but Forsberg experienced a lot of injury problems in Philadelphia.

    The crafty Swede notched well over a point per game in parts of two seasons, but he didn’t have the prolonged success the Flyers hoped for when they signed him at age 32. They dealt him to the Nashville Predators in 2007 as part of a series of moves that helped them land Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.

    Forsberg retired with 885 points in 708 NHL games. His injury issues limited a Hall of Fame career while Lindros experienced similar (although more extreme) limitations.

    Peter Forsberg, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Derian Hatcher

    6-foot-5 defenseman Derian Hatcher became a rock on the blue line for the Dallas Stars during an excellent run in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He had some left in the tank at age 33 for three seasons in Philadelphia.

    However, Bobby Clarke and the Flyers didn’t properly evaluate the direction of the NHL after the 2004-05 lockout. Rule changes lessened the value of big defensemen like Hatcher and fellow cup of coffee free agent Mike Rathje.

    Hatcher had a decent stint with the Flyers, but he flourished more during an era that had already passed before the famous Shanahan Summit.

    Derian Hatcher, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Paul Coffey

    The Flyers acquired Paul Coffey and an additional draft pick from the Hartford Whalers in December 1996 for Kevin Haller and two picks.

    The 35-year-old defenseman had won two Norris Trophies as a member of the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. With the benefit of passing to Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, he finished one shy of tying the highest single-season point total in NHL history among defensemen with 138 in 1984-85.

    Coffey wasn’t anywhere close to the same puck-moving catalyst with a lengthy list of league records among defensemen by the time he got to the Flyers. A combination of age and deflated offensive numbers as the style of the 1980s shrunk in the distance held Coffey to eight goals and 47 assists in 94 games for Philadelphia.

    The Hockey Hall of Famer remarkably played for three more NHL teams after the Flyers before retiring at age 39.

    Paul Coffey, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Vincent Lecavalier

    Flyers fans got to know Vincent Lecavalier too well with Tampa Bay during the 2004 Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup, and Lecavalier grew into an NHL superstar despite a rocky development under John Tortorella.

    Paul Holmgren signed a 32-year-old Lecavalier to a five-year contract in 2013. The lucrative deal quickly became an albatross. The Flyers moved on from Peter Laviolette and removed a potential system fit for Lecavalier.

    He played 133 games in three seasons without enough offensive production to justify a significant cap hit. A former 52-goal scorer even faced demotion to the fourth line at one point. Ron Hextall dumped the contract to the Kings in 2016, and Lecavalier played just 42 more NHL games after a rough stint in Philadelphia.

    Vincent Lecavalier, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Dale Hawerchuk

    The Flyers geared up for a playoff run in March 1996 by dealing Craig MacTavish for Dale Hawerchuk in a one-for-one swap. Hawerchuk had become a legend of the franchise formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets, and he spent five good seasons with the Sabres in the early 1990s.

    Hawerchuck got off to a fast start with 20 points in 16 games in the remainder of the regular season. He added 12 goals and 22 assists in 51 games for the Flyers in 1996-97. While it didn’t match the production he posted in his prime, he played a serviceable role in Philadelphia.

    The aging center played in 17 playoff games during the run to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final but sat out the decisive loss to the Red Wings and never played in the NHL again.

    Dale Hawerchuk, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Martin Biron

    The goaltender carousel had become a major storyline in Philadelphia by 2007. Paul Holmgren plugged the hole between the pipes as part of an excellent retool that helped the Flyers back into Stanley Cup contention after a disastrous season in 2006-07.

    Martin Biron provided above average goaltending for parts of three seasons. He started 23 playoff games with the Flyers, but the most sustained success of his NHL career came during his 20s with the Buffalo Sabres.

    Martin Biron, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Alexander Daigle

    The Ottawa Senators drafted Alexandre Daigle with the 1st-overall pick in 1993. The expected future superstar made a regrettable comment by asserting that nobody remembers the 2nd-overall pick.

    The Hartford Whalers picked a defenseman by the name of Chris Pronger second. Flyers fans will never forget Pronger’s role during the run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, but they might forget the 68 games Daigle played in orange and black in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

    Daigle bounced around to six NHL teams that never came close to meeting high expectations.

    Alexandre Daigle, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Tony DeAngelo

    Chuck Fletcher aggressively traded three draft picks for Tony DeAngelo and a 7th-rounder in 2022. The franchise was in a state of turmoil, and the deal represented a disconnect between the front office’s short-term plan and the need to move toward a new era.

    DeAngelo was never a shutdown defenseman, and he struggled in his own end with the Flyers. His excellent ability as a puck mover and capable power-play skills didn’t impact his only season with his favorite childhood team.

    The South Jersey native clashed with John Tortorella late in the 2022-23 season, and he moved back to the Hurricanes in better position to succeed after a forgettable stint in Philadelphia.

    Tony DeAngelo, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Matt Niskanen

    Niskanen played 12 seasons and 125 playoff games through 2018-19. He had helped the Washington Capitals win their first Stanley Cup just one year before they sent him to the Flyers for Radko Gudas.

    The one-for-one swap worked smoothly in 2019-20. Niskanen played the right side next to a young Ivan Provorov on the top defensive pair during Philadelphia’s resurgent regular season.

    Niskanen wore down from the challenges of the pandemic and the 2020 playoff bubble. He retired after one season with the Flyers, who struggled to replace him and allowed Provorov to slip out of favor without the steady veteran beside him.

    Matt Niskanen, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Michael Del Zotto

    Michael Del Zotto looked like a blossoming puck mover on the Rangers blue line early in his career. His development had slowed before the Flyers signed him to a low-risk deal entering the 2014-15 season.

    He played a serviceable depth role in parts of three seasons, but most hockey fans will remember him in one of his seven other uniforms or for his unexpected friendship with adult film star Lisa Ann.

    Michael Del Zotto, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Max Talbot

    Hockey fans inevitably hate players on rival teams despite the fact that they’d love the same players on their favorite teams. Maxime Talbot provided a classic example during his short stint with the Flyers.

    He had silenced the Philadelphia crowd with a momentum-shifting fight in the opening round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs and later scored the decisive goal to help the Penguins win their first ring in the Sidney Crosby era.

    The Flyers couldn’t help themselves from stealing a grinder like Talbot in free agency in 2011. He played a solid gritty game as a penalty killer and a depth scorer for parts of three seasons. He continued an admirable professional career with two more NHL teams and stints in the AHL and KHL.

    Philadelphia fans might’ve liked his game in a Flyers uniform, but they can’t pretend his legacy lives anywhere more than Pittsburgh.

    Maxime Talbot, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • John Vanbiesbrouck

    John Vanbiesbrouck developed into a strong NHL goaltender with the Rangers through the 1980s. He couldn’t overtake Mike Richter when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, but he helped the Florida Panthers to a Cup appearance of their own in 1996.

    The Flyers signed “The Beezer” in 1998 12 years after he won his only career Vezina Trophy. The declining veteran gave way to Brian Boucher by the time the Flyers made their run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2000.

    John Vanbiesbrouck, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Craig MacTavish

    The final player in NHL history to skate without a helmet won four Stanley Cups before he began his career with the Flyers at age 36.

    Craig MacTavish was a strong defensive forward who helped Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers take down the Flyers in the 1987 Stanley Cup Final. He played 100 games for Philadelphia after his prime had already passed, registering just 25 points.

    The Flyers sent him to the St. Louis Blues for Dale Hawrchuk in March 1996.

    Craig McTavish, who had a cup of coffee with the Philadelphia Flyers

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