One of the most storied franchises in the NHL has produced its fair share of homegrown talent. Legends like Bobby Clarke and Claude Giroux highlight the list. However, some of the players associated most closely with the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t homegrown.

The Broad Street Bullies captured the hearts of the city during the 1970s. Although the Fred Shero-led teams were the best in franchise history, they came so close to the 1967 NHL expansion wave that the Flyers didn’t have too many of their own draft picks.

Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Parent doesn’t qualify. The Quebec Nordiques also drafted Eric Lindros in 1991 before the expected prodigy came to Philadelphia. Many of the key contributors that came through Philadelphia during the 1990s and 2000s were already accomplished NHL stars with other teams.

Ed Snider had the budget to bring plenty of high-priced free agents before the NHL entered the salary cap era. Philadelphia flexed the financial muscles to surround Lindros with talent and continue their run as a perennial playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender into the 21st century.

Homegrown Flyers Defensemen

Who would play on the blue line for the team of homegrown Flyers? Mark Howe? Eric Desjardins? Kimmo Timonen? Most of the best defensemen in franchise history didn’t come up through the organization.

The Flyers developed a habit of drawing from the free agent pool to stock the blue line. The trend continued into the 2010s before Ron Hextall changed the front office philosophy with high-profile prospects like Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere.

The starting lineup includes three forwards, two defensemen, one goaltender, and one extra attacker in case of a late-game deficit. Who would you want on the blue line for the all-time roster of homegrown Flyers? How about the top line?

97.5 The Fanatic will put together lists of the best homegrown players for each of the four major professional sports teams in Philadelphia.


  • Forwards

  • Bobby Clarke (C)

    It’s difficult to find a professional athlete who embodies a franchise more than Bobby Clarke embodies the Philadelphia Flyers. The captain of the Broad Street Bullies played with the tenacity of a fourth-line enforcer and the skill of a top-line center.

    Clarke owns the franchise records for scoring, games played, plus/minus, shorthanded goals, and many more. He owns the claim as the all-time greatest Flyers skater. It’s all thanks to the selection with the 17th-overall pick in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft.

  • Claude Giroux (RW)

    The Flyers selected Claude Giroux of the Gatineau Olympiques with the 22nd-overall pick in 2006. Bobby Clarke mispronounced the name of the future franchise center.

    Giroux quickly became a key offensive threat for a championship contender early in his career. He scored 10 goals and 11 assists in 23 games during the run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, including an overtime thriller at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 3 to keep the Flyers in the final series.

    The longest-tenured captain in franchise history is unfortunately associated with the worst era in franchise history, however. The talent pool dried up almost immediately after the Flyers gave the “C” to Giroux. He was a model of consistency in Philadelphia.

    Only Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Alexander Ovechkin finished the decade of the 2010s with more points than Giroux. He played center through most of his career down the middle, but he transitioned to the wing in his final seasons with the Flyers.

    Although Claude Giroux never led the Flyers to the playoff glory that fans dreamt of, he sits second in franchise history behind Bobby Clarke in points, assists, and games played. The number 28 will someday hang from the rafters with the all-time Flyers greats.

    Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Bill Barber (LW)

    The Flyers drafted Bill Barber with the seventh-overall pick in 1972. He scored more goals than any other player in franchise history. His record of 420 will stay secure for a long time.

    Barber became one of the biggest offensive threats on a Broad Street Bullies team known more for their brutal intimidation than for finesse and scoring. The feared “LCB Line” with Reggie Leach and Bobby Clarke helped the Flyers to consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

    Barber played all 12 of his NHL seasons in Philadelphia. He entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990, and he’s remained in the organization as a Flyers lifer in various roles for decades.

    Bill Barber, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Defensemen

  • Jimmy Watson

    The Broad Street Bullies laid the groundwork for the Flyers to become part of the city’s culture. Jimmy Watson and his brother Joe were two stalwarts on the Philadelphia blue line. Joe might’ve been “The “Original Flyer” because of his place on the inaugural team in 1967-68, but Jimmy was actually a homegrown product out of the 1972 NHL Amature Draft.

    Jimmy Watson played all 10 of his NHL seasons with the Flyers. He lifted the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. He’s continued his contributions to the game in the Philadelphia area as a driving force behind one of the most prominent local ice rinks.

  • Shayne Gostisbehere

    He only played 381 games in parts of seven seasons with the Flyers. He never reached the long-term status that fans hoped for, but Shayne Gostisbehere reached a higher level during his rookie effort in 2015-16 than any other homegrown defensemen achieved during their careers.

    “Ghost” took the NHL by storm with 17 goals and 29 assists in 64 games. He provided a spark for a team in desperate need and pushed them from irrelevance into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He (somehow) finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy.

    Chris Therien had a much longer track record. Ivan Provorov overtook Gostisbehere in the organization’s pecking order. Both played more games than Gostisbehere. Why is the slick, undersized blue liner on the list above them?

    Consider that Gostisbehere scored five game-winning goals in the 2015-16 season alone. Therien scored just six in Flyers career, and Provorov scored 11. Gostisbehere edged Provorov for fifth in franchise history in points among defensemen in 151 fewer games.

    Shayne Gostisbehere justifiably faded out of favor by the time he left Philadelphia in 2021 because of his defensive weaknesses and physical shortcomings. However, he still earned his spot as one of the two best homegrown defensemen in a limited talent pool.

    Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Goaltender

  • Pelle Lindbergh

    The Flyers looked like they had found an absolute gem in the 2nd round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. Pelle Linbergh manned the crease for Team Sweden at the 1980 Winter Olympics, and he broke into the NHL less than two years later.

    Lindbergh broke out as one of the NHL’s top goaltenders during the 1982-83 season. He continued the ascension with a Vezina Trophy at age 25 after the 1984-85 season. He led the Flyers to the 1985 Stanley Cup Final and appeared to be on top of the world. Then, tragedy struck.

    The young goaltender drove his car into a wall in an unfortunate drunk driving accident on November 10, 1985. He passed away at age 26.

    He played only 157 NHL games. The Flyers honor his legacy each season by handing out the Pelle Lindbergh Trophy to the team’s most improved player.

    While Ron Hextall had a lengthier impact with the Flyers, he wasn’t entirely homegrown. A gap between his two stints in Philadelphia played a part in his NHL development.

  • Extra Attacker

  • Brian Propp

    The Flyers advanced to three Stanley Cup Finals during the 1980s with Brian Propp leading the way as an offensive force. He played 11 of his 15 NHL seasons in Philadelphia. He sits near the top of the franchise record books at second in goals, second in playoff scoring, and fourth in points and games played.

    Propp reached the 40-goal plateau four times for the Flyers. He received votes for the Hart, Selke, and Calder Trophies at different points during his tenure. The legendary left winger entered the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1999.

    Simon Gagne would make the list of most NHL franchise’s best homegrown talent. He posted scoring numbers just below Propp’s in an era when scoring became significantly harder. Gagne racked up only 47 playoff points in 90 games, while Propp more than doubled him with 112 in 116 games.

    Both left wingers deserve their share of credit in Flyers allure, but Propp edged Gagne for the final spot.

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