Flyers

Flyers

The Flyers are one of the most storied NHL franchises. They’re one step below the Original Six in the lure of hockey history. It’s tough to define underrated Philadelphia Flyers on such a high-profile team.

What Does Underrated Mean?

Underrated is a subjective term that can apply to many different players. What is the criteria the 97.5 The Fanatic lists of underrated players for each major franchise in Philadelphia sports history?

A specific group of people must underrate these players, or a widespread perception must redirect credit toward other players.

Philadelphia Flyers fans could make the case that Mikael Renberg is underrated, for instance. Eric Lindros and John LeClair get most of the glory, but the “Legion of Doom” gets enough recognition for the collective success. No specific group really undersells the folklore that Renberg fits into.

Certain Flyers like Sami Kapanen and Joffrey Lupul don’t come up in conversations very often. If you ask a devoted follower of the team though, you’d probably get a reasonable evaluation of their Flyers careers.

Narratives in Flyers Fandom

Flyers fandom, however, includes plenty of widespread narratives that don’t tell the comprehensive story of the franchise. The perception of the Broad Street Bullies as the perennial tough guys still exists today. The franchise still hasn’t completely ditched the infamous “Goalie Graveyard” narrative.

There were also stretches throughout their history when the Flyers prioritized acquiring players past their prime years who didn’t have enough left in the tank by the time they got to Philadelphia.

The list of underrated Flyers includes players who are exceptions to these common narratives. Who is on your list of most underrated Flyers?


97.5 The Fanatic Lists of Underrated Philadelphia Athletes


 

  • Forwards

  • Dave Poulin

    When the older generation of Flyers fans looks back at the Stanley Cup runs of the 1980s, they usually point to Tim Kerr, Brian Propp, or Mark Howe as the top stars. Dave Poulin doesn’t always get the most recognition. Defensive hockey wasn’t exactly the top storyline of the decade, but the long-time captain was part of the glue that held those teams together.

    Poulin won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 1986-87. The Flyers later fell one game short of defeating the Edmonton Oilers, a team with arguably the best roster in league history with a Hall of Fame cast surrounding prime-age Wayne Gretzky.

    Poulin was one of many injured Flyers by the end of the run. Would he have made the difference?

  • Darryl Sittler

    The Flyers built a reputation in past eras for acquiring big-name former star players past their prime years. Paul Coffey, Adam Oates, and Tony Amonte didn’t have much left in the tank by the time they got to Philadelphia. Jaromir Jagr certainly didn’t spend the best years of his career with the Flyers.

    Darryl Sittler built his legacy during his first 12 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Should he be lumped into the same category? The Flyers acquired Sittler at age 31. He scored 84 goals and added 94 assists in 171 games. He averaged over a point per game for the 1982-83 team.

  • Mike Knuble

    Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne were the stars at the top of the lineup coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. However, there are three players on an NHL line.

    Mike Knuble spent four seasons with the Flyers from 2005-06 through 2008-09, and he returned for a cup of coffee in 2013. He provided the perfect complement to a crafty playmaker like Forsberg and a finesse star like Gagne. He scored a career-high 34 goals in his first season in Philadelphia and followed it up with 24, 29, and 27 goals in the next three seasons, respectively.

    Knuble knew his role as a garbage goal-scorer, and he played it damn well. He added 14 points in 24 playoff games with the Flyers, including an overtime game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals in 2008.

    Mike Knuble, who made the list of most underrated Philadelphia Flyers

  • Defensemen

  • Kimmo Timonen

    The NHL still associates the Broad Street Bullies mentality with the Flyers. Players like Chris Pronger feed into the identity of the fan base. The 6-foot-6 defenseman resonated with the fans perfectly as a fearless, powerful defenseman who became the workhorse on the Philadelphia blue line during the run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

    Kimmo Timonen didn’t have the same reputation. The Finnish puck mover was more of a classy guy off the ice who didn’t bring as much grit as Pronger, but he actually had a longer run as the top blueliner in Philadelphia.

    The Flyers acquired Timonen as part of a series of trades with the Nashville Predators that pulled them out of the disaster of the 2006-07 season. He averaged over 20 minutes of ice time in each of his seven playoff series wins with the Flyers. Only Mark Howe and Eric Desjardins scored more points among defensemen in franchise history.

    Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger of the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Dan McGillis

    Hockey in the late 1990s and early 2000s required more physical defensemen while modern roster construction prioritizes puck movers on the blue line. The Flyers acquired 6-foot-3, 220-pounder Dan McGillis in 1998 during a window of Stanley Cup contention. 

    McGillis played 380 regular-season and playoff games in orange and black. He was the physical presence a contending team needed, but you won’t see his name in the franchise record books too often.

    Stay-at-home defensemen are harder to glorify than offensive catalysts. McGillis recorded a career-high 49 points in 2000-01, and it’s no coincidence that it was the only one of his nine NHL seasons when he received Norris Trophy votes.

    Dan McGillis, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Goaltender

  • Steve Mason

    Anyone who follows the Flyers knows the notorious reputation of the “Goalie Graveyard” in Philadelphia. The revolving door of goaltenders reached its peak with the Ilya Bryzgalov nightmare that ended in 2013, right around the time the Flyers really started to lose popularity in the Philadelphia sports landscape.

    Coincidentally, the Flyers acquired Steve Mason in 2013. He spent four seasons as the top option between the pipes for forgettable Flyers teams that never won a playoff series.

    Mason wasn’t some Vezina Trophy winner who would reverse the “Goalie Graveyard” narrative. He was never going to demand the attention of casual hockey fans in Philadelphia who were only interested in a contending team, but he was the type of solid goaltender for a good period of time that the Flyers haven’t usually had.

    Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers

  • Honorable Mention

  • Daymond Langkow

    It’s tough to identify any reason why Daymond Langkow is underrated. Like Joffrey Lupul and Sami Kapanen, he doesn’t seem to come up in conversations about the Flyers too often. The NHL journeyman notched at least 50 points in each of his two full regular seasons in Philadelphia.

    He helped the Flyers advance to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2000 with 10 points in 16 games during the playoff run.

    The Daymond Langkow trade tree had remarkable ripple effects on the franchise. The return package acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001 indirectly led to the acquisitions of Jeff Carter, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson, Jason Smith, Joffrey Lupul, and Chris Pronger.

    Daymond Langkow of the Philadelphia Flyers and John Madden of the New Jersey Devils

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