Philadelphia Flyers: 10 Ex-Flyers We Want to See Win a Stanley Cup
Most hockey aficionados agree that the Kings got themselves to the NHL's Promised Land thanks to some key offseason and mid-season moves that resulted in a roster that quickly added three key players who had once played for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Just two years ago, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were playing undeniably important roles for the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final, and now they lift the Cup as members of the Kings.
Flyers fans may have mixed feelings about the success of its former players, but for most of us, there was something special about seeing players we once cared about so deeply achieve hockey's ultimate goal.
Certainly, we all hope the current Flyers team will be hoisting the Cup next year, but if not, here are ten more former Flyers that we will enjoy seeing win their first Stanley Cup as a member of a different team.
10. Martin Biron
Martin Biron joined the Philadelphia Flyers mid-way through the franchise's abysmal 2006-07 season and quickly became one of the building blocks of GM Paul Holmgren's new Flyers team, one that was built around up-and-comers like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Biron proved to be consistent in net, by Flyers standards, and led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals only a season after the team had traded for him from the basement of the league.
Biron currently plays for the New York Rangers, which makes him hard to root for, but as a backup netminder, he could be a key piece for a team trying to put together a successful regular season to lead up to a playoff run. Biron would undoubtedly sport a big, boyish smile while lifting the Stanley Cup.
9. Darroll Powe
Few franchises appreciate fourth-line players as much as the Flyers, and because of that, Flyers fans could find themselves invested in the Minnesota Wild at this time next season.
Darroll Powe spent his time in Philadelphia as a penalty-killer and glorified forechecker, but the city still found itself familiar with Powe's Princeton University background and solid physical frame.
The Flyers felt they upgraded by replacing Powe with multi-tooled threat Max Tablot, but the franchise undoubtedly has fond memories of the Wild's brilliant penalty-killer. He certainly has the guts and grit to win a Stanley Cup.
8. Joffrey Lupul
Much like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Lupul was a notorious part of the Olde City Gang that may have put partying ahead of practicing, and Lupul's 2009 trade to Anaheim in exchange for Chris Pronger seemed to be a move made largely in the interest of discipline.
Reckless attitude or not, Lupul has always been a likeable player and his career appears to be on the rise after his first All-Star Game selection this season. His Flyers days are over, but Joffrey will always be remembered fondly by the Philly faithful.
7. Scottie Upshall
While on the subject of fan-favorite party boys, Scottie Upshall was one of the most well-liked Flyers up until the day he was traded for nuisance Dan Carcillo.
Upshall's boyish charm caused the girls to swoon and his wrecking-ball attitude made the guys rise to their feet to recognize this ultra-tough and undersized pretty boy.
A third-liner for the Flyers, Upshall's impact on the team's success had its limitations, but the whole city lamented his trade to Phoenix in 2009 as the team lost one of its most likeable, albeit uncontrollable, personalities.
6. Vaclav Prospal
"Vinny" Prospal played parts of three different seasons with the Flyers, including as a member of the 1997 team that went to the Stanley Cup Final.
Prospal managed to play only five games in those playoffs, suffering a broken arm in a freak practice collision. The next year, Prospal would be traded to the Ottawa Senators, only to return to Philly in 2007-08, when he contributed 13 points in 17 playoff games.
Cruelly, Prospal played for the Tampa Bay Lightning each season between 2001-02 and 2006-07 expect for the 2003-04 season, when the Lightning captured the Cup. Vinny's name remains absent from hockey's Holy Grail.
Prospal's limited time had no effect on the city's love for him, and the ever-smiling Czech would be a sight to behold if he ever got his hands on the Stanley Cup.
5. RJ Umberger
RJ Umberger made a name for himself in Philadelphia as a tough-as-nails centerman who knew how to score when it counted.
As a member of the 2007-08 Flyers, Umberger scored a modest 13 goals in 74 regular season games. In the playoffs, Umberger showed what he was made of, netting ten goals in only 17 games and helping the Flyers eliminate the Washington Capitals and the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens.
Since being traded to Columbus before the 2008 NHL Draft, Umberger scored the Blue Jackets' first-ever playoff goal and managed three goals in only four games. For his career, Umberger has scored 14 goals in only 26 playoff games.
His odds with Columbus don't look too good, but Umberger would make Flyers fans proud if he could reel in a championship.
4. Antero Niittymaki
Antero Niittymaki has somehow been Philadelphia's most consistent goaltender since Ron Hextall, donning the Orange and Black each season from 2003-04 to 2008-09 until the Flyers lost him to free agency.
Niitty had his struggles in Philadelphia and only played one playoff season with the team, but for a team that ran through pan-flashes like Robert Esche, Ray Emery and Michael Leighton, Nittymaki's familiar face was a welcome sight.
After Ilya Bryzgalov's issues following a nine-year contract signing, it's hard to dislike a goaltender like Niittymaki, who at least set the bar low enough to not totally devastate the who fanbase.
3. Michal Handzus
It seems like not so long ago that the Philadelphia crowd was chanting "Zuuuuuuus" after a big hit or timely goal.
Michal Handzus had the perfect attitude to play in Philadelphia. He was hard-working, better known for guts than glory, and possessed the ability to turn a game around when it truly counted.
35-year-old Handzus will enter his second season as a member of the San Jose Sharks when the 2012-13 season begins. If the Sharks are not contenders, Handzus will be a sought-after veteran presence that a contender could use to round out its roster.
Either way, the gritty Slovak deserves "Zuuuuuuuus" to be etched on the Cup.
2. Daymond Langkow
Like Handzus, Daymond Langkow is approaching the twilight of his career. He will be 36 at the start of next season, and while Langkow has not played for Philadelphia since 2001, his toughness is still well-regarded by the city.
In six consecutive seasons from 2001-02 to 2007-08, Langkow missed a total of only six games, a remarkable feat in such a grueling sport.
Langkow is no slouch in the playoffs, tallying 44 points in 75 career games, usually playing from the second or third line.
As Langkow approaches retirement, he will become a player to watch. He is hungry for his first Cup, and Flyers fans will applaud Langkow if he does get it.
1. Brian Boucher
Brian Boucher played only five seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, two of them as a backup, yet he is still one of the most likeable players on the team in the last twelve years.
As a surprising rookie stealing John Vanbiesbrouck's starting role in 1999-2000, Boucher took his team to the Eastern Conference Finals and made a highlight-reel save on New Jersey's Patrik Elias. To give you an idea of Boucher's popularity, that video link includes a loud "Boosh" chant even though the game was played at Continental Airlines Arena in North Jersey.
Boucher returned to the Flyers in 2009-10 and helped keep the team afloat when Ray Emery went down during the season, and carried the Flyers in the playoffs while starter Michael Leighton was out injured. The tandem goaltending resulted in a Stanley Cup Final appearance, and somehow the team's backup netminder seemed to be one of the most endearing parts of the story.
Currently serving as a backup in Carolina, Boucher is an experienced backup who could prove valuable at the trade deadline. Valuable for any team in need of a reliable backup and on the verge of a playoff run. A team like, perhaps, the Philadelphia Flyers?
One can dream.
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