Philadelphia Flyers: One Player from Each Team Who Would Make a Perfect Flyer

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IIAugust 14, 2012

Philadelphia Flyers: One Player from Each Team Who Would Make a Perfect Flyer

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    The Philadelphia Flyers and their fans have a unique relationship.

    Any city can love their high-scoring superstar, and any city can loathe their underperforming goalie, but Flyers fans see greatness in a role-playing back-checker and disappointment in point machines who don’t get their hands dirty.

    In fact, Flyers fans so closely connect their hockey identities with the toughness of the players on the ice, that it is easy to look at other teams and know exactly who would be loved and hated if they wore Flyers uniforms.

    Some players, it seems, were almost born to be Flyers.

    Here is one player from each team who would have made a great Philadelphia Flyer in another life.

Anaheim Ducks: Bobby Ryan

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    The Cherry Hill, NJ native would be a local celebrity on Claude Giroux’s right wing. His point production would be overshadowed only by his Hometown Hero status.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: John LeClair

    The Connection: Big-bodied, goal scoring Americans. Can't go wrong there.

Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron

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    Bergeron is a pure two-way forward who would excel in a city that values defensive specialists more than it loves superstar goal scorers.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Mike Richards

    The Connection: Both known for their defensive reliability and offensive potency.

Buffalo Sabres: Jhonas Enroth

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    Enroth is a backup goalie with huge potential, who could burst onto the scene if given a starting role. Whether or not he pans out long-term is a little more dicey.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Brian Boucher (Original Edition)

    The Connection: Wildly successful right off the bat, though the future can be hard to predict.

Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla

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    Iginla’s hypothetical association with the Flyers goes beyond this list and into trade rumors, but there is a good reason for the association. Iginla is a Philly-perfect blend of grittiness and pure on-ice talent.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Bill Barber

    The Connection: Both are franchise-leading goal scorers and totally unafraid to drop the gloves.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jordan Staal

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    Staal is one of the best defensive centermen in the league, making him one of the most valuable second-line players a team could ask for. In Carolina, Jordan will be playing behind his older brother, Eric.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Mark Howe

    The Connection: Somewhat underappreciated players living in the shadow of a more highly-touted relative.

Chicago Blackhawks: Viktor Stalberg

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    Stalberg doesn’t get the recognition team-mates like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa get, but this quality makes him endearing to a city that values character even over superstardom.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Scott Hartnell

    The Connection: Perfect scoring complements for extremely talented centermen.

Colorado Avalanche: Steve Downie

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    Let’s be honest, while the Flyers have a reputation for being tough, that doesn’t come without a reputation for being dirty. Downie already spent time in Philly and has shown that he can lose control.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Ed Van Impe

    The Connection: Van Impe’s defining moment was a cheap shot against the Soviets. And the fans loved it.

Columbus Blue Jackets: RJ Umberger

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    Umberger spent time as a third-line centerman for the Flyers, who served primarily as a headstrong role player but possessed the ability to break out in the postseason.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: RJ Umberger

    The Connection: Fairly self-explanatory.

Dallas Stars: Brenden Morrow

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    Brenden Morrow has served as Dallas’ captain since 2006 and is one of the league’s more defensively responsible forwards. Leadership on and off the ice go a long way in Philly.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Dave Poulin

    The Connection: Two-way forwards keeping the franchise relevant after the glory days.

Detroit Red Wings: Niklas Kronwall

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    Kronwall can just flat-out hit. What Flyers fan wouldn’t like to see him causing one wreck after another in the Wells Fargo Center?

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Denis Gauthier

    The Connection: I just wanted an excuse to post my favorite hit of all-time.

Edmonton Oilers: Sam Gagner

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    Gagner is an underachieving winger who is capable of moments of brilliance. Just look at his eight-point game from last season.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Keith Jones

    The Connection: Jonesy wasn’t the greatest to ever play the game, but he sure made you remember his name.

Florida Panthers: Stephen Weiss

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    Weiss is a talented forward who is remarkably loyal to the Panthers’ franchise. No matter the circumstances surrounding his team, Weiss seems to be a testament to how the game should be played.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Sami Kapanen

    The Connection: There isn’t a damn thing not to like about either of these guys. Class acts.

Los Angeles Kings: Simon Gagne

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    Simon Gagne will forever be a fan-favorite in Philadelphia. He has a blend of talent and loyalty with his share of iconic moments thrown in.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Mark Recchi (and Simon Gagne)

    The Connection: Had Gagne never been derailed by injuries, he could have become the next Recchi.

Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck

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    The only thing more likeable than Clutterbuck’s rough-and-tumble playing style is his awesome name. And of course, his mustache.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Dave Schultz

    The Connection: Mainly the mustache.

Montreal Canadiens: Erik Cole

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    Cole was rumored to be a target for the Flyers, though the deal never panned out. Cole is a role player who has never been afraid to throw the body around.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Paul Holmgren

    The Connection: Gritty, nasty American-born wingers.

Nashville Predators: Shea Weber

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    How close we were to a reality. Weber is a quintessential Flyer in every way, from size and strength to toughness and total dominance at his position.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Eric Lindros

    The Connection: Iconic faces of the franchise, as physical as they come.

New Jersey Devils: Travis Zajac

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    From years of watching Zajac play against the Flyers, it’s hard not to want him in orange and black. He played four straight 82-game seasons before being derailed last year with a knee injury.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Rod Brind’Amour

    The Connection: The Flyers’ own iron man played 484 straight games before his final season with the Flyers in 1999-2000.

New York Islanders: Rick DiPietro

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    Two words: goalie problems. DiPietro would make total sense in Philly.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Take Your Pick

    Any Philadelphia goalie except Bernie Parent and Ron Hextall.

New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan

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    For all the trouble he has caused the Flyers, Callahan is exactly what Philadelphia hockey is all about. Callahan is humble, a true leader, and puts his role on the team above his own skill set.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Chris Pronger

    The Connection: Both Callahan and Pronger were stabilizing leaders when their respective franchises made them captain.

Ottawa Senators: Chris Neil

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    Neil is a nasty, surprisingly skilled enforcer. He can be a fourth-line fighter or a top-six power forward in a pinch, and while few Philly fans actually like him, there’s no denying that he would easily find a role on the Flyers.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Donald Brashear

    The Connection: Both can surprise goalies with some skill, but prefer fists to wrists.

Phoenix Coyotes: Keith Yandle

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    Yandle is a rising star in the NHL who possesses an impressive blend of size and skill on the blue line. This isn’t the first time the words “Yandle” and “Flyers” have been associated.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Dan McGillis

    The Connection: Both are big blue-line presences capable of putting up impressive offensive numbers.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Pascal Dupuis

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    Dupuis is a role-player with a knack for playing alongside a superstar. He can stand up for his linemates when he needs to, but also helps Sidney Crosby put points on the board.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Mikael Renberg

    The Connection: While Eric Lindros and John LeClair never needed anyone to stand up for them, Renberg knew just how to round out the Legion of Doom.

San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau

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    For all his struggles in the postseason in San Jose, Marleau remains a Shark. He is undeniably loyal to the franchise and has a ton of ability on top of it all, even if he hasn’t been able to find his way to the Promised Land.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Brian Propp

    The Connection: Both players are offensively talented, but ultimately have never lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup.

St. Louis Blues: Kevin Shattenkirk

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    Shattenkirk is young, but he is already emerging as a premier player in St. Louis’ defensive system. He would fit in well in Philadelphia, which has a rich history of grooming puck-moving defensemen.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Eric Desjardins

    The Connection: Both are strong in their own zones, as well as on offense.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Martin St. Louis

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    For all the value Philly places on being big and tough, the Flyers’ faithful sure love a little guy playing in a big man’s league. Marty St. Louis would be adored no matter where he played, but Philly would especially love to see him skating on a line with two tough guys to back him up.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Bobby Clarke

    The Connection: Undersized superstars who turned out to be the icon of their respective franchises.

Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer

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    Reimer began his career brilliantly, posting a .921 save percentage over 37 games as a rookie, but an injury only five games into his sophomore season seems to have derailed him. Reimer lost his starting job after returning.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Antero Niittymaki

    The Connection: A bright future that dims when injuries take their toll.

Vancouver Canucks: Ryan Kesler

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    Kesler is hard-nosed, dirty and a damn good player. That’s pretty much the hat-trick when it comes to a guy you love to hate. He would fit right in with the city everybody loves to hate.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Rick Tocchet

    The Connection: Kesler and young Rick Tocchet both had enough skill to just be a good player, but they insisted on getting their hands dirty on top of it.

Washington Capitals: Troy Brouwer

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    Brouwer is a penalty-kill specialist with no fear of getting in after-the-whistle scrums. Few franchises appreciate penalty-killers the way the Flyers do.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Michal Handzus

    The Connection: A couple of truly gritty, fan-favorite depth forwards.

Winnipeg Jets: Evander Kane

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    Evander Kane has an extremely bright future as a talented goal scorer, but it doesn’t hurt that he can beat down Matt Cooke in his spare time.

    Flyers Historical Equivalent: Jeremy Roenick

    The Connection: Offensive talent meets tough-guy attitude. Kane and Roenick are a rare breed.