Philadelphia Flyers: Assembling Their All-Time All-Star Roster
Philadelphia has seen some of hockey's truly iconic players take the ice on Broad Street, through eras spanning from the Broad Street Bullies to the Legion of Doom to today.
Assembling an all-time roster is a difficult task in that even a "healthy scratch" on this lineup would be a Philadelphia. Nevertheless, this is the Flyers' all-time, all-star roster.
Bill Barber, Bobby Clarke, Mark Recchi
Matching up Bill Barber and Bobby Clarke is a no-brainer.
The two players played much of their respective careers together, with Clarke centering Barber on the Flyers' most offensively-threatening lines. Clarke was no small part of Barber's franchise-record 420 goals, and Barber was likewise a huge reason that Clarke owns the team's assists and points marks, at 852 and 1,210 respectively.
But what right wing from Flyers history could match Barber and Clarke's knack for combining pretty goals with gritty scrums?
Mark Recchi, who tallied 627 points in 602 games as a Flyer, comes to mind.
Recchi's willingness to battle would make him fit in with the Broad Street Bullies of old, but his scoring touch would make him an obvious member of Philly's all-star first line.
John LeClair, Eric Lindros, Tim Kerr
They may not have put up Barber-Clarke numbers, but no tandem in Flyers' history commanded more attention than Eric Lindros and John LeClair.
The gigantic forwards possessed nearly a quarter-ton of muscle on the Flyers' first line in the mid to late-'90s, making it nearly impossible for defenses to keep both players away from the goalmouth.
Why not match these powerful forwards with a true shooter, who would give what's left of the Legion plenty of opportunities to screen goalies and pounce on rebounds?
Tim Kerr may not have played in the same era as Lindros and LeClair, but his rapid-shooting style would have made for an even more dangerous Legion. Kerr trails only Bill Barber and Brian Propp in goal-scoring in Flyers history, making 363 goals in his decade with the team.
Brian Propp, Rick MacLeish, Rick Tocchet
The first line goes to the '70s guys, the second line to the '90s...that leaves the middle ground to be represented on the third line.
Rick MacLeish spent most of his career playing with the Bullies, including Clarke and Barber, but he'll find himself right at home on this flash-and-bash third line with Rick Tocchet and Brian Propp.
Propp is a natural choice. As the second-leading goal scorer in Flyers' history, his absence from the first two lines is purely due to the chemistry of other players there. Propp's presence alongside MacLeish would make this line another scoring threat, and Rick Tocchet would round out the toughness.
And of course, Tocchet might find himself lighting the lamp once in a while, too.
Dave Schultz, Rod Brind'Amour, Paul Holmgren
The scoring lines will light the lamp, but this Flyers' fourth line would steal the spotlight.
The enforcer role is taken care of; one need look no further than Dave "The Hammer" Schultz. The team's current GM, Paul Holmgren, was no stranger to dropping the gloves in his day, either.
But the crown jewel of the line is former Flyer Rod Brind'Amour. One of the game's best faceoff men, Brind'Amour is the shut-down centerman that the Flyers will rely on when the going gets tough. No team would be complete without him.
First Defensive Pair
Mark Howe, Eric Desjardins
Just last season, Mark Howe went into the Hockey Hall of Fame, subsequently having his No. 2 retired by the Flyers a few months later. Howe is perhaps the greatest defenseman to ever wear the Orange and Black, making himself an obvious choice as anchor of the defense.
It is the opinion of this columnist that Eric Desjardins' jersey should hang from the rafters next to Howe's. Desjardins was one of the great two-way defensemen the Flyers have ever seen, and his leadership only solidifies his value to the team.
He and Howe would start on the ice together each game if this hypothetical all-star lineup came to be.
Second Defensive Pair
Jimmy Watson, Kimmo Timonen
Jimmy Watson was a stalwart defenseman on the Flyers' back line, one of the most reliable stay-at-home defenders the team has ever seen.
He would be perfectly complemented by Kimmo Timonen, who has become the face of the Flyers in the last six years and plays a style of defense centered around puck-movement.
They represent two very different eras in Flyers hockey, but good defense is good defense in any era, and few do it better than Watson and Timonen.
Third Defensive Pair
Chris Pronger, Andre Dupont
Like Watson, Moose Dupont was a pivotal defenseman on Philadelphia's two Cup-winning teams in the mid-'70s, and his physical style would not be lost on hockey fans today.
Paired up with Dupont is Chris Pronger, whose tenure as a Flyer is short, but whose impact was substantial. Pronger is one of the team's best leaders, handling the media when team captain Mike Richards would not.
In addition, few defensemen are more physically imposing than a healthy Chris Pronger.
Starter: Bernie Parent
Backup: Ron Hextall
Every time a goalie comes through Philadelphia these days, he immediately gets the Hextall comparison.
Ron Hextall was the last reliable, iconic goaltender to wear a Flyers' uniform. Since then, the team has gone through the likes of Ray Emery, Martin Biron, Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher (twice). And those are the ones whose names you recognize.
Hextall clearly has a place on this roster due to his legacy, but the starting job goes to the man to whom Hextall was constantly compared: Bernie Parent.
Parent was a mainstay not just in the Philadelphia net, but on local bumper stickers as well. "Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent," read the novelty item.
Before losing his career to an errant stick that damaged his eye, Parent was the end-all, be-all of Flyers' goaltending.
Come to think of it, he still is.
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