Ranking the 5 Best Free-Agent Signings in Philadelphia Flyers' History

Dan FremuthContributor IIIMay 12, 2013

Ranking the 5 Best Free-Agent Signings in Philadelphia Flyers' History

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    While Stanley Cup dreams still remain for better than a third of the NHL, the offseason is officially underway for the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The Orange and Black have plenty of holes to fill after missing the postseason for just the second time in the past 18 seasons.

    Philadelphia can aim for long-term solutions in the upcoming draft, but more immediate fixes are likely to be found either via trades or free agency.

    Trades will obviously cost the team existing assets, and well-negotiated, well-timed free-agent acquisitions can cost a club cap space. But a good addition can put a team over the top.

    The Flyers will likely be extremely active in the free-agent market, and with that, here are the five best free-agent signings in Flyers' history.

5. Mike Knuble

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    After a lockout cancelled the 2004-05 season, the Flyers inked rugged winger Mike Knuble to play alongside Simon Gagne and fellow free-agent signee Peter Forsberg.

    Knuble responded with his best season as a pro.

    A career-high 34 goals and 65 points was the start of four tremendously productive campaigns for Knuble in Philadelphia. While he never reproduced those stellar numbers, Knuble provided leadership in the locker room and consistency on the ice, recording at least 24 goals and 47 points in each of his four seasons in the City of Brotherly Love.

    All told, Knuble amassed 118 goals, 111 assists and 229 points in 338 games with the Flyers.

    The Flyers qualified for the playoffs in three of Knuble's five seasons, with the Toronto native amassing 14 points in 24 postseason games in Philly.

4. Luke Richardson

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    Richardson joined the Flyers in advance of the 1997-98 season and provided five seasons of solid defense on Philadelphia's back end.

    Never a tremendous point producer (he amassed just 35 points in 387 games with the Flyers), Richardson provided a steadying presence on Philly's defense corps for a handful of years.

    During his time with the Orange and Black, Richardson solidified himself as one of the league's more consistent stay-at-home defenders, compiling at least 100 penalty minutes in all five seasons with the Flyers while missing just a total of 33 regular-season games during his tenure in Philadelphia.

    It certainly won't go down as one of the more glorious free-agent acquisitions, but it certainly proved to be one of the most valuable in team history.

3. Daniel Briere

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    Briere's most productive days may be behind him, but for the past six seasons, he's been one of the go-to offensive weapons for the Orange and Black.

    After the Flyers missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons, Philadelphia needed to make a bold statement to ensure the club would rebound quickly. As a result, the Flyers inked Briere to a massive eight-year, $52 million contract in the summer of 2007.

    In six years since, Briere has recorded 124 goals, 159 assists and 283 points in 364 career regular-season games in Philadelphia.

    And while his regular-season production lacked the consistency the Flyers were hoping for, Briere's playoff success was money well spent.

    The Gatineau, Quebec native recorded 37 goals, 35 assists and 72 points in 68 postseason games with the Flyers. What's more, Briere was the best player on the team in 2010 when he amassed 30 points in 23 games while helping the Flyers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

2. Jeremy Roenick

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    Roenick was the perfect signing for the Flyers.

    He brought consistent on-ice production along with a personality that was perfect for Philadelphia.

    In three seasons with the Orange and Black, Roenick registered 67 goals, 106 assists and 173 points in 216 regular-season games.

    Even in the latter stages of his career, the Boston native managed at least 19 goals and 47 points in each of his three seasons in the City of Brotherly Love while providing an open, vivid personality in a market that often devours personalities.

    The Flyers reached the postseason in each of Roenick's three seasons, and the 20-year pro notched 13 points in 18 postseason games during his final playoff run in Philly.

1. Tim Kerr

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    The Flyers' best free-agent signing ever also just happens to be one of Philadelphia's best to ever take the ice.

    Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Flyers in 1980, Kerr went on to produce 363 goals, 287 assists and 650 points in 601 career games in Philadelphia.

    After 54 goals in his first three seasons with the Orange and Black, Kerr erupted in 1983, recording the first of four straight 50-goal campaigns, including back-to-back 58-goal seasons in 1985-86 and 1986-87.

    He currently ranks third of all time in Flyers' history in goals and sixth in points. He's also produced the most 50-goal seasons (four) in Philadelphia history.