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Ranking the 5 Greatest Centers in Philadelphia Flyers History

Michael PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIMay 21, 2013

Ranking the 5 Greatest Centers in Philadelphia Flyers History

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    The Philadelphia Flyers had some highly-talented centers on its roster throughout the team's history.

    Currently, the team's captain and center, Claude Giroux, is on pace to be an all-time Flyers great, but has much to prove in order to be in the company of his fellow alumni.

    These players possessed offensive, defensive, special teams and leadership abilities, while helping the Flyers succeed over the years. Here are the five greatest centers in Philadelphia Flyers history.

Honorable Mention: Jeremy Roenick

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    Jeremy Roenick played only three seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and made the most of each of them.

    In each season, he was selected to the NHL All-Star game—while compiling 67 goals and 106 assists in 216 regular season games. Roenick also helped lead the team to three consecutive playoff appearances, totaling 21 points in 36 postseason games.

    Roenick played a tough, yet smooth style of hockey and was loved during his short-lived career in Philadelphia.

5. Murray Craven

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    Murray Craven played eight seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, scoring 152 goals and totaling 424 points—good for fourth among Flyers centers.

    In 1984, Philadelphia sent aging-center Daryl Sittler to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Joe Patterson and Craven. The transaction proved worthy, as Sittler retired after the 1985 season and Craven excelled wearing the Orange and Black for seven more seasons.

    He was a durable and an integral part of the 1987 team, who lost the Stanley Cup in seven games to the mighty Edmonton Oilers.

4. Dave Poulin

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    Dave Poulin, the undrafted free agent, would eventually become the seventh captain in Flyershistory. He served the position from 1984-1989.

    He was a two-time all star and winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy during the 1986-1987 campaign. Poulin benefited from playing on a dominating line consisting of Brian Propp and Tim Kerr—making the most with his talented teammates.

    Poulin totaled 394 points, which ranks him fifth among Flyers centers. He was a hard-nosed and blue-collar fan favorite during his tenure with the team.

    Quite impressive for a player overlooked in the draft.

3. Mike Richards

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    Mike Richards was the very essence of a Philadelphia Flyer. He scored, hit, passed, defended and played with everything on the line.

    He served as the 17th captain in the team's history from 2008-2011, while totaling 349 points. During the 2008-2009 season, Richards led the NHL with seven short-handed goals and was a driving force on special teams throughout his career.

    Richards was also dominant during the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup run, scoring 23 points in 23 games but falling short to the Chicago Blackhawks in the final.

    The fiery center was the team's leader on and off the ice. And it's a crime he didn't win the cup as a member of the Flyers.

2. Eric Lindros

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    Love him or hate him, Eric Lindros was an incredible player.

    In 486 games over eight seasons, Lindros totaled 290 goals and 659 points during his Flyers career. Both good for second among Philadelphia centers. He also served as the 11th team captain during the period of 1994-2000.

    The ferocious center abruptly ended his career in Philly due to differences with then general manager Bobby Clarke, but made an impact during his time as a Flyer. Lindros totaled six all-star games and dominated the 1994-1995 season—collecting the scoring title, the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award.

    During the 1996-1997 season, Lindros led the Flyers to a Stanley Cup appearance—scoring 26 points in 19 games.

    Lindros will forever be one of the greatest Flyers of all time.

1. Bobby Clarke

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    Bobby Clarke played his entire 15 years in Philadelphia and is unquestionably the best center in Flyers history.

    He served as the third Flyers captain from 1973-1979, but had to forfeit his captaincy when he was named the team's assistant coach—while still a player. He then became the fifth captain, as he was no longer on the coaching staff, from 1982-1984.

    During his career, Clarke totaled 1,210 points in 1,144 games—both leading the Flyers for any position. He is an eight-time all star and two-time Stanley Cup champion. In 136 postseason games, the Philadelphia captain totaled 119 points.

    "The Broad Street Bully" was also a masterful passer and led the league in assists back-to-back seasons from 1974-1976, while racking up 1,453 penalty minutes.

    Clarke is the best center in Flyers history. Period.

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