Ranking the 5 Best Playmakers in Philadelphia Flyers History

Dan FremuthContributor IIIDecember 8, 2013

Ranking the 5 Best Playmakers in Philadelphia Flyers History

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    The stark reality is goal scorers tend to get most of the credit.

    Like home runs in baseball, it's the completion of the goal scoring sequence that's most often highlighted. But most goals aren't even possible without the playmakers that helped to make them possible.

    In the 46-year history of the Philadelphia Flyers, the orange and black have had plenty of exceptional playmakers.

    Here's a look at the top five in team history.

5. Claude Giroux

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    The Flyers' current captain may one day be higher up on this list. For now, though, he'll simply round out the handful of Philadelphia's top playmakers in franchise history.

    At just 25 years old, the Hearst, Ontario native has already produced 215 assists in just 362 career NHL outings. What's more, Philly's current leading scorer is pacing the orange and black with 15 assists this season after leading the team in helpers in each of the last three campaigns.

    Giroux is currently eighth on Philadelphia's all-time list with an average of 0.59 assists per game through the first five-plus seasons of his NHL career.

    The catalyst of Philly's offensive attack, Giroux possesses the speed, vision and overall dynamic hockey sense to create the kinds of plays most NHLers simply dream of.

4. Brian Propp

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    Brian Propp spent the majority of his 14-year NHL career in the City of Brotherly Love and produced 480 of his 579 career assists in a Flyers uniform.

    The Lanigan, Saskatchewan native registered 40 or more assists in a single season 10 times in his NHL career, including nine such campaigns in Philadelphia. In fact, Propp began his NHL and Flyers career with seven straight 40-assist seasons and reeled off three straight 50-plus-assist campaigns.

    His 480 career assists in a Flyers sweater still rank second on Philadelphia's all-time list behind only the legendary Bobby Clarke.

    What's more, the five-time All-Star ranks seventh on Philly's all-time list with an average of 0.61 assists per game over his 790-game career with the orange and black.

    Propp could absolutely score goals (second on Philadelphia's all-time list with 369 career conversions), but he was also incredibly adept at creating them.

3. Peter Forsberg

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    It's a testament to what a phenomenal playmaker Peter Forsberg was that, in just 100 career games with Philadelphia, he should appear on this list.

    In just 100 outings with the Flyers, Forsberg amassed 85 assists, which included a 56-helper campaign in just 60 games during the 2005-06 season.

    As was the case through much of his career, Foppa battled injuries during his time in the City of Brotherly Love, missing a combined 64 games in two seasons with the Flyers. Still, the two-time Stanley Cup champion ranks first on Philadelphia's all-time list with an astounding average of 0.85 assists per game during his stint with the orange and black.

    When healthy, Forsberg's vision and puck possession were second to none. He routinely created something out of nothing and instantly made each and every player around him better.

2. Eric Lindros

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    Eric Lindros may not have fully lived up to the hype that surrounded him following the 1991 NHL draft, but he still developed into one of the best playmakers in Flyers history.

    In 486 outings over eight injury-riddled seasons in Philadelphia, Lindros still managed to amass 369 assists. That total remains tied with Rick MacLeish for fifth on Philly's all-time list.

    The Big E notched at least 30 assists in each of his eight seasons with the Flyers and recorded six straight campaigns of at least 40 helpers from 1993 to 1999. That run included a career-high 68 assists during a 115-point campaign in 1995-96, which culminated with Lindros earning the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP for the third consecutive year.

    At 6'4", 240 pounds, Lindros possessed the physical stature to impose his will on virtually any opponent. That physical advantage, coupled with his innate hockey sense, helped the London, Ontario native produce the second-highest assists-per-game total (0.76) in franchise history.

1. Bobby Clarke

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    The face of the Philadelphia Flyers, it should come as no surprise to see Bobby Clarke as the top playmaker in team history.

    The Flin Flon, Manitoba native spent his entire 15-year NHL career in Philly and amassed a franchise-best 852 assists during a franchise-high 1,144 games.

    And Clarke doesn't just barely hold that helper distinction, he owns it. The eight-time All-Star recorded 372 more assists than the second-highest producer in team history (Propp, 480 assists).

    Clarke managed 30 or more assists in each of his 15 NHL campaigns and registered more than 40 helpers in each season over the final 13 years of his NHL career.

    His most impressive run came from 1974 to 1978, when the three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner notched 309 assists over a span of just 307 games.

    Clarke's vision, hockey sense and willingness to do whatever it took to create offense made him one of the game's dominant offensive weapons for a decade and the greatest playmaker in Philadelphia Flyers history.