Ranking the Philadelphia Flyers' 5 Best Highlight-Makers in the Last Decade

Dan Fremuth@@hometownphanContributor IIIAugust 12, 2014

Ranking the Philadelphia Flyers' 5 Best Highlight-Makers in the Last Decade

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Flyers have had a host of highlight-makers in the team's 47-year history.

    But the orange and black have arguably never had a more dynamic set of highlight-makers than the City of Brotherly Love and its fans have seen over the last 10 years.

    It's been one of the most back-and-forth, up-and-down and entertaining decades in Flyers' history, and it's been showcased by some of the most exciting players in team history.

    For the purpose of this breakdown, several factors were considered when determining the final rankings.

    Of course, highlight-reel goals weighed very heavily, but additional consideration was also given to highlight-reel finishes at crucial moments during the postseason. In addition, a player's ability to generate highlights through other means (hits, fights, etc.) also factored into a player's final ranking.

    With that, here's a look at the Flyers' five best highlight-makers over the last decade.

5. Peter Forsberg

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    Even though he was only with the Flyers for just two seasons, Peter Forsberg supplied more than his fair share of highlight-reel moments during his tenure in Philadelphia.

    In just 106 total games (regular season and postseason) with the orange and black, the Swedish native produced 34 goals, 89 assists and 123 points.

    Despite missing 22 games during his inaugural season with the Flyers, Forsberg still managed to finish second among all Philadelphia skaters in scoring with 75 points. And even though the 6'0", 205-pound playmaker suited up in just 40 games in Philadelphia during the 2006-07 season before being dealt to the Nashville Predators, he still managed to finish fourth on the roster with 40 points.

    Forsberg's opening campaign in Philly was the first year shootouts were implemented to determine tie games following overtime, and the dynamic Swede put together a few highlight-reel finishes while going 3-for-7 in shootouts during the 2005-06 season.

    Really, just about everything Forsberg did was highlight-worthy. His puck possession skills were pure magic, while his vision and playmaking abilities were unlike any other player in the NHL at that time.

4. Daniel Briere

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    Over six seasons with the Flyers, Daniel Briere recorded 124 goals, 159 assists and 283 points in 364 regular-season outings. What's more, the Gatineau, Quebec native contributed an additional 37 goals and 72 points in 68 playoff contests with the orange and black.

    During that time, Briere established himself as one of Philadelphia's preeminent highlight-makers over the last decade.

    The diminutive forward began his Flyers' career with a bang, recording his third career hat trick just 20 games into his tenure in Philadelphia in a 6-3 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 21, 2007. Then, in the midst of what would prove to be his second-to-last season with the Flyers, Briere notched another hat trick (and his third career fight) as he scored all three goals in a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 7, 2012.

    In between, the seemingly undersized 5'10", 180-pound forward displayed an uncanny ability to score from around the opposition's net. Despite his lack of physical stature, Briere never seemed to quit in the offensive zone and had a sniper's nose for the net.

    But what was most impressive about Briere's time in Philadelphia was his frequent ability to rise to the occasion in the playoffs.

    All told, he managed 1.06 points-per-game with the Flyers during the postseason. During Philly's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, Briere had one of the most remarkable playoff runs in Flyers' history when he notched 30 points in 23 games. Then, just two years later, he snapped in the overtime game-winner in Game 1 of Philadelphia's Eastern Conference Semifinal showdown with the New Jersey Devils.

3. Simon Gagne

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    Simon Gagne was technically contributing highlight-reel finishes in Philadelphia even before this most recent decade of Flyers hockey.

    Down three games to two in the 2004 Eastern Conference Final, Philly needed a goal in overtime to force Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and got it courtesy of Gagne.

    But the Quebec native's flair for the dramatic and ability to finish didn't stop there.

    Over the last 10 years, Gagne spent six seasons with the Flyers, compiling 151 goals and 290 points in just 337 total games. The former first-round pick from the 1998 NHL Entry Draft paced the Flyers in both goals and points during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and contributed an additional 20 goals and 32 points in 50 postseason outings during that time.

    Among those playoff conversions were two immortal strikes in Philadelphia's miraculous come-from-behind seven-game triumph over the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

    First, Gagne netted the overtime game-winning goal in Game 4 in Philadelphia to simply extend the series beyond its minimum requirement. And then, the then-30-year-old sniper converted one of the biggest goals of his career when he broke a 3-3 deadlock in the third period of Game 7 in Boston to propel the Flyers to an unprecedented comeback and a trip to the Eastern Conference Final.

2. Mike Richards

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    During his time in Philadelphia, Mike Richards didn't net as many goals as Gagne and wasn't as dynamic in the playoffs as Briere, but he rises above both on this list because of his ability to hit the highlight reel in a variety of ways.

    Of course, the Kenora, Ontario native contributed more than his fair share of highlight-reel conversions.

    In six seasons with the Flyers, Richards netted 133 total goals and managed 28 goals or more in three straight campaigns from 2007 to 2010. What's more, he chipped in an additional 16 goals and 50 points in 63 postseason contests.

    And it was there in the playoffs that the quintessential Richards highlight emerged.

    In Game 5 of Philadelphia's 2010 Eastern Conference Final clash with the Montreal Canadiens, the captain's tenacious work ethic while shorthanded created a scoring chance at the offensive end, a hit and a takeaway back in the defensive zone before leading to a breakout chance back the other way, a collision with goaltender Carey Price and an eventual tap-in at the goal line.

    It's the kind of sequence that instantly endeared Richards to Philly fans and has appeared on the best Flyers' highlight reels ever since.

    But that shift also epitomized the physical grit and tenacity Richards brought to the ice night after night.

    He never, ever shied away from the physical stuff. Just ask Tom Poti. Or David Krejci. Or David Booth.

    And of course, Richards wasn't afraid to drop the gloves when necessary either.

1. Claude Giroux

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    Over the last 10 years, no player has paced the Flyers in total scoring more often than Claude Giroux.

    The Hearst, Ontario native has been Philadelphia's best player over the last four years and has led the Flyers in scoring in each of those four campaigns. All told, the 26-year-old pivot has tallied 119 goals and 377 points in 415 career games with the orange and black.

    During that time, there's been plenty of highlight-worthy finishes from Philly's newest captain. From his overtime game-winning goal in Game 3 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final to his ridiculous shootout conversion against the Toronto Maple Leafs in March 2010, to his jaw-dropping, no-look, backhand conversion against the Columbus Blue Jackets last December.

    But what makes Giroux such a special player is he's not a one-dimensional talent. In fact, it's his multi-faceted game that's made him one of the league's top talents and Philadelphia's top highlight-maker over the last decade.

    He hits. He fights. And he knows how to set the tone at the most crucial times.