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Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Numbers That Could Be Retired

Joe BoylanCorrespondent IIJanuary 7, 2017

Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Numbers That Could Be Retired

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    The Philadelphia Flyers have a long and storied history and have had a number of great players along the way. With Mark Howe's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Flyers now have four players in the Hall of Fame that played a majority of their careers with the team. Bobby Clarke's No. 16, Bernie Parent's No. 1, Bill Barber's No. 7 and Barry Ashbee's No. 4 have all been retired.

    Here is a look at five players that an argument could be made for having their numbers retired as well.

Mark Howe: No. 2

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    Mark Howe is the greatest defenseman ever to play for the Flyers. His induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame firmly establishes him as one of the premier defensemen in the history of the league. His unreal plus/minus rating in the 1985-86 is by far the greatest season by a defenseman in Flyers history. Howe was a huge part of those Stanley Cup Finals teams in the 1980s.

    He was the four time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' best defenseman, was the Bobby Clarke Trophy winner in 1985-86 as the team's MVP and he won the 1986 Emery Edge Award for having the league's best plus/minus. He was a first-team All Star three times and played in the NHL's midseason All Star game four times.

Ron Hextall: No. 27

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    Ron Hextall revolutionized the way the goaltender position was played. His amazing stick handling and puck clearing ability made him a de facto third defenseman. He's the winningest goaltender in team history in both the regular season and the playoffs and led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals twice. Rod Brind'Amour has called Hextall the best goalie he ever played with and Wayne Gretzky famously called Hextall the greatest goalie he ever faced. He has a Vezina and Conn Smythe trophy to boot and if ever there was a personification of "Flyers Hockey" Hextall would be your man.

    He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team's MVP three times. He was a first team All Star in 1987 and was on the NHL All Star team in 1986-87 and 1987-88.

    He is the holder of the following records:

    NHL Most career goals by a goaltender, including playoffs – 2.
    NHL Most penalty minutes by a goaltender in a single season – 113 in 1987-88
    Flyers Most career games played by a goaltender – 489
    Flyers Most career wins – 240
    Flyers Most career playoff wins – 45
    Flyers Most career points by a goaltender – 28
    Flyers Most career penalty minutes by a goaltender – 476

Eric Lindros: No. 88

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    It'll never happen. Not with the acrimonious way in which Lindros departed Philadelphia, but if you honestly look at it, Eric Lindros' No. 88 should be retired. He dominated the 90s for the team, reversing the fortunes of the franchise. He's ranked fifth all-time in points for the club, despite playing only eight years in Philadelphia. His playoff performance in 1997 was legendary and he is one of only two Flyers to capture the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

    Bob Clarke, who had the most trouble with Lindros during that terrible split, is on record saying he believes Lindros should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    Lindros won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP more times than any other recipient (four times).

    He made the All Star game six seasons as a Flyer. He was on the NHL All Rookie Team, was once a NHL First Team All Star and once an NHL second team All Star.

John LeClair: No. 10

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    John LeClair excelled in Philadelphia on Eric Lindros' wing. When he arrived in Philadelphia and was teamed up with Lindros and winger Mikael Renberg to form the Legion of Doom, they became the most dominant line in hockey, propelling the Flyers from basement dwellers to perennial Stanley Cup contenders. LeClair became the first Flyer since Tim Kerr to score multiple 50-goal seasons when he netted fifty-plus in the 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. He was a star player on the Stanley Cup Finals team of 1997 and the Eastern Conference Finals teams of 2000 and 2004.

    He won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

    He holds these records:

    NHL First All-Star Team (1994–95, 1997–98)
    NHL Second All-Star Team (1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99)
    NHL Plus/Minus Award (1996–97, 1998–99)
    Played in NHL All-Star Game (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)

Tim Kerr: No. 12

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    Tim Kerr was truly an unstoppable force in front of the net for the Flyers. He took a beating and sacrificed his body for almost every single one of the 363 goals he scored for the Flyers. He scored over 50 goals four straight seasons for the Flyers. His streak of multiple seasons with fifty-plus goals ended with a horrific shoulder injury that would've ended the careers of lesser men. He had to have five shoulder operations in a 14-month period.

    Had the Flyers had Kerr healthy in the 1987 Playoffs when they took the Edmonton Oiler Juggernaut to seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals, the outcome could've been different.

    He owns these records:

    The NHL single-season record for most power-play goals (34 in 1985-86)
    The Philadelphia Flyers team record for most 50-goal seasons (4)
    Tied the NHL playoff record for most goals in a period (4 on April 13, 1985)
    The NHL playoff record for most power-play goals in a period (3 on April 13, 1985)

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