Philadelphia Flyers: The 20 Greatest Snipers in Franchise History
The Philadelphia Flyers are a team with a deep rooted history.
Brought to the city by Ed Snider, the Flyers were a part of the National Hockey League's original expansion in the 1967-68 season, and became the first non-original six franchise to hoist the Stanley Cup, doing so in back-to-back seasons, 1974 and 1975.
Despite its proud history and overall success, the Flyers image has never been associated with corner-picking skill players, snipers, if you will.
No, hockey in Philadelphia will always be represented by a toothless Bobby Clarke hoisting the Stanley Cup, Slap Shot -esque pre-game brawls, and Ron Hextall jumping Chris Chelios, in the playoffs no less.
The Philadelphia Flyers are the Broad Street Bullies and the City of Brotherly Love would not have it any other way.
Nevertheless, the Flyers do have quite a few iconic (and several infamous) snipers in their franchise's history.
In the interest of bringing light to the more skilled side of Philadelphia's hockey past and present, I present the 20 greatest snipers in franchise history.
Let me know what you think.
20- Darroll Powe
Powe scoring one of his two penalty shot goals as a Flyer
Let's face it, 20 is a long list and the Flyers, as was mentioned in the introduction, are not a team known for their snipers and danglers.
With that in mind, and a personal desire to show an under-appreciated role player some love, I nominate Darroll Powe as the twentieth greatest sniper in Flyers history.
While the former Princeton captain only managed 43 points over 204 regular season games with Philly, Powe managed to go 2-for-3 on penalty shots, a more than respectable scoring percentage, especially considering how few chances a grinder like Powe gets over the course of a game to make a play.
I always found it odd Laviolette never opted to use Powe in shootouts, considering how poorly Flyers teams of the past have faired in the post-overtime shootout competitions.
So for Darroll Powe's over achievement on free breakaways to his generally admirable style of play, Powe, now with the Minnesota Wild, is No. 20.
Still with me? Only 19 more to go!
19- Gary Dornhoefer
Most fans my age really only know Gary Dornhoefer as a television analyst for the Flyers.
But over a ten year career in the orange and black, which began in their inaugural 1967-68 season, Dornhoefer amassed 219 regular and postseason goals, including the 1973 playoff overtime goal against the North Stars- a goal so important to Philadelphia's hockey history it has had a statue dedicated to it.
Dornhoefer is an original Flyer, still with the organization, and retired in second place on Philadelphia's all-time points list, and currently ranks eleventh in that category.
18- Rick Tocchet
Rick Tocchet is a sniper.
While this video clearly show Tocchet can "take someone out," much like a sniper, the fact cannot be over-looked that the two-time Flyer scored 232 regular season goals for the Flyers, tied for eleventh in franchise history (Recchi).
Tocchet is a classic "Philly guy," known more for his toughness and grit than skilled play, but 508 points and a +57 rating in 621 games as a Flyer indicate he was far more than the franchise leading 1,817 penalty minutes and countless scars, broken noses and black eyes.
Tocchet was a hockey player in every sense of the word, and could be classified in any category, including sniper, hence his inclusion on this list.
17- Jeremy Roenick
The goal that killed the Leafs
If Jeremy Roenick had spent more time in Philadelphia he would be higher on the list.
As it stands JR scored 67 goals in 216 games in the orange and black.
But the goal Roenick will always be remembered for in Philadelphia, and maybe even more so in Toronto, is the 2004 overtime sniping of Ed Belfour to send the Flyers to the Conference Finals.
Had the Cup come home to the City of Brotherly Love the finals prior to the lockout Roenick would have a statue very similar to Gary Dornhoefer's. Unfortunately that is not how things worked out.
Over 20 NHL season JR put up 513 goals, becoming the third US-born player ever to reach the 500-goal plateau.
While Roenick has had his ups and downs with the fans of Philadelphia during his playing days and well into retirement, there is no doubting his ability and what he brought to the ice night in and out.
16- Jaromir Jagr
Hartnell can make a pass every now and then
I am including Jaromir Jagr on the list because he is one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time.
Jagr currently has 6 goals through the first 17 games of his Broad Street Bully career, but even pushing 40 years old, most of the skills he displayed picking up the first 1,599 NHL points has been evident in the 17 he has scored in his comeback season.
No. 68 has been picking corners, dazzling with dangles and needle-threading passes- displaying the traits that established him as one of hockey's greatest snipers ever.
Maybe this one still very young season is not enough to qualify Jagr for this list, but I think every fan in the city will be singing the former Pittsburgh icon's praises come playoff time.
And his fun with line-mate Claude Giroux is just beginning- 20 games from now they will have had even more time to develop chemistry and render themselves indefensible, a tandem defensive pairs can only pray not to get matched up against.
By season's end I predict Jagr will have an even higher standing on this list.
15- Rod Brind'Amour
Not the prettiest, but he made it happen
Rod The Bod's 235 regular season goals still rank him in tenth place on Philadelphia's all-time scoring list, despite playing more than 200 more games as a Carolina Hurricane than Philadelphia Flyer.
But it was the way he played that will forever make him a legend in this city.
His hard work and determination reminded fans of a more athletic Rick Tocchet, and almost every Flyers fan has sat back and wondered "What if we had traded Lindros instead?"
Winning the Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes has made him "the one that got away," but Brind'Amour is still revered as an all-time great Flyer because of the heart he showed during his 633 games in orange and black.
Brind'Amour's claim to fame was in the faceoff circles, and he never finished a season with more goals than assists, but 452 regular season goals, plus 51 more in the playoffs rank Brind'Amour as a great scorer and one of the best in Flyers history.
14- Mark Recchi
Short-side shooters (is that a size joke?)
Mark Recchi's 232 goals tie him for eleventh all-time on the Flyers, having accomplished the feat in 19 fewer games than the aforementioned Rick Tocchet.
Recchi will be forever considered more of a "playmaker" than a true goal-scoring sniper, but he had an innate ability to create his own chances and cash in on them, to the tune of 638 total NHL goals over 1,841 games for the Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.
Recchi's flexibility to play in all phases of the game allowed for chances on every shift, and as demonstrated in the video, the little guy could snipe a spot when the time was right.
13- Jeff Carter
Ironic choice of opponents, I know
A true sniper can score from anywhere.
Jeff Carter may have frustrated fans with his inconsistent effort, but the man could shoot a hockey puck.
Carter was the epitome of a goal scorer during his six year tenure in Philly, netting totals of 23, 14, 29, 46, 33 and 36 over 461 regular season games with the Flyers.
Carter dominated the puck, and really never lived up to his billing. Despite the goal totals, Carter averaged 277 shots per season and only deposited about 10.5% of them in the back of the net for his career.
Still, his 0.40 goals per game is considerably higher than Bobby Clarke's average, which is saying something for a supposed "under-achiever."
But Carter's true undoing was his lack of productivity in the playoffs, where he saw his goals per game average drop to 0.28.
No matter the negativity, Carter's blistering wrist shot qualify him as a sniper, and his single season goal totals move him down to No. 13.
12- Danny Briere
Danny Briere was brought to Philly to put points on the board and that is exactly what he has done.
In 275 regular season games Danny Boy has netted 107 goals as a Philadelphia Flyer.
But Briere has earned the bulk of his eight-year, $52 million contract in the post season.
In 57 playoff games with the Flyers Briere has accrued 29 goals, good enough for ninth best on the franchise list. In fact, Briere is the only player in the top-10 in franchise playoff goals who has played in less than 73 games.
Briere's penchant for putting the puck past the goalie land him twelfth on the snipers list, but in appraising the career trajectory of similar players (Mark Recchi) it would not be surprising to see Briere considered among the all-time greats in Philly, given he finishes his career in the city.
11- Simon Gagne
Snipers score BIG goals.
Few Flyers can claim they have scored as many big goals as Simon Gagne.
No. 12's 32 playoff goals rank him eighth on the franchise list, and his six game winners in the post season are the fourth highest total in team history.
Who could forget Gagne's game six winner in overtime against Tampa Bay in 2004, or his pair of game winners against Boston during the comeback of 2010.
Simon Gagne was a true sniper, and his skill never shined brighter than when he was matched up with Peter Forsberg for 2005-06 and parts of 2006-07 when he was able to score 88 goals over two seasons once he was finally matched with a true playmaker.
Gagne's offensive talent sometimes overshadowed his strong defensive play, which seems to speak to his categorizing as a true sniper, no matter what he will be remembered for highlight goals.
10- Mark Howe
Recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Mark Howe scored 197 goals over 16 NHL season, including spending a decade in Philly, enough time to score 138 of those goals and become the franchise's all-time leading scoring defenseman in the process.
Howe posted 480 points as a Flyer, 14th all-time; his +349 rating in orange and black is second in franchise history to only Bobby Clarke's +506.
As a defenseman Howe makes the list based on how rare quality, puck-movers are at his position for this team: Howe's goal total makes him the only blue-liner in the Flyers' top-30 all-time scoring list.
9- Rick MacLeish
Rick MacLeish spent 12 of his 14 NHL seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 326 goals en route to earning sixth-place all-time on the Flyers career goal list.
In 1973 MacLeish became the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season, and scored the first and only goal in game six of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals to give the Flyers their first championship in franchise history.
MacLeish topped the 30-goal benchmark seven times as a Flyer, and was one of the legitimate goal scorers during the team's full fledged commitment to taking the rest of the league out until there was no other team left who could possibly be awarded the Stanley Cup.
8- Brian Propp
The Flyers drafted Brian Propp 14th overall in 1979 and he remained in the city until 1990, before finishing his career with the Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars and Hartford Whalers.
Propp scored 369 goals in 790 games as a Philadelphia Flyer- those numbers are second and third, respectively, in the franchise's record books.
7- Reggie Leach
Reggie Leach's 306 goals as a Flyer rank him seventh all-time on the franchise list.
But Leach's per-game productivity ranks him amongst the top two or three in Philadelphia history. Leach averaged 0.51 goals per game with the Flyers, higher than the averages of Rick MacLeish (0.44) and Brian Propp (0.47).
Compiling these stellar statistics in a shorter amount of time than several Bully Legends, Leach became the first Flyers player to score 50 goals in multiple seasons, doing so in 1976 (61) and 1980 (50).
In eight seasons with the Flyguys Leach managed to reach at least 30 goals six times, and never less than 24 in the other two.
Leach's 47 playoff goals rank him fourth all-time on the Flyers, and is the only non-goalie to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in a losing effort, following the Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 1976. Despite losing the series Leach was named playoff MVP after setting a record, scoring 19 goals in the playoffs.
6- John LeClair
Big John holds the distinction as the first US-born player to score 50 goals in a season, doing so in 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98.
LeClair was the last Philadelphia player to reach the 50-goal plateau, and his wicked slap shot remains legend throughout the city.
LeClair did score a majority of his 333 goals as a Flyer parked in front of the net, doing the dirty work, but there were plenty of shots old No. 10 sniped out as well.
And hell, he even once disagreed with the obstructions in front of him so much he decided to shoot the puck through the side of the net, and yes, it counted as a goal. Take that, Hasek!
LeClair ranks seventh on the Flyers all-time goals record, and in ten seasons with the Flyers only failed to reach the 20-goal mark twice, both in injury shortened seasons.
5- Tim Kerr
Tim Kerr has scored the third most goals in Flyers history, having put the puck in the net 363 time over his 601 game career in Philadelphia.
Kerr recorded four straight 50+ goal seasons from 1984-1987, and his 39 goals in 79 playoff games with Philly are the sixth most in franchise history.
Kerr's 0.60 goals per game average is tied with Eric Lindros for highest among the franchise's all-time leading scorers.
4- Eric Lindros
Simply stated, Eric Lindros is my favorite hockey player of all-time and he could do anything on the ice, including playing the sniper role.
Big E is eighth on the Flyers all-time record list with 290 goals, but reached the total in only 486 games with the club.
Lindros could pass, skate, hit and fight. He did all of these things so well scoring almost took a backseat to making everything else on the ice happen.
No. 88 put up no fewer than 27 goals in each of his eight seasons in Philadelphia, including four 40 goal seasons and two with out-puts in the 30s.
Eric Lindros is the best all-around player in franchise history, but injuries, a vindictive general manager and overprotective parents/agents deprived us all of seeing an all-time great.
Nevertheless, Lindros makes my list as the fourth greatest sniper in Flyers history, and honestly it was tough not to make him number one.
3- Ron Hextall
Forget about the Philadelphia Flyers record book, Ron Hextall is the all-time leading scorer at his position in NHL history.
Maybe the statistics suggest he's not a sniper, having only accumulated two goals over the course of his entire career, but he is a goalie- most skaters even question why Hextall's kind are even given sticks.
But still, Hextall was the first goaltender to shoot and score a goal, and later became the first goalie to do the same in the playoffs.
Copy-cat Marty Brodeur has since tied Hextall's stats, but Sexy Hexy still gets props for doing it first.
2- Bill Barber
Bill Barber, the Flyers all-time leading goal scorer, has netted 420 regular season and 53 playoff goals over a span of 1,032 games in his Flyers career.
Barber is sometimes the forgotten man in the Bobby Clarke-Dave Schultz-Bernie Parent equation, but his numbers speak for themselves.
1- Claude Giroux
I realize this is only the beginning of what is hopefully the third full season of Claude Giroux's career and I am comparing him to the best players in a storied franchise's history.
But Giroux, whose career high goal total was set at 25 last season, is only 23-years old and has progressed every year since starting his NHL career.
Although Giroux has shown the potential to be a star playmaker, he has added what seems to be a natural scoring touch to his repertoire that was absent before.
Under the tutelage of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, Claude Giroux is budding into the league's next great superstar.
Through the first 17 games this year Giroux has 11 goals to match 11 assists and appears well on his way to becoming as great of a sniper as he is a passer.
While this may be reading into his future a bit, but Giroux, by the end of his career, will be considered, by far, the greatest sniper in franchise history.
There's the list, and again, let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!