Philadelphia Flyers: Best Players in History by Number
The Flyers have a long and storied history; just ask them, and they'll tell you. The team just announced they will be retiring No. 2 in honor of recent Hall of Fame inductee Mark Howe.
Howe's No. 2 will be the fifth number retired by the Flyers, joining Bernie Parent's No. 1, Barry Ashbee's No. 4, Bill Barber's No. 7 and Bobby Clarke's No. 16.
In honor of No. 2 being retired, here's a look at the best Flyers players ever to wear each number. Being that the Flyers are a hockey team and not a football team, and therefore did not have many players wear No. 73 for example, we'll limit this to only numerals worn by at least three significant players in the team's history.
So, strap in and get ready for a long trip through Flyers history.
1. Bernie Parent
The Greatest goalie in Flyers' history, Parent twice led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Championship in the 1973-'74 and '74-'75 seasons. During those two seasons he played in 73 and 68 games, respectively, winning a mind-boggling combined 91 games.
He originally wore No. 30 during his first stint with the team from 1967-1971. The Flyers traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the '70-'71 season. After a stint in the doomed WHA playing for the equally doomed Philadelphia Blazers, Keith Allen brought Parent back to the Flyers.
The rest, as they say, is history.
2. Mark Howe
Howe, hands down the Flyers' best defenseman, never won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman but he was always in the running.
In 1985-'86 he was the NHL's plus/minus leader with an astounding plus-85, which is only second all-time to some guy named Wayne Gretzky (plus-98).
He was an anchor on defense for those 1980s Flyers teams that twice went to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to have to face the Edmonton Oilers each time.
He won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers' best defenseman four times.
He is just the fourth player who spent a majority of his career with the Flyers to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
3. Tom Bladon
Tom Bladon played for the Flyers from 1972-1978. Along the way he was a key contributor to the Flyers Cup teams. For his Flyers career he is a plus-186.
He is best remembered, though, for the game against the Cleveland Barons on December 11, 1977. That night he scored four goals and added four assists, becoming the first defenseman and (at the time) only the fourth person in NHL history to score eight points in one game. He also had a plus/minus rating of plus-10 in that game which is also an NHL record.
4. Barry Ashbee
Barry Ashbee was not the most talented player ever to lace up skates, but he was one of the most determined. He made up for any lack of skill with his heart and grit.
He was a character guy on those Broad Street Bullies teams and he could fight with the best of them when necessary.
His career was cut short by a gruesome eye injury in 1974. The next season the Flyers retired his No. 4 and named a trophy given to the team's best defenseman in his honor.
His sudden death from leukemia in 1977—while serving as a Flyers assistant coach—was a shock to the franchise.
5. Frank Bathe
Not a lot of "great" Flyers wore the No. five. The Kerry Huffmans, Ric Natresses and Rob Ramages of the world donned No. 5 for the orange and black. So, it's pretty slim pickings.
I'm giving it to Frank Bathe.
1) He was a solid defenseman who had a snarl to him.
2) He played on "The Streak" team in 1979-80.
3) He fought hated rivals such as Lindy Ruff and Ron Dougay. During this fight against Ruff apparently both players thought they were boxers and not hockey players. There was more clutching and grabbing in Ali-Fraizer II than the beginning of this brawl.
6. Andre "Moose" DuPont
Andre Moose Dupont was a ferocious defenseman on the Broad Street Bully teams.
He had a powerful shot from the point. His most famous point drive was deflected into the goal by Rick MacLeish and was the game winner in the clincher for the Flyers' first Stanley Cup.
He played for both Cup Champion teams, the team that beat the Soviet Red Army Team and "The Streak" team that went undefeated for 35 straight games in 1979-80.
He had a plus-269 as a Flyer for his career and was one of the most beloved characters on those 1970s teams.
7. Bill Barber
Hall of Famer, all-time franchise leader in goals, Bobby Clarke's left winger, major part of two Stanley Cups, one-time team captain, and brutal fore-checker Bill Barber is the franchise's greatest winger.
He scored fifty goals in 1975-76 season and recorded at least 20 goals in each of his 12 years as a Flyer.
He played in the NHL's mid-season All-Star Game six times; he was once named an NHL First-Team All-Star and twice an NHL Second-Team All-Star.
He retired in 1985, having missed the entire 1984-85 season due to injury.
Unlike previous Flyers who had their numbers retired (Ashbee, Parent and Clarke) the Flyers waited until a year after Barber was inducted into the Hall of Fame to retire his number. In the years between Barber's retirement and the team's retiring of his jersey number, Jay Wells, Craig Fisher and "The Great" Brian Dobbin all wore No. 7 for the Flyers.
8. Mark Recchi
Mark Recchi was a budding superstar when the Flyers landed him in a blockbuster deal that sent Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson and Ken Wregget to Pittsburgh in 1992.
He was paired with Eric Lindros when the team acquired the center the following season. In 1995 Recchi was dealt in yet another franchise-transforming blockbuster trade to the Montreal Canadiens for John LeClair, Eric Desjardins and Gilbert Dionne.
The Flyers reacquired him in 1999 for Dainus Zubrus, meaning that for a period of time the Flyers had John LeClair, Eric Desjardins and Mark Recchi on their roster in exchange for Dainus Zubrus. Not bad.
He has 627 career Flyers points and scored his 1,000th career point while a member of the team, becoming only the third player to do so in a Flyers uniform behind Bobby Clarke and Darryl Sitler.
After the lost lockout season of 2004-05 the Flyers jettisoned Recchi, figuring he was past his prime, and the team wanted to make room for the likes of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
9. Pelle Eklund
A great play-making center for the Flyers in the 1980s, Pelle Eklund made a career of setting up Flyers greats likes of Tim Kerr and Brian Propp topping the 50 assist mark in three separate seasons.
Eklund was an offensive star for the Flyers in the 1987 playoffs, finishing fourth overall in scoring and recording the second most assists in that postseason behind some guy named Gretzky.
His best game in the playoffs came in the Wales Conference Finals against the Canadiens when he scored a hat trick in Montreal.
He amassed 452 points for the Flyers in his career and gave everyone a chance to root for a center named "Per-Erik."
10. John LeClair
As Bobby Clarke had Bill Barber, Eric Lindros had John LeClair.
An aggressive winger who would bulldoze over people on the fore-check, LeClair possessed one of the meanest slapshots ever.
He scored over 50 goals in three straight seasons and between 40 and 50 in two others. He was one-third of the Legion of Doom, one of the most dominant lines in NHL history and was a consistent playoff performer in many deep playoff runs.
11. Kevin Dineen
No. 11, like No. 5, is a tough one. Not a lot to choose from.
Kevin Dineen was very good for the Flyers, but not great. But Kevin Dineen came to the Flyers at the nadir of their existence. He brought leadership to the team and for two seasons he and Rod Brind'Amour were pretty much the only reasons to watch the Flyers. He bridged the gap between those awful teams that failed to make the playoffs and the "Legion of Doom" era.
Also, as captain during Eric Lindros' first years with the Flyers, Dineen provided a role model in terms of leadership for the young superstar.
Honorable Mention: Don Saleski
12. Tim Kerr
Tim Kerr was a hardworking, dominant force for the Flyers. Unfortunately, he sacrificed his body so much that he missed key points in the playoffs for those 1980s Flyers teams. The 1987 Stanley Cup Finals could've ended differently had the Flyers had a healthy Tim Kerr in the lineup.
He scored exceeded 50 goals in each season between 1983 and 1987, scoring 54, 54, 58 and 58, respectively.
His one-man domination of the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the 1985 Patrick Division Semifinals was one for the ages.
In 601 games played for the Flyers, he amassed 650 points.
Honorable Mention: Simon Gagne
13. Claude LaPointe
If No. 5 and No. 11 had slim pickings, No. 13 is a barren desert.
Only four players in Flyers history have worn No. 13.
Claude LaPointe only played 56 games for the Flyers, recording only five goals and seven assists. He had some weird blood feud with his cat as well.
BUT he's not Dan Carcillo. So, LaPointe gets the nod pretty much by default as being the greatest Flyer ever to wear No. 13.
14. Joe Watson
Joe Watson was an original Flyer. He was there from day one.
When he was informed that he was drafted from the Bruins by the Flyers in the 1967 expansion draft—while working as a flag man for the British Columbia Public Works Department—he was very depressed at the notion of switching from playing in Boston with the great Bobby Orr to entering an expansion team.
Watson fit right in, however, and he developed into a great defensive defenseman for the Stanley Cup teams in the '70s as well as becoming a fan favorite.
Honorable Mention: Run Sutter.
15. Terry Crisp
Terry Crisp was the fiery, ginger-haired, checking line center for the Broad Street Bully teams. He was a key component in that team's Stanley Cup victories. He served as Bobby Clarke's alternate captain much of the short time he was with the Flyers.
Those leadership qualities translated well into his post-playing career as he became a successful head coach in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup in 1989 as coach of the Calgary Flames.
16. Bobby Clarke
Heart and soul of the franchise for most of its existence. Arguably the greatest leader in all of sports. The Flyers' all-time leader in assists and points.
Led the team to their only two Stanley Cup Championships. The Flyers named the trophy given to the team MVP after him.
17. Rod Brind'Amour
Rod Brind'Amour never put up gaudy numbers but he was consistently one of the hardest-working players on the ice night in and night out. This work ethic quickly made him a fan favorite.
He was also incredibly well rounded as a player, able to produce offensively and defensively. This ability to play great defense as a forward led him to later win two Selke Trophies with the Carolina Hurricanes. (Oddly, however, he finished his Flyers career as a minus-3.)
He was a team leader, serving as Kevin Dineen's and Eric Lindros' alternate captain and wore the "C" when Lindros was out of the lineup.
He was traded in 2000 for Keith Primeau in a deal that still divides the fanbase. He went on to play 10 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, leading them as team captain to the Stanley Cup in 2006 and eventually have his No. 17 retired by that franchise.
18. Mike Richards
He was constantly billed as the next Bobby Clarke, which is a lot of pressure to say the least. Richards never lived up to those expectations. He also had the captaincy thrust upon him before he was ready, which hampered his game and the franchise during his three-year tenure as team captain.
However, during that stretch the team inexplicably went on Stanley Cup Finals runs after catching some breaks in the earlier rounds: namely, not having to face either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals in the postseason and then playing the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadians in the Conference Finals.
It was during that series that Richards played probably the best shift of his career.
Richards was a very good two-way player and logged a lot of ice time for the team. If the expectations of him weren't so incredibly high he probably would have been thought of better.
In the end his enormous contract would not match the third line center role that he'd be required to play with the emergence of star center Claude Giroux, and Richards was traded in the 2011 offseason after a disappointing second-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
Still there is a large portion of the fanbase that loved the guy.
19. Rick MacLeish
With that long flowing hair and thick mustache, Rick MacLeish looked like he was a roadie for Foghat. What he was, in fact, was a potent sniper for the Flyers during their 70's heyday. He's a member of both the 50-goal and 100-point clubs and is most famous for scoring the winning goal that clinched the Flyers their first ever Stanley Cup in 1974.
20. Dave Poulin
Dave Poulin had an enormous task: replacing Bobby Clarke as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers probably couldn't have found a better man for the job.
With Poulin as captain, the team made it to the Finals twice in three seasons only to fall to the Edmonton Oilers each time.
Poulin played through numerous injuries and it seemed each time he returned to the lineup, whether with broken ribs or a broken foot, he'd score a clutch goal. None probably more memorable than his two-man shorthanded goal in the clinching game of the 1985 Wales Conference Finals against Quebec. Scored, by the way, by Poulin wearing a flak jacket to protect his broken ribs.
21. Dave Brown
Dave Brown was by no means a great hockey player. But he was a great Flyer, and the greatest ever to wear No. 21 for the team.
For a franchise that prides itself on its rough and tumble image and has a long line of enforcers who have suited up in the orange and black, Dave Brown was the best at what he did.
Brown was a southpaw, which seemed to catch a lot of his early opponents off guard.
As his career went along and his reputation as a pugilist grew, Brown took on all comers. Never backing down from some of the toughest guys ever to play in the NHL, Brown rarely lost a fight.
He, of course, was part of the infamous pre-game brawl against Montreal in 1987.
Brown also set up Lindsay Carson in the famous Game 6 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals to put the Flyers on the board en route to their historic comeback. That a fourth line enforcer like Brown and a checking line winger like Carson would combine to score the Flyers' first goal of the game against the elite Edmonton Oilers speaks volumes about the depth and heart of that 1987 Flyers team.
After a stint with Edmonton, Brown returned to the Flyers and picked up where he left off. He was the police man of the team, protecting the smaller, more skilled players and challenging the opposition's toughest guys.
A personal favorite moment was a game in December of 1991. The Flyers were playing the Islanders. Brad Jones was a quick, stick-handling center for the Flyers. He was not a fighter by any stretch. He was also coming back from a broken nose injury which kept him out of the lineup.
For whatever reason, Islanders tough guy Ken Baumgartner jumped Brad Jones and pounded him into oblivion. It was an unprovoked and uncalled for attack by a goon on a non-fighter.
During Baumgartner's first shift out of the box, he found himself lined up against Dave Brown who seemed to take special pleasure in destroying the Islander. Brown broke Baumgartner's orbital bone and at one point seemed to be strangling him.
As Brown aged he started trying different gimmicks to give himself the upper hand against younger combatants. These included dropping his gloves, removing his helmet, jersey and elbow pads immediately. It only worked with varying degrees of success.
Still, at the end of his career, Tie Domi couldn't beat him.
22. Rick Tocchet
Rick Tocchet was selected in the sixth round of the 1983 entry draft by the Flyers. He made the team in 1984 along with other youngsters like Peter Zezel, Derrick Smith, Dave Brown and Todd Bergen. That team became the youngest in NHL history to qualify for the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tocchet was originally known as a fighter. He only put up 39 points as a rookie but amassed 181 penalty minutes.
He developed his offensive skills and became a very good power forward who could dish out devastating body checks as well as score goals and set up teammates.
He was always a fan favorite from game one for his rugged style of play, but he also became a respected team leader and four-time All-Star.
Twice he scored over 40 goals and recorded over 100 penalty minutes for the Flyers, a rare feat and a testament to Tocchet's perfect balance of aggressive play and goal-scoring ability.
He bounced around the league for a few seasons, winning a Stanley Cup in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, before returning to the Flyers in 2000.
He was a respected veteran leader and a contributor to the Flyers' deep playoff run in 2000.
He retired as a Flyer during the 2001-2002 season still a fan favorite.
23. Ilkka Sinisalo
Ilkka Sinisalo joined the Flyers on February 14, 1981.
He started his first season with the Flyers by making history, scoring his first NHL goal on a penalty shot against Pittsburgh Penguins. He thus became the first Flyer to record his first goal on a penalty shot.
During the 1984-85 season, Sinisalo became one of coach Mike Keenan’s most trusted players, totalling 73 points in 70 games and recording an outstanding plus-32 rating.
Twice Sinisalo scored over 30 goals for the Flyers. His 1986-87 season was interrupted by a bad knee injury which limited the Finn to just 42 games during which he tallied 10 goals and 21 assists. He returned for the 86-87 playoffs, recording five goals and one assist.
Sinisalo finished his Flyers career as one of the franchise's best European players, recording 408 points in 526 games and recording a career plus-135.
24. Sami Kapanen
Sami Kapanen was the type of player Flyers fans fell in love with: diminutive in stature but with a heart the size of the First Union, uh, Wachovia, uh, I mean Wells Fargo Center.
He had good hands, good defensive presence and wasn't afraid to go in the corners.
He did anything that was asked of him for the team, including playing defense in the 2004 playoffs when asked by coach Ken Hitchcock whose defensive corps was depleted and, further, despite having his small body being physically beaten down. He staved off retirement to play one last season at the request of Flyers GM Bob Clarke.
25. Keith Primeau
It took Flyers fans awhile to warm up to Keith Primeau; after all, the franchise traded fan favorite Rod Brind'Amour for him. But once they fell in love with him, he remained in their hearts forever.
Primeau scored two of the most historic goals in Flyers history. The first was the overtime winner in the eighth period of hockey in the 2000 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the second was his season-saving goal in Game 6 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.
His dominant performance in the 2004 playoffs, during which he scored 16 points in 18 games, cemented his legacy with Flyers fans.
Honorable Mention: Peter Zezel
26. Brian Propp
Brian Propp was a sniper on the left wing for the Flyers for 11 seasons. He recorded 369 goals and 480 assists for 849 points in 790 games. He played on "The Streak" team of 1979-80 that went 35 games unbeaten as well as the two Stanley Cups Finals teams of 1985 and 1987. He played on a line with Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach his rookie year.
He was a great penalty killer and dangerous even while the Flyers were a man down as he scored 20 short-handed goals in his career with the Flyers. He was also clutch, having tallied 55 game-winning goals with the club.
He was on pace to have his best season of his career in 1986-87 when he shattered his knee. He rehabbed the rest of the season and was back in the lineup in time for the playoffs. That spring he led the Flyers in playoff scoring, racking up 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in 26 games.
27. Ron Hextall
No. 27. Finally, a number about which there can be real debate as both Ron Hextall and the great Reggie Leach wore it for the Flyers.
The nod goes to Hextall though.
The Flyers were still reeling from the loss of goalie Pelle Lindbergh who, at the time of his death, was the best goalie in hockey. Hextall arrived in his rookie season of 1986-87 and played even better than Lindbergh.
His rookie year he led them, and there is no doubt it was he who lead them, to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against arguably the greatest sports team in history, the 1987 Edmonton Oilers. He was the runner-up for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the year, he won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie and the Conn Smythe Award as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He followed up his rookie season with two more solid seasons, including a great playoff performance in 1989. The Flyers made it to the Conference Finals but lost in six to the Montreal Canadians.
As the team began to deteriorate around him, Hextall began to physically deteriorate as well. At 6'3" tall, Hextall played an aggressive style of goal that slowly began destroying his hamstrings and groin muscles. He suffered numerous injuries that limited him to only eight games in the 1989-90. With Hextall's absence and the rest of the roster beginning to age, the Flyers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1972.
There were contract troubles that caused a strain between he and GM Bob Clarke and eventually he was traded in 1992 as part of the Eric Lindros deal.
He came back in a trade in 1994 and was part of the franchise's resurgence in the mid-'90s.
He had changed his style of goaltending, which limited injuries and his goals against average began dropping. During his second stint with the Flyers his GAA never rose above 2.89.
He and Garth Snow combined to backstop the Flyers to the Stanley Cups Finals in 1997.
Hextall also revolutionized the position of goaltender. Never before had anyone seen someone stray so far from the net in order to play a puck in the corner, or even body check a forechecker off the puck. He handled the puck like a third defenseman and he shook up the league by becoming the first goalie to actually shoot and score a goal in 1987. He followed that up the next season by becoming the first goalie to ever score a goal in the NHL playoffs.
He holds the record for most regular-season and playoff wins by a Flyers goalie.
But beyond numbers and team records, it was a spirit that Hextall brought to the Flyers. His style, passion and heart matched the franchise and the city perfectly. Here was a goalie who would stand up for his teammates by challenging opposing players to fights. And of course he famously attacked Chris Chelios in the 1989 playoffs in retaliation for Chelios basically trying to kill Brian Propp earlier in the series.
He embodied the spirit of the Flyers and always wore his fiery heart on his sleeve.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Leach
28. Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux is the first bona fide superstar the Flyers have had since Eric Lindros was knocked out by Scott Stevens in May of 2000.
His breakout came in the 2010 playoffs when he recorded 21 points in 23 games.
He followed it up the next season by leading the team in scoring with 76 points. That season he won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team MVP and the Gene Hart Award, recognizing work ethic and dedication.
He was not a prefabricated star. He was never touted as the future Bobby Clarke or Bill Barber; he just showed up and produced. He has amazing hands, great speed, great play-making ability. Plus, he plays with a snarl, is hard-working and is very easy to root for.
A fan favorite and already a star in the league.
Honorable mention: Kjell Samuellsson
29. Joel Otto
Joel Otto was signed as a free agent in the summer of 1995 to add a defensive toughness to the Flyers forwards.
Otto was a veteran leader on the team, having won a Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames. He was a shut-down third line center who provided a physical presence on the third line, and also, he'd drop the gloves with anyone.
He only played three seasons with the Flyers, but he was a big part of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals run.
30. Garth Snow
Not a lot of great players wore No. 30 for the Flyers. Hopefully 10 years from now someone will look back and say Ilya Bryzgalov was the greatest goalie ever to wear the number, and hopefully they use the three Stanley Cup Championships he led the Flyers to as proof.
For now, we'll go with Garth Snow.
Snow was kind of like a little brother version of Ron Hextall when the two played together for the Flyers from 1996-1998. It was sort of like he was Ronnie Wood to Hextall's Keith Richards. Similar personalities. Similar playing styles. And they'd similarly punch your lights out given the chance, just like Keith or Ronnie would.
He was a journeyman, a backup, but he fit the Flyers mold and when given the opportunity in the 1997 playoffs, he rose to the occasion.
31. Pelle Lindbergh
He worshipped the Flyers' Bernie Parent. He studied under Parent, purposely wore a mask like Parent and in the 1984-85 season he played like Parent.
He was the little Swedish goalie who loved hockey, loved life and loved playing for the Flyers.
He led the Flyers to the finals that year against the Oilers. Unfortunately, by the time they got there the team and the goalie were all out of bullets. Lindbergh was injured and didn't even play in the final game against Edmonton that year.
He won the Vezina Trophy that season and seemed to pick up where he left off the following year.
Unfortunately, his career and his potential for true greatness—not to mention the most tragic of all, his life—were cut short when he drunkenly crashed his Porsche into a South Jersey elementary school's wall.
32. Murray Craven
Murray Craven was one of the talented blue collar guys those '80s Flyers teams had.
He was traded to the Flyers just before the start of the 1984-85 season from Detroit for Darryl Sittler. Sittler, as it so happens, had just been named captain of the Flyers, making his tenure of captain the shortest in team history: 24 hours, no games.
He was a top two-way forward in the league and was consistently in the top categories of scoring for the Flyers. A key part of the teams that succeeded so well from 1984 through 1989.
Honorable Mention: Roman Cechmanek
33. Pete Peeters
Pete Peeters made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 1978.
In the the 1979-80 season he shared the net with Phil Myre. He and Myre combined to backstop the Flyers en route to "The Streak," the record 35 straight games in which they went unbeaten, which has never been equalled in North American professional sports.
Peeters started with a 22-0-5 record before losing his first game of the season on February 19.
He finished the season with a 29-5-5 record with a 2.73 GAA.
He led the Flyers all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, a series beset with controversy as questionable calls by referee Andy Van Hellmond in Game 1, a blown non-call on a high-sticking by New York that led to their first goal in Game 6, and a blatant non-offsides call by Leon Stickle that led to the Islanders' second goal led to the Flyers losing in six.
Peeters followed up with two more solid seasons before being traded to Boston for Brad McCrimmon.
After being a star goalie with Boston and the Washington Capitals, the Flyers reacquired him in 1989 as the franchise sensed trouble with starting goalie Ron Hextall.
Peeters shared the net with Hextall and Ken Wregget in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons before retiring where his career began in Philadelphia.
34. John Vanbiesbrouck
John Vanbiesbrouck was brought to the Flyers to be the savior in goal. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.
He played very well his first season 1998-99 but when the playoffs rolled around the team was missing their best player, Eric Lindros, and were eliminated in six by the Toronto Maple Leafs. By the next season's playoffs, he had lost his starting position to Brian Boucher.
35. Wayne Stephenson
Wayne Stephenson played five seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, mainly serving as Bernie Parent's backup. But, unlike most backups to superstar goalies, Stephenson found himself on the hot seat more than once.
He recorded two wins in the 1975 semifinals against the New York Islanders as Bernie Parent was out due to injury.
He was also the Flyers' starting goalie for the famous game against the Soviet Red Army team that the Flyers won, saving face for North American hockey in general and the NHL in particular as no other NHL team was able to defeat a Soviet team during their tours of the NHL that year.
As the Flyers went for the "three-peat" in the 1975-76 season, Stephenson logged most of the work in the net, playing 66 games and going 40-10-13 with one shutout. In the playoffs, as the Flyers marched to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight season, Stephenson played in nine games and went 4-3 with a shutout.
Honorable Mention: Bob Froese
36. Bobby Clarke
Bobby Clarke's No. 16 was retired by the club. While on the road one night in Winnipeg, however, his jersey was stolen. Without enough time to stitch up another No. 16, Clarke wore a Flyers jersey the equipment staff had that had the number "36" on the back.
Something tells me that that night in Winnipeg, Clarke probably played a better game than Gregg Adams, Ray Allison, Reid Bailey, Andre Faust, Len Hacborn, Dale Kushner, Norman LaCombe, Darrol Powe, Gordie Roberts, Darren Rumble, Dennis Seidenberg, Wes Walz and Steve Washburn played in their careers.
Wait, Kevin McCarthy wore No. 36? Okay, let's give it to him.
Greatest Flyer to ever wear No. 36 not named Bobby Clarke: Kevin McCarthy.
37. Eric Desjardins
Eric Desjardins came to the Flyers in the same trade that brought in John LeClair.
Like LeClair, he played an important part in the team's resurgence in the mid-'90s.
Desjardins was both a smooth puck-moving defenseman who could chip in offensively as well as a skilled defender.
He's the second greatest defenseman to ever play for the Flyers and his winning of the Barry Ashbee trophy as the team's best defenseman seven times is a franchise record.
44. Kimmo Timonen
Another great defender who is also a great playmaker is Kimmo Timonen.
No great Flyers actually wore any jerseys from No. 38 to No. 43; not for any great length of time, at least. Those numbers have mainly been reversed for minor league call-ups, mercenary journeyman on rental and Bob Esche, so we'll skip ahead to see at No. 44.
Timonen came to the Flyers at a time when the team was the worst in the NHL. Acquired by Paul Holmgren along with his teammate Scott Hartnell from Nashville just before the free agency period of 2007 started, Timonen, along with Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, free agent Big Fish Danny Briere, Jason Smith and Marty Biron helped turn the team around from their worst season in franchise history in 2006-07. The following year, the Flyers made it as far as the Conference Finals against Pittsburgh.
A steady influence on the blue line and a team leader, Timonen also won the Barry Ashbee Trophy twice and was named to the NHL All-Star team in 2008.
The Rest...48, 68, 77, 88, 97
Once you get into the 40s and beyond, there are not a lot of great players to wear jersey numbers for the Philadelphia Flyers and the higher numbers that were worn were usually worn by someone of great stature either in the league or in the team's history.
Danny Briere wears No. 48 and he's been one of the best Flyers of this generation. He's a team leader and a prolific scorer; he starred for the team in the 2008 playoffs, scoring nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 17 games. He was arguably the Playoff MVP of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals team, amassing 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 23 games.
No. 68 is the number that Jaromir Jagr, one of the all-time greats of the NHL, has always worn and as a Flyer this was no exception. So far he's off to a great start as a Flyer despite his age and he and Claude Giroux are two of the most dynamic players in the NHL today.
No. 77 was worn by Hall of Famer Paul Coffey during his brief stint with the Flyers. He was an instrumental part of the 1996-'97 team's run to the Finals.
No. 88, of course, was only worn by Eric Lindros, arguably the second greatest Flyer ever to play for the team.
Jeremy Roenick, a future Hall of Famer, is the only player ever to wear No. 97 for the Flyers. He actually only played three seasons for the team but it seems like much more than that. A flashy, but gritty player, Roenick had his share of memorable moments as a Flyer, the most memorable being his series-winning overtime goal in Toronto in the 2004 playoffs.