Eric Lindros, Bobby Clarke, Mark Recchi; these are just some of the NHL Hall of Famers that have graced Philadelphia since they joined the league in 1967. They were the first team in the post-expansion era to win the Stanley Cup, boasting two championship wins since the start of the franchise. While the Blues reached the Final three years in a row following the ’67 expansion, the Flyers finished the job, winning the Cup in 1974 and ’75.
Over the years, the Flyers have given us some incredible teams, but also some incredibly violent teams. Having always played on Broad Street in Philadelphia, the team was nicknamed The Broadstreet Bullies in the 1970s to represent the tough and gritty hockey they used to play, and still play, to this day. The team was so vicious in fact, that their rough play even intimidated the mighty Red Army. In a 1976 exhibition game, the Flyers dominated the Soviets, outshooting them 49-13 and cruising to a 4-1 victory. This physical style would define the franchise’s style throughout its history.
This article definitely doesn’t show the glorious years of the Flyers, but instead breaks down some of the worst players in the history of this franchise, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next year. Take a look below at who The Sportster believes are the 15 worst Flyers in their history!
15. Dave Brown
Dave Brown was a right winger that played a total of 14 NHL seasons between the Flyers, Oilers, and Sharks. He’s still a big part of the NHL today and remains with the Flyers to this day as Head of Pro Scouting. Brown was never truly used for his offensive prowess, as his numbers can certainly tell you. He was more commonly known as an enforcer. Although having an enforcer on your team was useful back then, his usefulness in this NHL would have been very meager.
Brown’s career didn’t include many highlights, but he received one of the stiffest suspensions ever given at the time for cross-checking Rangers forward Tomas Sandstrom in the face and breaking his jaw. He received a 15-game suspension. One thing Brown managed to do however was get his name on the Stanley Cup playing for the Edmonton Oilers.
14. Craig Berube
Another enforcer to make the list is Craig Berube, who had a stint with the Flyers from 1986 to 1991. He was one of the toughest players in the league, amassing a total 3,149 penalty minutes in his NHL career, which is good for seventh all time. The winger really couldn’t do much more than that however. Originally signed by the Flyers in 1986 after going undrafted, he made his NHL debut coming in with a bang, earning two fights and 16 PIMs in a 3-1 Flyers win. In 1989, Berube really cemented his spot on the fourth line before being traded to the Oilers in the offseason following the 1990-91 season.
Although he would lead the league in PIMs for two seasons with the Flyers, which is not necessarily a good thing, his offensive numbers were nowhere as high, earning 54 points in 323 games with the team.
13. Shjon Podein
American forward Shjon Podein was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, 166th overall. He would see limited time for a very good Oilers team, and would not re-sign him. He therefore joined the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent in 1994. Although Podein never saw much ice time in Edmonton, he became a regular in the Flyers line-up and develop into a very good checking forward and penalty killer. Although he was good in that sense, he never contributed on an offensive level. In over 300 games over five season with the Flyers, earning 92 points in that time span.
After a few unsuccessful seasons offensively, he would be traded to the Colorado Avalanche, where he again assumed a penalty-killing role. He would get to lift the Cup with the Avalanche in 2002, and is known for wearing his uniform for a full 25 hours after the win.
12. Donald Brashear
Donald Brashear was a hockey goon, to put it simply, but an effective goon at that. The winger played for five teams over the course of his career, always in the role of an enforcer, leading the league in penalty minutes for six seasons and finishing 15th all-time in penalty minutes. Other than penalty minutes, Brashear caused much more trouble on the ice, leading to many long-term suspensions.
He played four seasons for the Flyers in the middle of his career between 2001 and 2006, playing 270 games for the team that was once known as The Broadstreet Bullies. It was a good fit considering Brashear’s sole purpose on the team was to pummel people. He got 22 goals as a Flyers player. While he was beloved by the fans, you have to question the role of enforcers today.
11. Todd Fedoruk
Not many of you may be familiar with Todd Fedoruk. He spent nine seasons in the NHL, jumping through six different teams in the time span (I hope he had good movers). The Flyers were the team that first drafted him, 164th overall. He made his debut a few years later during the 2000-01 season, and would play 268 games in a Flyers uniform over four seasons before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks.
Fedoruk, like many in the NHL, wasn’t afraid to pick up the gloves and scrap it when things weren’t going the team’s way. Unfortunately, he experienced some very serious injuries over the course of his career, leading to him being removed off the ice on a stretcher at times. He would only net 13 goals for the Flyers.
10. Vincent Lecavalier
The Flyers have made a really bad habit in the modern era of bringing in big-name free agents that aren’t necessarily a fit for their team or whose best years are behind them. When Vincent Lecavalier was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning following the 2012-13 lockout, many knew that a sensible approach would have been a short-term deal for Vinny to prove he still had good years left. The Flyers went all in and signed the former Lightning captain to a five-year contract worth $22.5 million.
Initially, Lecavalier put up decent numbers, scoring 20 goals and 37 points in his first season. However, Lecavalier would find himself getting scratched in subsequent seasons under coach Craig Berube. Eventually he was traded to the Kings, but the Kings only accepted him in a trade when Lecavalier announced he would retire following the 2015-16 season.
9. Glen Cochrane
Cochrane really embodied what the Flyers represented in those glory years: grit, toughness, and a love of fighting. He never really had the skill to be a great NHL defenseman, but he really did what the Flyers wanted him to do, which was scare people. He played 10 seasons in the NHL, starting with the Flyers who drafted him 50th overall all the way back in 1978. He then also played for the Canucks, the Blackhawks, and the Oilers.
The Canadian from Cranbrook, British Columbia played 257 games to start his career with the Flyers, earning just 77 points but an incredible 1110 penalty minutes in the process, which goes to show why Cochrane was really on the team. The Broadstreet Bullies had another bully amongst them.
8. Petr Svoboda
The first ever Czech to play over 1,000 NHL games, Svoboda played for four teams during his long NHL career; the Montreal Canadiens, the Sabres, the Flyers and the Lightning. Svoboda originally came on the scene during a U-18 ice hockey championship in West Germany, from where he defected, like so many others, in order to play at a higher professional level. That same year, he would be drafted 5th overall by the Canadiens, and would win the Cup with the in 1986.
His time with Philadelphia was not so successful. The defenseman played 232 games for the team from 1994-1999, getting just 10 goals and not finding the same quality he had in the beginning of his career with the Habs. The Flyers would trade Svoboda to Tampa Bay during the 1998-99 season.
7. Dan Carcillo
Dan Carcillo was known as a pest throughout this career and he was often suspended for dirty hits or unsportsmanlike antics. While his pesky style would sometimes prove to be effective in games, he often took untimely penalties which would end up costing his team at times. Coming over to the Flyers in the 2008-09 season following a trade with the Coyotes, he would ride the wave of the Flyers’ run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
Carcillo was often the Flyers’ 13th forward, as his skill on the ice wasn’t enough to match his distracting antics. In the summer of 2011, the Flyers chose not to re-sign him, and Carcillo went on to piggyback on the Blackhawks’ dynasty winning two Stanley Cups in Chicago in 2013 and 2015.
6. Zac Rinaldo
Rinaldo, a true modern day goon, is one of my least favorite players of the modern day game. I have a hard time finding a more useless forward. In a period in the NHL where fighters on the fourth line are somewhat useless, Rinaldo represents the epitome of uselessness. The Flyers originally selected him 178th overall in the sixth round in 2008. He made his NHL debut in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres in 2011. He would make the starting line-up the following year, his role on the team being very clear: be a goon.
So a goon he was. In a career peppered with nasty hits and long suspensions, Rinaldo became one of the most hated NHL enforcers. He would later be traded to the Boston Bruins, who would quickly send him down to the minors after a nasty incident involving defenseman Kris Letang.
5. Chris Therien
Therien, more commonly known as ‘Bundy’ inspired by the character Al Bundy from the sitcom Married…with Children. He played 12 seasons in the NHL, split between the Flyers and the Stars, and is still connected with the Flyers today, currently a color commentator for the team on Comcast SportsNet. He was also previously a radio color commentator for the Flyers on 97.5 The Fanatic. The Flyers originally drafted the defenseman 47th overall in 1990.
He spent nine and a half seasons with the Flyers before being traded to the Stars, where he would eventually retire from the NHL. His 753 games with the Flyers is actually first amongst defenseman in Flyers history, although they definitely weren’t the most productive for a defenseman, earning just 29 goals in the process.
4. Eric Weinrich
Weinrich had an incredibly long career, playing 17 total NHL seasons with eight different NHL teams, probably not the best of signs when looking at a player’s quality. He was originally selected in 1984 by the Sabres, but the pick was deemed invalid due to the fact that he was too young to be eligible for the draft. He therefore was redrafted the following year, 32nd overall, by the New Jersey Devils, and that’s where his journey through the NHL began.
His time with the Flyers was short and sweet, joining the team in 2001 and then being traded after the 2004 NHL All-Star game in 2004 to the St. Louis Blues. Weinrich would play his 1,000th NHL game with the Flyers, pretty much the only impressive thing that happened to Weinrich during his few years in Philadelphia.
3. Dan Kordic
Dan Kordic only played six seasons in the NHL, all of them coming with the Flyers. Like many players that have unfortunately found their way on this list, Kordic was first and foremost an enforcer. His time with the Flyers was mostly spent between the big club and the minors, and in six seasons Kordic only managed to suit up for 197 NHL games, scoring just four goals and earning eight assists, but with 584 PIMs to show for as well.
His most successful season with the Flyers was in 1996-97, where Daniel Lacroix and Scott Daniels teamed with Kordic to form “The Dan Line”, a tough, gritty fourth-line that would go on the ice just to stir the pot. He would lead the team in PIMs that year and the next year (210 PIMs in both years).
2. Riley Cote
Let’s keep the goons coming; up next, Riley Cote, who played just four NHL seasons, all of them as a Philadelphia Flyers. Originally going undrafted, Cote originally impressed the Leafs coaching staff at their training camp, and they decided to keep him on a one-year contract. He played the next few years in the juniors, before joining the Flyers after having joined two straight training camps.
He only played 156 games with the Flyers, netting just a goal in the process, against what was then rookie goaltender Carey Price. I mean, if you’re going to score just one NHL goal, I’m sure a lot of people would want it to be against Carey Price. Cote was never truly destined to be a great NHL forward, and the fact that he even had a chance to play some hockey in the best league in the world is a surprise in itself. All in all though, definitely one of the Flyers worst players in history.
1. Ilya Bryzgalov
When you look at the contract he received and what the expectations were from Ilya Bryzgalov, it’s hard to put someone over him. The main reason the Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup in 40 years is because they’ve routinely gotten mediocre goaltending, which has come back to bite them many times in the playoffs.
The Flyers thought they solved this problem when they acquired Bryzgalov’s rights from the Coyotes. They promptly signed him to a nine-year, $51 million contract. While Bryzgalov was known for his memorable quotes in Philly, his play on the ice just drove the Flyers into the ground. After just two seasons in Philly, the Flyers exercised a compliance buyout on Bryzgalov. His Flyers career ended with a 2.60 GAA and .905 SV%.
What stands out most about his tenure was how bad he was in the playoffs. In the 2012 postseason, Bryzgalov failed to do what the Flyers brought him in to do, recording a 3.46 GAA and .887 SV% in 11 playoff games.
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