The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Philadelphia Flyers all-time lineup.
Starting Six: Philadelphia Flyers All-Time Lineup
When diving back in the Flyers history, there is a common theme. The teams during the early 1970’s and 80’s were among the best in the franchise’s history. So who makes up the Philadelphia Flyers all-time lineup? It’s no surprise to see players from the Cup winning teams on that list.
The Flyers were the first expansion team to win the Cup in 1974 when they defeated the Boston Bruins. They would then repeat the following season, defeating the Buffalo Sabres. There have been many highlights during the Flyers history. Defeating the Soviet Red Army in 1976 and their 35-game unbeaten streak in 1979-80 are just a few highlights.
None of this would have happened without some of the best Flyers players in the team’s long history.
Center: Bobby Clarke (1969-84)
When thinking about the Philadelphia Flyers, Bobby Clarke is among the first names that come to mind. He hold numerous franchise records to this day, including those for seasons (15), games (1,144), assists (852), points (1,210), playoff games (136), playoff assists (77) and playoff points (119). When he retired in 1983, Clarke was fourth all-time in NHL assists and 11th in points.
There was concern before Clarke was drafted in 1969. He had been diagnosed before with diabetes, scaring off teams from taking him in the first round. The Flyers didn’t hesitate when their second round pick came up. They would become the beneficiaries of the skill that Clarke possessed.
The points began to pile up for the center during his years in the organization. With 46 points in his rookie season, Clarke would finish with 104 points after being named captain in January of 1973, just four years after entering the league. He became the first player from a post-1967 expansion team to score 100 points. Clarke would capture his first of three Hart Memorial Trophy’s that season.
While Clarke helped the team capture two Stanley Cups, it was the 1975-76 season that was record breaking. Clarke joined forced with Reggie Leach and Bill Barber to form one of the best lines in Flyers history, known as the LCB Line. The trio set a record for the most goals as they would score 141 combined that season. Clarke would also capture 119 points, at the time a franchise record.
Left Wing: Bill Barber (1972-84)
Another member of the LCB Line, Bill Barber was selected during the 1972 NHL Entry Draft. He had posted back-to-back 40-goal, 100-points seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. He played 11 AHL games before being promoted to the NHL. Barber remains the Flyers all-time leader in goals scored (420) and is second to Clarke in points (883).
Starting as a center, Barber was moved to wing where he produced 30 goals and 64 points in his rookie season. The following season would start a run of three-straight successful seasons for Barber and the team. While capturing two Stanley Cups, he averaged 39 goals and 84 points.
Barber’s best offensive season was in 1975-76 where he finished fifth in the league with 50 goals and fourth with 112 points. The “LCB Line” combined for 322 points that season, at the time a league record. Barber would score at least 40 goals in five straight seasons starting in 1977.
Barber was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. His number 7 has also been retired by the Flyers.
Right Wing: Tim Kerr (1980-91)
The Flyers would immediately see results when they signed Tim Kerr at the beginning of the 1980-81 season. He put up 22 goals and 23 assists in 68 games as a rookie. Kerr is third on the all time Flyers goal scoring list (363), first in powerplay goals (145) and has the best career shooting percentage of any player with at least 15 goals (19.44%). His 17 career hat tricks and four 4-goal games are also among the best in team history.
Kerr’s production dropped during the next two seasons, only producing 38 goals combined. He would break out offensively in 1984. Including his first 50-goal season, Kerr had 93 points in 79 games. He would go on to continue this dominance as he had four consecutive 50-goals seasons and four straight with 80 points. Kerr holds the Flyers record for those four 50-goal seasons.
In 1985, Kerr would go on to set NHL records. He would score four goals in a period during a playoff game on April 13th, three of them on the powerplay. His 34 powerplay goals during that regular season, as well as the three powerplay goals in a period, remain records to this day.
Injuries plagued Kerr during different parts of his career, but he would finish with 370 goals and 674 points before he was taken by the San Jose Sharks when they entered the league for the 1991-92 season. As it stands today, Kerr ranks 11th all time in goals-per-game (0.56), 41st all time in points per game (1.03), and 44th all time in powerplay goals (150).
Defenseman: Mark Howe (1982-92)
Growing up as the son of one of hockey’s greatest players, Mark Howe had great expectations thrust upon him when he entered the NHL. He would become a part of one of the greatest trades that former general manager Keith Allen ever made. During his 10 seasons with the Flyers, Howe would produce 138 goals and 342 assists, both franchise highs for a defenseman. His 480 points rank him 15th overall on the team’s all-time scoring list.
Originally a forward, Howe transitioned to defense while playing for Hartford in 1981-82. His defensive efforts would help the Flyers become one of the NHL’s best teams in the East during the mid-1980’s. Howe tallied double-digit goals in each of his first six seasons. His 24 goals scored in 1985-86 remain a team record for goals scored by a defensemen. Howe also recorded 30 assists in a season six times.
Entering the Hall of Fame in 2011, Howe was the first Flyers defenseman to be elected. His number 2 was retired by the team in 2012. He was also inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2001 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
While never winning a Norris Trophy, Howe was among the top candidates each year. He finished as a runner up three separate times. However, he was known as one of the best defenseman the Flyers ever had. He was a four-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy which is given to the team’s best blue-liner.
Defenseman: Eric Desjardins (1994-2006)
While he isn’t considered the best the team had, Eric Desjardins would solidify a shaky defense and help lead the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final. During his ten seasons with the team, Desjardins would pile up 396 points in the form of 93 goals and 303 assists. His 396 points rank second all-time among Flyers defensemen.
Desjardins came to the Flyers via a trade that sent Mark Recchi and a third round pick to the Montreal Canadiens. John LeClair would also come to the Flyers in the trade. For a decade while Desjardins was in Philadelphia, he was a part of the top defensive pairing with Chris Therien. No pairing has had the longevity that the two had with the Flyers.
Desjardins wasn’t the flashiest player on the ice, but he was known as one of the steadiest defenseman the Flyers had at the time. He would also go on to change the course of Flyers history. The Flyers would make the playoffs for the first time in five years in his first season. The team made the playoffs every season during Desjardins entire Flyers career.
He would win the Barry Ashbee Trophy a team-record seven times. He also ranks first on the team in playoff goals by a defenseman with 14. A two-time All Star, Desjardins became the 12th captain in team history when he took over the role in March of 2000.
The Flyers would later go on to honor Desjardins for his play. During the 2006-07 season, the team celebrated “Eric Desjardins Night” where the Flyers and Canadiens gave him gifts to show their appreciation. The team also inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2015.
Goaltender: Bernie Parent (1967-71, 1973-79)
When thinking about Flyers goaltending legends, Bernie Parent is one of the first names to come to mind. He is the only goaltender to lead the Flyers to a Stanley Cup and he did it in back-to-back seasons in 1974 and 1975. His 232 wins rank second in team history while his 50 shutouts rank first.
Left unprotected by the Boston Bruins in the 1967 Expansion Draft, the Flyers would take advantage when they selected him. And they wouldn’t regret it. While Parent’s first stint in Philadelphia won’t raise any attention, it’s his second that made him a legend in the city.
His best season would come in 1969-70 when he was traded back to the Flyers after spending two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers gave up almost 100 fewer goals than they had the season before. Parent would sport a 47-13-12 record, along with an equally impressive 1.89 goals-against-average.
Parent would lead the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup in 1974 with a 10-5 record, a 1.89 goals-against-average, and a .924 save percentage. He would help capture their second the following season. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy and Vezina Trophy in both seasons. While persistent back problems affected him the next few seasons, Parent returned to form in 1977-78 when he went 29-6-13. He also had a league-best seven shutouts.
After retiring following the 1978 season, Parent would be the first Flyer named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. His number 1 would also be retired by the team. Parent would go on to become the Flyers goaltending coach, where he helped Pelle Lindbergh and Ron Hextall win Vezina’s of their own.
Center: Eric Lindros (1992-2000)
Following in the footsteps of Clarke, Lindros won’t go down as the best center to put on a Flyers uniform. Controversy followed Lindros during his career in Philadelphia. But it can’t be denied what he did on the ice while he played for the Flyers.
Dominating opposing teams, Lindros was a part of one of the most feared and productive lines in the history of the NHL. The Legion of Doom was put together during the lockout shortened season of 1994-95. Lindros, John LeClair, and Mikael Renberg made up the line. Lindros saw his best season as a part of that line when he scored a career high 47 goals the following season.
Things weren’t the same for Lindros when the playoffs hit in 2000. It’s hard to forget the infamous hit delivered by Scott Stevens that forever changed Lindros’ career. However, he did dominate the game in his career as a Flyer. His 290 goals have him ranked eighth on the team’s all-time scoring list while his 659 points are fifth. Lindros is also a positive force in support of concussion research, something he faced multiple times in his career.