Top Players in Flyers’ History: No. 7 Mark Howe


The Flyers have never drafted a future star defenseman.

Mark Howe did not change that.

But that is only because he was not drafted by the team.  He was drafted 25th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1974, and after spending time in both the WHA, he finally joined the NHL after the WHA folded in 1980.  He never did play a game for the Boston Bruins.

Being the son of the great Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, there were great expectations on young defenseman Mark when he entered the NHL.

While on the Flyers, Mark Howe was a Norris Trophy finalist three times, and was the backbone of a dominant Flyers’ team in the early and mid-eighties.

His best season in the NHL was in 1985-86, when he put up 24 goals and 58 assists for 82 points with an astonishing +85 rating.  He also had seven shorthanded goals.  He was indeed overshadowed by Paul Coffey who had broken Bobby Orr’s records that year, so he was unable to get a Norris Trophy under his belt.

Howe had many different injuries during his tenure with the Flyers, and in 1992, he was granted the opportunity to explore the free agent market so that he could attempt to win the Stanley Cup.  He joined the Detroit Red Wings, but was unable to win the elusive trophy during his career.

The honors and awards that he won go as follows:

OJHL First All-Star Team (1971)

Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (Memorial Cup Tournament MVP) (1973)

WHA Second All-Star Team (1974)

Lou Kaplan Trophy (Rookie of the Year – WHA) (1974)

WHA First All-Star Team (1979)

NHL First All-Star Team (1983, 1986, 1987)

NHL Plus/Minus Leader (1986)

Played in NHL All-Star Game (1981, 1983, 1986, 1988)

He was elected to the USA Hockey Hall of Fame, and to the Flyers’ Hall of Fame, and there is still the distinct possibility that he could be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it seems unlikely that it will happen.

Throughout his NHL career,  Howe scored 197 goals, 545 assists, and 742 points in 929 games.

He is indeed known as the best defenseman ever to play for the Flyers, and only someone like Eric Desjardins comes close.  I will tell you now that he is the only defenseman on this list of top ten Flyers, because of the fact that the Flyers have not drafted good defenseman.

Either way, though, Howe was an unbelievable player, and number seven on this list of best Flyers of all time.

This is the fourth part of a ten part series.  Stay tuned for the rest of the series!

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News , he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him atBergHockey24@gmail.com.

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