Philadelphia Flyers: Who is the Top Player in Franchise History?


If I told you that I wanted to use my second-round draft pick to take a somewhat good player with diabetes who may never play a game in the NHL, what would you tell me?

You would tell me I’m crazy, right?

That is exactly what the Flyers did when they chose Bobby Clarke in the 1969 NHL Entry Draft.

Robert Earle Clarke, as he was named at birth, did not seem to be a very reliable player, but Keith Allen thought that he was something special. In fact, another GM offered him a few players and some draft picks for Clarke immediately after he was drafted. Allen’s response?

“No way.”

As soon as Clarke arrived at training camp, everyone else knew that he was something special.

15 years, three Hart Trophies, one Pearson, one Masterton, one Selke, four All-Star teams, one Lester Patrick trophy, and two Stanley Cups later, and Bobby Clarke retired, holding almost every offensive Flyers’ record that existed.

He still holds many of these records today, including most games, assists, points, shorthanded goals, and highest career plus/minus rating as a Flyer.

He played his entire career with the Flyers, and he finished with unbelievable stats, including 1,144 games played, 358 goals, 852 assists, and 1,210 points.  His stats earned him spots in the Flyers’ Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

His number 16 was also retired by the Flyers for Bobby Clarke night, which was held during the 1984 season. That night, he was also named the new general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.

At that point, his second career with the Flyers started. He made many moves, both good and bad, from the time he was hired, to the time that he resigned in 2006, with a few-years break in the early ’90s, when he left to become GM of the newly expanded Florida Panthers.

His record as GM of the Flyers was 714-433-199. He was very successful, leading the Flyers to three Stanley Cup finals, but he was unable to win a Cup while the GM.

He did encounter a few problems, including the Eric Lindros incident, and his inability to create a fast, talented team following the lockout, which ultimately led to his resignation.

But he is one of the most known people in NHL history, and easily the most known Flyer in team history. Clarkie is one of the best skaters in Flyers’ history, and the best player in the teams’ long history as well.

This is the final part of a ten part series.  Thanks for reading!

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 at BergHockey24@gmail.com .

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