2010 Stanley Cup finals: How the Flyers fared since '75 Cup

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flyersrichards.jpgWith the Philadelphia Flyers back in the Stanley Cup finals and HBO airing its documentary on “The Broadstreet Bullies,” it’s fun to think back to that era in the team’s history. After all, a lot has happened since that dominant 1974-75 Cup run. In fact, let’s look at the different eras in the team’s history since then.

(Expect something similar about the Blackhawks later tonight, too.)

The post-Cup Bullies years

The Broadstreet Bullies gave way to the Montreal Canadiens in the late-70s. Although the LCB line of Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber achieved great things and the team was still a contender for a few years, they’d never win the Cup again. Eventually head coach Fred Shero (father of Penguins GM Ray) left the team for the New York Rangers and a few seasons later there wasn’t much left of the rough-and-tumble semi-dynasty.

Until the mid 80s, the most noteworthy moment for the team probably happened when the Flyers went 25-0-10 for a stretch during the 1979-80 season.

Ron Hextall Era

The Flyers experienced a rebirth when Mike Keenan took over in 1984 and icon Ron Hextall came to the team in 1986. Hextall was ahead of his time when it came to handling the puck; he even scored a goal during a regular season game before managing to score one in a playoff match against the Washington Capitals.

Still, the team couldn’t best the Wayne Gretzky-era Edmonton Oilers and failed to claim a Cup. That doesn’t change the fact that Hextall’s great, manic play (and those teams in general) gave Flyers fans of the time some great memories.

After the jump, I’ll take a look at the 90s and 00’s.


johnleclair.jpgEric Lindros and “The Legion of Doom”

The Flyers started the decade off slow again but would make a bold move in 1992 to change their fortunes (and, really, the future of the NHL as a whole). As great as Lindros was at times in Philly, the bounty the Quebec Nordiques received helped them – well, the Colorado Avalanche – win two Cups in the future. Here’s the details of the deal.

In order to acquire Lindros’ rights, the Flyers parted with six players, trading Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, a 1993 first round draft pick (Jocelyn Thibault), a 1994 first round draft pick (Nolan Baumgartner), and $15 million to Quebec.

(Of course, Thibault was also involved in the Patrick Roy trade.)

Still, Lindros had an impressive (and controversial) run as the leader of “The Legion of Doom” line that also featured John Leclair (pictured) and Mikael Renberg, winning a Hart trophy and helping the team make a run to the Stanley Cup finals. Obviously, Lindros couldn’t completely live up to expectations but he still made an impact before concussion problems did ruined his career.

Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau almost get it done

The post-Lindros teams were competitive but not quite good enough. The team nearly made it to the ’04 Stanley Cup finals but couldn’t beat the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in a closely matched seven game series. Ken Hitchcock brought the group to a high level as the team shuffled through Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau and – oddly enough – Peter Forsberg among others but couldn’t break all the way through.

A brief low

After the Buffalo Sabres embarrassed them with a post-lockout-friendly attack, Hitchcock received the boot and the Flyers had one rough year as one of the league’s worst teams. Bobby Clarke got fired, Paul Holmgren took over as GM and added players like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell (and even guys who weren’t Nashville Predators, like Danny Briere) to help bolster the Flyers lineup.

Since coming back onto the scene, the team was tormented by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs … until this year. After being destroyed by the 90s Red Wings and the 80s Oilers in the Cup finals, the Flyers find themselves in a familiar spot as underdogs. The question is, will they make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time around?

Patrick thinks he can make immediate NHL jump with Flyers

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The New Jersey Devils opted for Nico Hischier over Nolan Patrick, but time will be the ultimate judge in that debate. The Philadelphia Flyers also might see their guy make a more immediate jump to the NHL.

Patrick made it clear: he wants to go straight from the 2017 NHL Draft to training camp to opening night in 2017-18.

“Yeah, I think after a good summer of training, that’s my goal,” Patrick said.

The second pick of the draft noted not just his size, but also his two-way acumen when explaining why he believes he’s ready for the immediate turnaround. Patrick also brings up an interesting point: he’s already experienced three years of junior. He didn’t come out and say it, but the implication would be that his development might stagnate against lesser competition.

MORE: Check out all 31 first-round picks here

CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio got that same sense from Patrick in a one-on-one interview, and noted that the consensus is that he’ll make a difference from Game 1.

Scouts are unanimous in predicting Patrick will play this season in the NHL. He turns 19 during training camp.

One might read the decision to trade Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues as the Flyers’ way of agreeing that Patrick is probably ready, yet GM Ron Hextall wouldn’t just come out and say it. While praising Patrick, Hextall noted that he’ll need to “get to work” and earn a spot.

The odds seem to be in Patrick’s favor, but perhaps it’s better to see him battle for it.

Either way, don’t expect a long wait.

After major changes, Bowman thinks Blackhawks are in ‘good spot’

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CHICAGO — Stan Bowman received a lot of kudos for getting the old Blackhawks defense together for another kick at the can.

But the way it played out, bringing back two aging veterans in Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya was a mistake by the general manager. The magic just couldn’t be recreated, and Chicago was swept in the first round by the Nashville Predators.

Then came the offseason changes. Not just on the blue line, either. Brandon Saad is back, while Artemi Panarin is gone. Marian Hossa is gone, too — a huge loss for the ‘Hawks, even if he can be put on LTIR.

So the forward group is going to look quite different next season.

The blue line could look very different, though. Oduya and Campbell are both unrestricted free agents and may not be back. Trevor van Riemsdyk was lost in the expansion draft. And last but not least, Niklas Hjalmarsson is a Coyote now, traded to Arizona for d-man Connor Murphy.

In other words, of the six defensemen who lost to the Predators, only Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are still under contract in Chicago.

“A lot of stuff going on,” Bowman said Friday at United Center. “Sometimes, change is good. You have to make some tough decisions. But at the same time, we’re really excited about our team next year.”

Much will be expected of Murphy, a 24-year-old who’s been toiling in Arizona anonymity since being drafted 20th overall in 2011.

“Connor’s a little bit of a different player (than Hjalmarsson),” said Bowman. “Obviously, he’s a bit bigger, he plays probably a more physical game. But he’s a good skater and he’s six years younger. It’s really hard to find young defensemen like that. He’s got a great contract, too. He’s a guy we’re going to have for a long time.”

Michal Kempny and Gustav Forsling will also be expected to take on bigger roles in 2017-18.

“It’s up to them to take hold of it, but I think the opportunity is going to be there for them,” said Bowman. “It’s time to give these guys a chance to grow and take on bigger responsibilities.”

Speaking of young defensemen, the Blackhawks added another to their stable Friday, drafting Henri Jokiharju with the 29th overall pick.

“Henri’s a player we’ve been high on all year,” said Bowman. “A right-shot defenseman. Those are a commodity in today’s game. It’s hard to find them. He plays a modern style of hockey. Great skill-set, good skater, can handle the puck, make plays. I guess what you would term the modern-day defenseman.”

As for Bowman, he believes his big moves have been made. He promised changes, and changes he delivered.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” he said.

Related: Blackhawks sign Czech defenseman Jan Rutta

Penguins spend big to get bigger, land Reaves from Blues

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Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he wanted to add some snarl to protect stars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. You won’t find many – if any – forces more intimidating than Ryan Reaves.

That’s who the Penguins reportedly acquired in a trade from the St. Louis Blues, who suddenly became very busy toward the end of the 2017 NHL Draft’s first round on Friday.

MORE: Blues acquire Brayden Schenn for Jori Lehtera, picks

Moments ago, Gary Bettman announced the details of the move.

Penguins receive: Reaves, 51st pick of 2017

Blues receive: Oskar Sundqvist, 31st pick of 2017

Penguins’ perspective

Rutherford believed that the NHL was allowing teams to take liberties with star players, particularly Crosby and Malkin. Even after winning consecutive Stanley Cups, it was clearly something important to him.

Rutherford reiterated that thought after the move.

One can debate how much an enforcer such as Reaves really “deters” such behavior, especially since he won’t be on the ice with star players in most close situations. There’s little denying that he’s a fearsome fighter, with six in 2016-17 and as many as 10 in a single season.

Reaves carries a $1.125 million cap hit that expires after 2017-18.

A busy night for Doug Armstrong

Moments ago, the Blues drafted Kim Klostin with the 31st pick, grabbing a player some expected to go much earlier in the first round.

They also acquired Oskar Sundqvist, the 81st pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. The 23-year-old was unable to score a point in 10 games with the Penguins last season, but he was productive in the AHL, scoring 20 goals and 46 points.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong absorbed some serious criticism for protecting Reaves instead of David Perron, but now both players are gone. One would assume that’s likely by design, although it’s also possible that the Penguins simply provided an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Armstrong made another big splash by sending Jori Lehtera and draft picks to the Philadelphia Flyers for Brayden Schenn. Getting the 31st pick was helpful for the Blues after they sent the 27th choice to Philly.

Flyers send Schenn to Blues, take on Lehtera’s contract

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Flyers GM Ron Hextall made a big splash at the end of the draft’s first round on Friday night, sending forward Brayden Schenn to St. Louis in exchange for Jori Lehtera, the 27th overall pick and a conditional first-round pick in 2018.

Schenn, 25, is coming off two pretty productive years with the Flyers, in which he scored 26 and 25 goals. He just wrapped the first of a four-year, $20.5 million deal — one that carries a $5.125M cap hit.

It’s a big get for the Blues, who now boast Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Robby Fabbri, Paul Stastny and Alex Steen at forward.

That hit is largely why Lehtera is on his way to Philly. Coming off a “bad” season in which he struggled with injury and healthy scratches, there was speculation he’d be made available at the expansion draft — which he was — and when he wasn’t selected by Vegas, the likelihood of a trade was high.

Lehtera makes $4.7 million annually, through 2019.

With the 27th overall selection, the Flyers took Sault Ste. Marie center Morgan Frost. Frost finished fourth on the Greyhounds in scoring this year and had a strong playoff, with five goals and 11 points in 11 games. It was the second center Philly scored in the first round, having previously selected Nolan Patrick with the No. 2 overall selection.

And here are the conditions around that ’18 pick: