The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the more storied franchises in hockey history, despite only winning two Stanley Cups and not being one of the National Hockey League’s Original Six teams.
The Flyers joined the NHL as part of a major expansion in 1967. The Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Oakland Seals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St. Louis Blues joined the Flyers as the six expansion teams, making the NHL a 12-team league.
The Flyers found early success in the NHL. They made the playoffs in their first two seasons and four of their first six before really turning a corner. They continued their regular-season success and found playoff success in 1974 when they won their first Stanley Cup, and then again in 1975 to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Bobby Clarke was the Flyers’ first superstar and one of the best players in the game. He led them to their back-to-back Stanley Cups alongside goalie Bernie Parent. Unfortunately for the Flyers, 1975 is the last time that the franchise won the Stanley Cup.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying, however. Founder and owner Ed Snider put his heart and soul into the team and wanted to win above everything else. He helped instill a physical style of hockey that resulted in the “Broad Street Bullies” putting a scare into not only the NHL, but Russia as well.
The Flyers remained competitive in the late 1970s and 1980s. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1976, 1980, 1985, and 1987. It was a decade of dominance for the Flyers, but they came up short and couldn’t win it all.
The 1990s were a time of change for the Flyers. They missed the playoffs from 1990 to 1994, but that helped them draft a franchise-altering player in Eric Lindros. Well, they actually traded for him, and he put the Flyers back on the map.
The Flyers made the playoffs in each of the next 11 seasons, but only reached the Stanley Cup Final once; they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 1997. Eric Lindros had a tumultuous ending to his career in Philadelphia after several concussions and other injuries.
After a slight step back in the late 2000s, the Flyers surprised everyone and made the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 as the No. 7 seed. They overcame a 3-0 series deficit, and 3-0 goal deficit in Game 7, to beat the Boston Bruins in 2010 en route to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Flyers went through some changes in the mid 2010s. Former goalie and fan favorite Ron Hextall took over as general manager and helped rebuild the team. Captain Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier are the only players remaining on the roster from 2012.
Fast forward to today. After Hextall’s patience ran its course in Philadelphia, he was ousted along with head coach Dave Hakstol midway through a disappointing 2018-19 season. Chuck Fletcher took over as general manager and has led the Flyers to take that next step.
The Flyers had a resurgent 2019-20 season after an active offseason. Fletcher hired an experienced head coach in Alain Vigneault, as well as a few respected assistant coaches, to give the team a new voice. He also made a few key under-the-radar transactions to fill the team’s needs.
After decades of uncertainty in the crease, the Flyers now have a young phenom goalie in Carter Hart. At just 22 years old he became the youngest Flyers goalie to have back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs. He has brought a sense of calm and confidence to the goaltender position for the Flyers.
The Flyers have a strong core of veterans, several up-and-coming players, as well as a handful of promising prospects. They are poised to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference in the 2020s.