By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
The Philadelphia Flyers are no strangers to making hail mary plays to land a star player to help the team’s playoff push; or from time to time giving up on a a young prospect too soon. Some moves pay off, while others…well, don’t.
This week I’ll rank the top five biggest stars to not succeed with the Flyers!
Number 5 – Peter Forsberg
A personal favorite of mine, Forsberg was originally drafted by the Flyers sixth overall in 1991, but was traded as part of the massive package to acquire Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques. He was a key piece in the Colorado Avalanche’s (after their move from Quebec) early success and won the Stanley Cup twice. He signed with the Flyers in 2005, and formed chemistry with Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble. Now, he played 100 games and racked up 115 points as a Flyer, “so Dan”, I hear you ask, “why don’t you consider him a success?”. Well, he was, but it most certainly wasn’t all that he was capable of. Injuries limited him to 60 games in 2005-06 and 40 games in 2006-07. Forsberg was over a point per game player as a Flyer, but he’s one of the players in history where i think he could have accomplished so much more.
Number 4 – Mike Comrie
While only a Flyer for 21 games he most certainly did not live up to the high expectations. He was traded to the Flyers from the Edmonton Oilers for Jeff Woywitka, and a first and third round picks in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The Flyers gave up a huge haul in one of the worst trades in franchise history and only got 21 games and 9 points out of it. Comrie had bad blood with Edmonton and forced them to trade him. Landing in Philadelphia to bolster the team’s playoff push, he did not have the immediate effect the Flyers wanted and was moved to the Phoenix Coyotes a couple of months later.
Number 3 – Patrick Sharp
One of two “what if” players on this list, Patrick Sharp was drafted by Philadelphia in the third round in 2001. Sharp played 66 games for the Flyers over three seasons, spending most of his time with the Phantoms. Recording a measly 15 points in that span, the Flyers traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks for Matt Ellison in what many consider one of the worst trades of all time. Sharp was not successful with the Flyers, and even took another three seasons to develop with the Blackhawks into the scoring threat he was in his prime. Looking back, it was a bad trade, but at the time Sharp did not offer much to the Flyers, though had the organization waited him out, who knows how he could have helped Philadelphia succeed.
Number 2 – Vinny Lecavalier
The Flyers should have taken the hint on Lecavalier when the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out the remaining sevel years on his deal. The former Lightning captain was just not the same player he was when Tampa won the Cup in 2004. While Lecavalier was never a bad player, even during his time in Philly, the game around him evolved and he could no longer keep up. He recorded 58 points in 133 games as a Flyer, though he spent most of his Flyers tenure watching from the press box. Essentially brought in to replace the scoring touch of Daniel Briere, he failed miserably and was mercifully traded to the Kings in January 2016, then retired six months later.
Number 1 – Sergei Bobrovsky
For most, it’s easy to say that the Flyers traded away a now two-time Vezina Trophy winner, however, it’s easy to forget he was anything but impressive during his days as a Flyer. Bobrovsky played 83 games over two seasons with the Flyers, recording 42 wins in that span. His numbers weren’t nearly up to snuff though, finishing his Philly stint with a 2.73 goals against average and .909 save percentage. The Flyers brought in Ilya Bryzgalov for nine years and Bob knew he didn’t have a chance to earn the starting role in Philadelphia, requesting a trade after the 2012 season. Since his trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets, he has played in 243 games, winning 139 with 12 shutouts, to go along with a 2.64 GAA and .920 SV%.
Photo credit: bleacherreport.com