PHILADELPHIA -- Joffrey Lupul
spent two of his best NHL seasons (2007-09) with the Flyers, scoring a total of 45 goals and helping Philadelphia reach the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals, one season after the team finished with the fewest points in the League.
That 2007-08 season saw the Flyers improve so fast thanks to a group of young forwards, chiefly Mike Richards
, Jeff Carter
, Scottie Upshall
, R.J. Umberger
, Scott Hartnell
and Lupul. Four seasons later, the only player from that group still left in Philadelphia is Hartnell.
"The only guy (from Philadelphia) I keep in touch with is Hartnell," Lupul said after the Leafs' practice Monday morning. "I played with (Claude) Giroux and those guys but just for a short period of time. It's a completely different animal over there now."
Lupul said he loved his time in Philadelphia, which ended at the 2009 draft, when he was traded to Anaheim as part of the package that brought Chris Pronger
"I played on some good teams here," he said. "I think a lot of us were sort of establishing ourselves, Richy, Carts, Upshall, and I look around the League and all those guys, we're all on different teams, but playing a key role (for those teams). It was a good development for us here. Obviously I would have liked to bring a championship, but we learned a lot. I enjoyed all my time here in the city."
He said he still is close with Richards, and was as stunned as the rest of the hockey world when the Philadelphia captain was traded this past June.
"Complete shock," he said. "Half the building had a Mike Richards
jersey, I think. To see him go was unbelievable. Just the way he played and the way he came to the rink every day, he was the ultimate captain and leader."
The only positive for Lupul was Richards landing in Los Angeles, where he lives not far from Lupul's offseason home in Southern California. Lupul said they weren't able to link up this past summer, but is looking forward to catching up next summer.
"Maybe at the end of the season," he said. "We can go play golf."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK