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Heritage Night: Celebrating Flyers Hall of Famers

Special evening will see members of the Flyers Hall reunite Thursday

by Bill Meltzer | PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

On October 27, when the Flyers take on the Arizona Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers will celebrate Hall of Fame Night: the first of five Heritage Nights during the organization's 50th Anniversary Season. 

Here is a brief look at the history of the Flyers Hall of Fame:

THE FOUNDATION
The Flyers Hall of Fame was first established in 1988 as a means to honor players, coaches, team executives and other builders who have made extraordinary contributions to the franchise's success. A committee of team officials and media members was assembled to nominate and select honorees.

During the first five years of the Flyers' Hall of Fame's existence (1988 to 1992), a maximum of three inductees per year was permitted with no more than two of the selectees allowed to be players. Thereafter, selections have been capped off at a maximum two per calendar year

The Hall of Fame induction is held, as needed, with candidates nominated and voted upon by a panel of media members and team officials. Committee members may vote for up to five candidates. Election is limited to three individuals during the first five years, no more than two of whom may be players. Thereafter, no more than two individuals may be elected in any one year, one of which must be a player.

There is not a requirement that at least one induction must be made per year. As such, there have been years without an induction, including a four-year gap between the additions of Dave Poulin (2004) and Ron Hextall (2008) to the Flyers Hall of Fame honor roll as well as a five-year span between the selection of Dave "the Hammer" Schultz (2009) and the co-inductions of Eric Lindros and John LeClair in November 2014 ahead of the addition of Eric Desjardins in February 2015.

Class of 1988: Clarke and Parent
If there were such a thing as a Flyers' "Mount Rushmore", the visages of franchise legends Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent would be two automatic honorees along with team co-founder and iconic owner and chairman Ed Snider.

The entire history, identity and heritage of the Flyers' brand would have looked very different - even unrecognizable - without Clarke and Parent. In addition to their Hockey Hall of Fame and Flyers Hall of Fame selections, both have had their jersey numbers retired.

Described by coach Fred Shero as "a dream dressed in work clothes," Clarke played an incalculable role in shaping the Flyers team identity and work ethic.

The Flyers' longtime captain was the ultimate team player, caring nothing for personal stats and willing to do anything for victory; whether it meant spilling his own blood or fighting for the puck as if his life depended on it. Clarke was also one of the top playmakers in NHL history, a highly effective two-way, all-situations performer and one of the best faceoff men of his era.

Known as "Bobby" to fans and "Whitey" to teammates, Clarke was as modest, unassuming and soft-spoken off the ice as he was driven to win on the ice.

Clarke quickly made people forget that he'd been bypassed at least once in the 1969 NHL Draft by every team in the league solely because he had a form of diabetes.Simultaneously, he became a source of inspiration to diabetic aspiring athletes worldwide. Even had Clarke not gone on to become a two-tenure Flyers general manager and to later serve the organization as senior vice president, his place would be secure in the team's pantheon of the greatest of the greats. He was a three-time winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player, among a host of other awards. Each season, the Flyers organization bestows the Bobby Clarke Trophy upon the player voted as the team's most valuable player.

Parent's name is synonymous with grace and excellence on the hockey rink. Beloved by fans and teammates alike, the Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender's gentle spirit and good humor off the ice were only surpassed by his brilliance between the pipes. Parent gave his team the confidence to believe they had a chance to win every night.

Parent's two-stint Flyers career ended with a stellar 232-141-103 record, 50 shutouts, and a 2.42 goals against average. His playoff numbers were equally impressive, with two Conn Smythe Trophies, two Stanley Cup rings and a career 2.38 goals against average.

Class of 1989: Allen, Barber, Snider
One of the most important hires the Flyers organization ever made was the selection of the late Keith Allen as its first coach and, even more vitally, as its second general manager. A once-in-a-generation hockey mind, the sagacious Allen was a sublime assessor of talent, a shrewd trader and a true professional.

Allen was the primary architect of the Flyers' two Stanley Cup championship rosters as well as the perennially championship-contending teams that followed into the mid-to-late 1980s. Allen was also surrounded by other sharp hockey people, including inaugural general manager Bud Poile (who recruited him to the fledgling organization), astute scouts such as Jerry Melnyk and player personnel director Marcel Pelletier but Allen stood above all as one of the most consistently successful general managers in the history of the National Hockey League. As a coach, he guided the Flyers to the Western Division championship in their first season of existence.

While Clarke and Parent were the consensus top center and top goaltender in franchise history - and 2001 honoree Mark Howe was the best offensive and overall defenseman - Bill Barber was the top overall winger in franchise history.

Barber spent his entire playing career with the Flyers. He played 903 regular season games (420 goals, 463 assists, 883 points, 623 penalty minutes) and 129 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs (53 goals, 55 assists, 108 points, 109 penalty minutes). Knee problems prematurely ended his career, but Barber still stands at the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer.

Some of Barber's best games came in the biggest games of season. For example, in the 31 playoff games the Flyers played in 1980 and 1981, the intrepid Barber scored 23 goals and 37 points. In the 1980 run to the Cup Finals, Barber tied an NHL record with three shorthanded goals.

As with Clarke, Barber would have been a shoo-in for the Flyers Hall of Fame even if he had not later gone on to serve the organization in many other capacities, including a Jack Adams Award-winning head coach, a scout and the coach of a Calder Cup winning Philadelphia Phantoms team. Except for several seasons in the employ of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Barber has spent his entire career since the 1972 NHL Draft as a member of the Flyers' organization.

In the meantime, if not for the late Ed Snider, there would not have been an NHL expansion franchise in Philadelphia in 1967. Even if the city somehow later obtained the representation of an NHL franchise, it would have been virtually impossible to create anything resembling the identity, traditions and indelible legacy that Snider forged.

Ed Snider epitomized the same adjectives that describe the Philadelphia Flyers' identity: toughness, passion, fierce competitiveness, boldness, self-confidence, an unwavering team-first focus and a dedication to the community.

All three of the Flyers Hall of Fame Class of 1990 are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Barber's famed number 7 jersey is of five retired by the organization to date.

Class of 1990: MacLeish and Shero
The late Rick MacLeish was one of the smoothest skaters and purest offensive talents ever to wear the Orange and Black. Head tilted, hair flapping in the breeze, the guy called "Bedrock" (or "Cutie" or "Beauty" or "The Hawk") injected a bit of flash and dash to the Broad Street Bullies. He had good ice vision, a deft passing touch, excellent puck handling skills and one of the NHL's best wrist shots of his era.

A three-time NHL All-Star game participant (1975-76, 1976-77, 1979-80), MacLeish holds the distinction of being the charter member of the Flyers' 50-Goal club, achieving that mark in a 100-point season in 1972-73. MacLeish also holds the distinction of scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Flyers in Game Six of the 1973-74 Final against Boston.
For his Flyers career, MacLeish racked up 328 goals and 697 points in 741 regular season games. He elevated his game even higher in the playoffs, notching 53 goals and 105 points in 108 postseason games.

One of the most innovative and astute coaches in hockey history, the late Fred Shero created a legacy extended beyond even the accomplishment of steering the Flyers to two straight Stanley Cup championships and three consecutive trips to the Finals.

Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder, "the Fog" was the first NHL coach to hire a full-time, non-playing assistant coach. He pioneered the game-day morning skate. He was among the earliest adopted of video study. An early proponent of "systems-based" play, he was the first to codify his system in writing. Shero was also an early student of Soviet hockey and proponent for the widespread recruitment of top European players. He introduced practice drills that many other teams later emulated.

Above all, Shero was a winner. He coached teams to championships or playoff finals appearances in every league in which he coached at the professional level. What he brought to the Flyers during his tenure beyond the bench in terms of organization, tactical savvy and player motivation (most notably through his blackboard messages and personal notes to players) can scarcely be overstated.

Class of 1991: Ashbee and Dornhoefer
An inspirational leader by deed, the late Barry Ashbee was an everyman hockey player who became an enduring symbol of success through will and perseverance.

Among teammates, he epitomized the competitiveness of the Broad Street Bullies-era Flyers. "Ash Can" epitomized quiet toughness, hockey smarts, a tireless work ethic and gnawing hunger to win. Ashbee possessed as much character and inner strength as anyone who has ever been a professional athlete.

In addition to his posthumous induction into the Flyers Hall of Fame, Ashbee's No. 4 jersey is retired by the organization and the Barry Ashbee Trophy, awarded each season to the team's top defenseman, is named in his honor.

Although the career of Gary Dornhoefer pre-dated the use of the term "power forward" to describe players who combined grit and goal-scoring ability, that is exactly what the 1991 inductee was. Dornhoefer, much like fellow 1991 inductee Ashbee, also had a remarkable ability to play effectively through significant injuries.

After being selected by the Flyers from the Boston Bruins in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, Dornhoefer remained with Philadelphia the rest of his career. For the Flyers portion of his career, he scored 202 goals, 316 assists, 518 points and recorded 1,256 penalty minutes in 725 regular season games. In the playoffs, Dornhoefer played a total of 80 games, contributing 17 goals, 36 points and 203 penalty minutes.

 "Dorny" authored some of the most important goals in team history, including a crucial overtime goal in Game Five of the 1973 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals - later immortalized in a statue - and the game winning goal in the seventh and deciding game of the 1973-74 Stanley Cup semifinals against the New York Rangers.

Class of 1992: Hart and Leach
The late Gene Hart, forever known as the "Voice of the Flyers," taught the game of hockey to an entire city through his knowledge of the sport and its traditions, as well as his enthusiasm for the Philadelphia Flyers. Serving as a play-by-play broadcaster from 1967 through the team's re-emergence as a Stanley Cup contender in 1995, Hart was behind the microphone for many of the Flyers greatest moments and provided comfort and poignancy in the words he spoke in times of defeat and tragedy.

Hart's joyous cry of "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup!" in 1974 will forever live in the annals of broadcasting history. Other memorable Hart calls include his depiction of Ron Hextall becoming the first NHL goaltender to score a goal by shooting it into the opposing net. Even some of Hart's lesser-known calls, such as "He scored as fast as you can say Al Hill!" as the Flyers rookie forward's magical five-point NHL debut were perfectly timed and delivered with the right mix of anticipation and excitement.

One of the NHL's top snipers of the mid-1970s to early 1980s, Reggie Leach completed the Flyers famed LCB line with the ability to finish off the chances set up by linemates Clarke and Barber from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. Nicknamed "the Riverton Rifle," Leach could put the puck just about anywhere he wanted.

Leach's best season came in 1975-76, when he racked up 61 regular season goals and added 19 more in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - still tied for an NHL record in a single postseason run - to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason. As distinguished as the top seasons of his NHL career were, Leach found his true calling in life years after his playing days. Working with at-risk youths in First Nation communities throughout Canada, he was awarded the Order of Manitoba.

Class of 1993: Scott and Van Impe
One of Ed Snider's most trusted business associates and a man who was important to both the financial success and bond between the organization and its players, the late Joe Scott served over the years as one of the team's minority owners (1967-1984), team president (1968-1979) and Chairman of the Board, Emeritus (1979 until his passing at age 93 in 2002).

When the original Flyers ownership hit an early financial crisis, it was Scott (who formerly headed Ballantine Beer) whom Ed Snider approached about buying an ownership share of the fledgling organization. Taking a leap of faith, Scott came aboard and proved to be an outstanding leader in conjunction with Snider.

Scott was instrumental in helping build the Flyers fanbase from the grassroots. He particularly focused on providing access to the games to school children and their families. The efforts paid off in the creation of a generation of young fans who fell in love with the sport and the hockey team, becoming some of the team's most loyal and enduring fans.

Although he could be tough when he needed to be, Scott was typically a man of jovial disposition and a sound decision-maker. Ed Snider never needed to question Scott's passion for the Flyers or sustained commitment. The longtime team president was every bit as devoted to the franchise's success on the ice as well in as in the ledger book.

An original Flyer and the second captain in franchise history, Ed Van Impe played a no-frills and physical brand of hockey on the blueline. He was a valued leader in the Flyers' early years who was still an important contributor seven and eight years later as a member of two Cup-winning teams.

Van Impe was one of the players who helped shape the identity of a tough, competitive hockey team. Not blessed with swift skating, flashy puck-handling skills or offensive prowess, the stocky defenseman (5-foot-10, 200 pounds in his prime) had no lack of competitiveness, savvy and toughness. By playing within his strengths and working within his limitations, he forged a 700-game NHL career as one of the league's most reliable defensive defensemen. He was even selected for three NHL All-Star Games (1969, 1974, 1975).

Class of 1994: Tim Kerr
Nicknamed "the Sultan of the Slot", power forward Tim Kerr was one of the most prolific goal scorers - especially on the power play - not only in Flyers' franchise history but around the NHL of the mid-1980s.

Few players in NHL history had the ability to score in bunches quite like Kerr. If not for bad luck with injuries throughout his career, Kerr almost certainly would have joined the NHL's 500-goal club. As it was, he scored 370 goals and 674 points in just 655 career games.

Kerr recorded 54-plus goals in four straight seasons. The player, who dealt with serious knee and shoulder injuries during his career as well as unspeakable personal tragedy after his wife Kathy died from complications after childbirth, won the Masterton Trophy in 1988-89 for his dedication to hockey and stoic perseverance.

Class of 1996: Joe Watson
Reliability, leadership. hard work, enthusiasm: These were the traits that two-time NHL All-Star defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup winner Joe Watson embodied during his Flyers playing career, spanning the inaugural 1967-68 season through 1977-78.

Although Watson's bread-and-butter was to prevent opposition goals as a classic stay-at-home defenseman, he also scored one of the more memorable goals in Flyers' history. When the Flyers defeated CSKA (the famed Red Army team) on Jan. 11, 1976, the elder Watson brother swept home an early second-period shorthanded goal to establish a 3-0 lead for the Flyers. Philadelphia went on to win the game, 4-1.

With the exception of a brief playing stint with the Colorado Rockies before suffering a career-ending leg injury, Joe Watson has worked in the employment of the Flyers in a host of different capacities for most of the organization's 50-year history. He was also instrumental in the establishment and development of the Flyers Alumni hockey team.

Class of 1999: Brian Propp
A pure sniper who developed into a fine all-around player and constant threat on both the power play and the penalty kill, Brian Propp was a shoo-in for Flyers Hall of Fame selection after a decade with the team. Propp played in five NHL All-Star games and five Stanley Cup finals (three with the Flyers). For his NHL career, he racked up 425 goals and 1,004 points in 1,016 regular season games plus 148 points in 160 playoff games.

During the Flyers portion of his career, "Propper" played 790 regular season games (third on the franchise's all-time list). He compiled 849 points (third most in franchise history), with 369 goals (second only to Bill Barber) and 480 assists (second only to Bobby Clarke). He ranks second to Clarke in all-time playoff scoring, with 112 points in 116 games.

Propp topped 30 goals in eight seasons and reached the 40-goal plateau three times. He also topped 50 assists three times and had at least 40 assists in nine campaigns.

In the postseason, Propp had spectacular runs in 1987 (12 goals, 28 points in 26 games) en route to the Stanley Cup Finals and 1989 (14 goals, 23 points in 18 games) amid the Flyers surprise run to the Cup Semifinals against Montreal.
 
In the latter part of his career, Propp became known for his signature goal celebration, dubbed the "Guffaw." Removing his hand from his hockey glove and raising his outstretched fingers skyward, Propp created it in honor of a routine in which famed comedian Howie Mandel used the same gesture.

Class of 2001: Mark Howe
The consensus best all-around defenseman in the first half-century of Flyers' franchise history, Mark Howe is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and the Flyers Hall of Fame and a 2016 winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy for service to hockey in the United States. His No. 2 jersey is retired by the organization.

Howe's combination of supreme natural talent, outstanding work ethic and sharp mind for hockey made him a superior player both offensively and defensively. He made the transition from an All-Star forward to defenseman mid-career and not only held their own at the new position, but became one of the NHL's best blueliners of his generation.

Howe was a smooth skater, a pinpoint passer and possessed a dangerous wrist shot. At the defensive end, his uncanny anticipation and positional smarts more than made up for his lack of size and bulk.

A three-time Norris Trophy finalist for best NHL defenseman and four-time Barry Ashbee Award winner, Howe always placed much greater emphasis on team goals than personal accomplishments. Off the ice, he unfailingly represented himself, his illustrious hockey family and the Flyers organization with class and dignity.

Class of 2004: Dave Poulin
A stellar two-way center and a sublime captain for the Flyers in the mid-to-late 1980s, Dave Poulin was one of the best leaders in franchise history, whether on the ice, in the dressing room or in making everyone feel like part of the team off the ice. He played the game the right way, did not make or accept excuses, and helped keep the team united in tumultuous times.

One of most cerebral players in the National Hockey League, the University of Notre Dame graduate possessed a winning combination of hockey sense and book smarts. As much as his physical ability, Poulin's mental discipline enabled him to succeed.

The leadership Poulin displayed off the ice among teammates following the death of Pelle Lindbergh - with whom Poulin had become a close friend - was extraordinary. So, too, was his ability to shrug off physical pain and maintain a high level of play on the ice. Poulin, who donned a flak jacket in order to play through broken ribs, scored one of the most dramatic goals in franchise playoff history. His 5-on-3 shorthanded breakaway goal in Game Six of the 1985 Wales Conference Finals demoralized the Quebec Nordiques and prove to be a crucial moment as the Flyers went on to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

Class of 2008: Ron Hextall
A third-generation NHL player and the lone goaltender in his famed hockey family, Ron Hextall is the winningest goaltender in Flyers franchise history with 240 regular season victories over two stints with the club. The future Flyers general manager also holds a permanent place in the NHL history books as the first goaltender, both in the regular season and in the Stanley Cup playoffs, to score a goal by shooting the puck into the opposing net.

The netminder rose to stardom with the Flyers one season after the tragic death of reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pelle Lindbergh. Hextall's phenomenal rookie season (1986-87) was one of the best in NHL history, especially among goaltenders. That year, he won both the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy as the Flyers came within one win of the Stanley Cup.

Hextall was one of the best puckhandling goaltenders in NHL history. He functioned almost like a third defenseman on opposing dump-ins. During the first portion of his two-stint Flyers playing career, Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to be credited with a goal by virtue of shooting the puck into the other team's net. He was the first to do it both in the regular season and the playoffs.

As a player, Hextall was also noted for his combustible temper on the ice, especially in his early years in the NHL. His intensity was almost frightening at times, and he was not shy about wielding the lumber or fighting. The player's fiery manner on the ice stood in stark contrast to his soft-spoken nature and wry sense of humor off the ice. Another Hextall trademark was the way he rhythmically tapped his stick across the goal posts and crossbar, always in the same pattern, before the drop of the puck on faceoffs. The clang-clang-clang of Hextall's stick could be heard throughout the arena.

Class of 2009: Dave Schultz
Left winger Dave "The Hammer" Schultz only spent four years in a Philadelphia Flyers uniform but they were certainly memorable seasons. It's fair to say that Schultz was the poster child for the Broad Street Bullies of the mid-1970s.

During his Flyers career, Schultz was easily the most vilified player around the National Hockey League. In Philadelphia, however, he could do no wrong and remains one of the most popular figures in franchise history. Nicknamed "the Hammer" by the media, Schultz was also called "Grouch" (as in Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch) or "Zeus" by teammates and friends.

Schultz wasn't necessarily the best fighter in the NHL, but he was the most active. The Hammer would work himself into a frenzy before he even hit the ice, and he had a flair for showmanship.

He could also play hockey. While Schultz's defining legacy was the fact that he topped 300 penalty minutes in three consecutive seasons (topping out at an astounding 472 in 1974-75), he also had a knack for coming through in the clutch.

Schultz scored 20 goals in the Flyers' first Stanley Cup season, including two hat tricks within the span of one week. Later, he played an important role in each of the three playoff series the Flyers won on the way to claiming the 1973-74 championship. Schultz scored the series-winning overtime goal against the Atlanta Flames in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, his Game Seven beatdown of Rangers defenseman Dale Rolfe energized the Flyers. In the Finals, Schultz earned an assist on team captain Clarke's famous "jump for joy" overtime goal in Game Two.

Class of 2014-15 season: LeClair, Lindros, Desjardins
During the mid-to-late 1990s, no line in the National Hockey League was more dominant or feared than the Philadelphia Flyers' original "Legion of Doom" line.

Created during the 1994-95 season, it was on the broad shoulders of Eric Lindros and John LeClair -- along with right wing Mikael Renberg -- that the Philadelphia Flyers rocketed from a team that missed the playoffs five straight years into a perennial Stanley Cup contender.

Lindros' dominance was expected. In many ways, he a one-of-a-kind player in NHL history. Although his career was shortened by injuries, Lindros was every bit the dominating talent the Flyers expected him to be when they acquired his rights from the Quebec Nordiques in the summer of 1992.

At the peak of his powers, the NHL had never seen anything quite like the package of brute force and finesse that Lindros brought. Even with a series of early-career knee injuries to both knees and a later series of concussions, Lindros skated well for such a big man in addition to being almost freakishly strong physically. He also had a considerable mean streak.

During his tumultuous and injury-filled career in Philadelphia, Lindros was nevertheless the most physically dominant player in franchise history when he was healthy. Winner of the Hart Trophy winner in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, he was a finalist again in 1995-96. Lindros also won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as Flyers' most valuable player four times and played in six NHL All-Star games.

At the point Lindros was traded from the Flyers to the New York Rangers in the summer of 2001, he had compiled 659 points (290 goals, 369 assists) and 948 penalty minutes in 486 career games with the Flyers. He averaged 1.35 points per game; a pace that would have ranked him sixth all-time in NHL history had be been able to sustain that rate of production until his retirement.  

Counting only the Philadelphia years of Lindros' career, only Wayne Gretzky (1.92 points per game), Mario Lemieux (1.88), Mike Bossy (1.497), Sidney Crosby (1.398) and Bobby Orr (1.393) produced points at a more prolific pace than Lindros in the history of the NHL. Lindros was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016.

LeClair's emergence as a top NHL power forward almost immediately after his arrival in Philadelphia was somewhat unexpected. While with the Montreal Canadiens, he had primarily been a third-line player, and frequently played center. Placed on Lindros' left wing, LeClair proved to be a virtually unstoppable force in his own right.

The native of St. Albans, Vermont possessed both a rocket of a slapshot and an uncanny ability to collect goals off rebounds and deflections in front of the net. Once LeClair parked his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame in front of the net, he was virtually impossible to budge. Playing with a shovel-like stick blade curve created primarily for lifting pucks in close to the net over sprawling goaltenders rather than for stickhandling, LeClair was nevertheless very difficult to separate from the puck.

On many occasions, opposing players went to body check LeClair only for the big left winger to dip his shoulder and send the would-be checker down to the ice while LeClair remained firmly on his feet.

The Flyers acquisitions of LeClair and fellow Flyers Hall of Famer Eric Desjardins in a blockbuster trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 9, 1995, was a franchise-changer for Philly. The trade springboarded the Flyers back into Stanley Cup contention for the first time since the late 1980s.

Poise, intelligence, two-way savvy, unfailing professionalism and a quietly competitive nature were defenseman Desjardins' hallmarks during a stellar 1,143-game NHL career that saw him spend 10-plus seasons and 738 regular season games in a Flyers uniform. During his playing career, the player nicknamed "Rico" - as in the early 1990s hit song "Rico Suave" - won seven Barry Ashbee Trophies as the Flyers' best defenseman, played in three NHL All-Star Games (two as a Flyer) and won the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award in 1998-99.

As his career progressed, Desjardins had to make some adjustments in his game as a result of a series of injuries. During the 1998-99 season, he sustained an 80 percent tear of his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which he played through while donning a knee brace. Subsequently, he underwent a pair of significant shoulder surgeries and also had a severe forearm injury that required a titanium plate to be inserted in his forearm. Desjardins never complained. He adapted and resumed playing at a very high level.

The defenseman was always cool, calm and collected under even intense forechecking pressure. Although he was not a particularly physical defenseman in terms of delivering board-rattling bodychecks, Desjardins was adept at using his 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame to fend off defenders. His passing ability -- and earlier career ability to skate the puck out of trouble -- was one of the most consistent parts of his game. So, too, was his ability to break up plays with his stick and to block opposing shots into the stands with seeming ease.

Desjardins topped the 50-point mark twice as a Flyer and posted at least 46 points five times. He reached double-digit goals five times as a Flyer.

Ultimately, though, Eric Desjardins' worth to the team was not measured in personal statistics. It was measured in wins and losses and by the noticeable effect his injury absences had on the team. During his Flyers tenure, the club reached the Eastern Conference Final four times (1995, 1997, 2000 and 2004) and the Stanley Cup Final once. He was injured and unable to play during the 2004 run and played at far less than 100 percent health in several other playoff years.

For most of his Flyers career, Desjardins wore an A as an alternate captain. He wore the C as team captain from the latter part of the 1999-2000 season until the 2001-02 season when Keith Primeau assumed the captaincy.

Class of 2015-16 season: Brind'Amour, Watson
One of the hardest-working players in Philadelphia Flyers franchise history, Rod Brind'Amour was also the most durable. His "iron man" streak of 484 consecutive games played remains a Flyers franchise record.

The two-way center, who also periodically played left wing during portions of the mid-1990s, spent 633 regular season games in a Flyers uniform among his career 1,484 games in the NHL. Brind'Amour produced 235 goals, 366 assists and 601 regular season points as a Flyer, adding 24 goals, 27 assists and 51 points in 57 playoffs games.
 
Although Brind'Amour had four seasons in Philadelphia in which he produced 33 or more goals (topping out at 37 goals in 1992-93) and six years with 74 or more points (with a high of 97 points in 1993-94), he was only the team's first-line center in his first Flyer season; one year prior to the arrival of Eric Lindros.

Even more than for his point totals, Brind'Amour became best known for his incredible conditioning, ability to play a strong defensive as well as offensive game and for his durability. During his tenure, Brind'Amour set a still-standing franchise record with 484 consecutive games played.

Perhaps Brind'Amour's greatest individual game as a Flyer came in the clinching fifth game of the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brind'Amour scored two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill in the first period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Flyers. Philadelphia went on to win the game, 6-3.

The 25th and most recent Flyers Hall of Fame induction took place on Feb. 29, 2016. On that night, five-time NHL All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup winning defenseman Jim Watson joined older brother Joe as the first sibling pair to be enshrined in the Flyers Hall of Fame.

Although he played in the 1970s to early 1980s, Jim Watson's skills would be adaptable to any era, including today's NHL game.

An excellent skater, Watson excelled in puck possession and making a quick and accurate first pass. As a defender playing without the puck, Jim Watson was among the very best in the NHL. He was positionally sound, had a fast and strong defensive stick and poised under pressure.

Watson was highly respected in the Flyers' dressing room. He had an excellent work ethic, played through pain willingly and effectively and, above all, was a team-oriented player.

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