The Philadelphia Flyers are honoring one of the best defensemen in team history on Thursday night prior to facing the Buffalo Sabres as Eric Desjardin will be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
While he is clearly one of the best, where does Desjardins rank all time in club history?
Need a hint? It’s pretty high.
With Desjardin’s name being added to rafters above, it’s as good of an excuse as ever to come up with a list.
Here is Metro’s choice for the top five Flyers defensemen of all time.
No. 5 Kimmo Timonen
The smooth skating Finland native has 270 points in 519 games with the Flyers and served as the top defensemen for all but one year since arriving in 2007. He’s won the Barry Ashbee Trophy – given to the team’s best defenseman – four times and represented the Flyers in three all-star games. An iron man who had missed just 21 games over his first seven seasons in Philly, Timonen has not played this year while recovering from blood clots. He will join Desjardin in the Hall in the near future.
No. 4 Chris Pronger
The future hockey Hall of Famer played just one full season with the Flyers – and only 145 total regular season games – but it was one of the top individual performances in club history. Combining a monster shot from the point, an intimidating presence at the blue line and in-your-face leadership, he helped carry the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. He had 18 points in 23 games during the postseason stretch but his career was shortened due to a serious concussion.
No. 3 Jimmy Watson
The unheralded Watson was quietly one of the best defensemen during the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup championship teams in the 1974 and ’75. A model of consistency, Watson was strong at both ends of the ice and spent his entire 10-year career with the Flyers.
No. 2 EricDesjardin
Arriving in a trade from Montreal along with John LeClair in 1994-95, the honoree won the Ashbee Trophy a record seven times and six straight years from 1994-95 through 1999-2000 and played in two all-star games. A calming presence in his own zone, excellent defender and offensively-gifted player who averaged 46 points over a six-year span, Desjardin was the quintessential defenseman.
No. 1 Mark Howe
The complete package, the 2001 Flyers Hall inductee is one of the best defensemen in NHL history. The son of legend Gordie Howe, he still holds the club record for most points in a single season with 82 (24 goals, 58 assists) and finished his 10-year career in Philly with 480 points and a plus-349 in 594 games. His number has been retired by the Flyers and he is a member of the hockey Hall of Fame.