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If I was running the Flyers…a tribute to Keith Allen.


First, and foremost, I would eliminate the ghosts. Like Nearly Headless Nick there are ghosts that haunt the halls of Voorhees and the Wells Fargo Center that need to be exorcized. No more Bob Clarke, no more Bernie Parent, no more Ed Snider, no more Paul Holmgren. They can talk in their gilded picture frames, play in Alumni games, greet fans and watch from a suite, and that’s about it.
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With the passing of one of the greatest GMs in NHL history, Keith Allen, it is clear that the Flyers have moved away from his foundational philosophies, and in turn what made this a once great franchise. While yes the game has changed, foundationally these elements are what still make a franchise great.
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Build down the middle…starting with the net out. Bernie, Pete Peters, Pelle, Hexy (all Keith Allen moves). Foundational, franchise goaltenders…one could say that "goalies like that don’t grow on trees", but based on that legacy sequence, it’s seems that culturally one needs to be looking in order to find.

Flyers do not have that goaltender. Mason is not a franchise goalie.
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Centers…with the exorcism of the ghost of Bobby Clarke, there will no longer be the messianic expectation of the first line center. They can play their game, put up their points, and if they don't score, that's ok, they contribute in other ways. The second line center needs to be able to set up and score...Clarke had Rick MacLeish, a guy that would have been a #1 center on half the teams in the NHL.
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Dave Poulin (another Keith Allen move), led arguably the greatest team that never won. He was not a franchise center, but he was crucial to the success of a team that should have won two Cups, and had Zezel and then Eklund (both Allen picks). Lindros had Brind’amour, Richards had Carter and Briere.

Giroux does not have that scoring support at center.
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The third line center needs to be able to match up, shut down, kill penalties and chip in the clutch goal when no one expects it…Kindrachuk, Bridgeman, Ron Sutter (each a Keith Allen move), an aging Bobby Clarke at the end of his career, and yes, even a converted Dale Hawerchuk and Joel Otto split time being that guy.

The Flyers have arguably the best out of that bunch in Sean Couturier, but their current 4th line center is a guy no one else wanted in Adam Hall (picked up on waivers).
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The Anchor d-man… Ed Van Impe didn’t skate past the red line while Tom Bladon was 9th on the team in scoring…Bob Dailey was 9th in scoring in 1980…Mark Howe was 7th in 1985 and had Brad McCrimmon…I don’t think Brad Marsh played with a stick and Miroslav Dvorak was a shutdown machine (all Keith Allen moves).

Scoring from the point was always gravy, but foundationally, there will always be the essential need that when the seas get rough, the team has those anchor pairs that can settle things down in their own zone and protect the crease. The only priority in puck movement was getting it out of harm’s way.

The Flyers do not have those d-men. Timonen was special, but at 38, those days are behind him, and there is no one to take the wheel. Coburn is a nice #2 /#3, but is nowhere near a #1 d-man on a contender.
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Wings that can fly…Clarke had a Hall of Famer on one side in Bill Barber and a guy who set goal scoring records on the other, Reggie Leach. Poulin had one of the most pure goal scoring talents ever in O&B on one wing in Tim Kerr (another Keith Allen signing) and a guy who has numbers that should make him an HoF candidate in Brian Propp (a Keith Allen pick). Lindros had Leclair, Giroux has?
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Here’s a stark reminder of how huge the void of scoring talent on the wing has been for the Flyers: the last Flyers winger to finish in the top 20 in the NHL in scoring in a full season was…Mark Recchi, 2003-04…a full decade ago.

The Flyers do not have that winger(s). Simmonds and Voracek are nice players, but they would not be all-stars this season, and neither will finish in the top 20 in scoring.
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Goons that can play…Dave Schultz scored 20…Paul Holmgren scored 30…6th round draft pick Rick Tocchet came up as a goon that became a Captain…each a Keith Allen player. This is essential in dictating the emotional tempo of a game (see special teams).

Flyers do not have those goons.

Special teams…top 10 PK to allow the team to dictate rather than react. And when the other team retaliates, make them pay with a PPG against.

The Flyers do have excellent special teams, thanks in large part to Giroux and Couturier.

The path back to greatness starts with a franchise goalie…a #2 and #4 center…#1 d-man with a rock solid partner that can settle the play down when the going gets tough…2 wings that can score…and goons that can play.

The rest is interchangeable filler (nice players that are easily replaced), which includes…Hartnell, Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn, Read, Lecavalier, Rinaldo, Hall, Raffl, Downie…Timonen, Coburn, Streit, Schenn, Grossmann, Meszaros, Gustafsson, Mason, Emery…they will probably all be gone within 3 seasons…and hopefully for Keith Allen-esque foundational pieces that will return this once proud franchise to greatness.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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