A lot can change once a player has left an organization. Our local media don't spend much time talking about former Flyers, leaving us knowing little about those who once meant so much. That needs to change.
In this spirit, and perhaps to pay a little homage, Broad Street Hockey put together a four part series on Flyers past -- think of it as a "where are they now" type of thing. Each piece will focus on players that departed following the season specified in the headline, why they left, and what they're up to now.
First off, I should note that we're focusing this list on players who skated for 20 or more games. Furthermore, to keep thing contemporary, we'll start with the 2009-2010 season. Also, it just kind of makes sense to start with a season that has, let's say, a bit of significance.
Philadelphia entered October 2009 with high expectations, having gone all the way to the Eastern Conference finals the previous season, and eventually losing to some team from Pittsburgh. However, after a weak 13-11-1 start, head coach John Stevens was fired, ushering in the tenure of Peter Laviolette. After winning the last game of the season in a shootout against the New York Rangers, Laviolette's Flyers clinched the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. They weathered a crazy playoffs, eventually coming 2 wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup before Michael Leighton forgot how to play goalie and surrendered the series winner in overtime.
Of course, the Flyers never would have gotten there without stellar play from their team, some of whom sadly had to depart. So sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane with us.
Arron Asham - RW
What happened to him? After the Flyers declined to re-sign Asham, the Penguins inked him to a one-year deal. Asham ultimately spent two years in Pittsburgh before signing a two-year contract with the New York Rangers in the summer of 2012. After being benched last year in the playoffs, Asham was placed on waivers at the beginning of this season. He currently primarily plays in the AHL for the Hartford Wolfpack, save a call up here or there.
How is he doing? See above, although I guess it's better than not having a job…
Would you take him back? Asham certainly wasn't awful in Philadelphia, but it's clear that his best days are behind him. Beyond the fact that he can't crack a fourth line roster spot anymore, he would be largely redundant on the Flyers. We already have a guy who can only contribute by fighting. Why complicate things by adding another?
And let's not forget that that bit of nastiness he dealt to Brayden Schenn in the playoffs a few years ago…
Simon Gagne - LW
What happened to him? The Flyers entered the offseason needing to shed some cash from the salary cap, so GM Paul Holmgren shipped Simon Gagne off to Tampa Bay in exchange for Matt Walker (ugh) and a fourth round pick. He spent an injury-shortened season there before signing a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings. After winning a cup his first year, he was shipped back to the Flyers for the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. He is currently a free agent.
How is he doing? It's hard to say, considering he hasn't played at all this year.
Would you take him back? Based on his performance last season, probably. But the bigger question is would he even want to come back. This past offseason, there were rumblings that Simon Gagne would sign a deal to remain with the Flyers, a rumor that had us all penciling him in on the third line. Of course, Holmgren went out and decided to try to sign Daniel Cleary instead, which proved to be a disaster. After all that, Gagne had some not so nice (but accurate) things to say about the organization.
Lukas Krajicek - D
What happened to him? Failing to receive a contract extension from the Flyers, and presumably facing a dearth of interest in the NHL, Krajicek spent a year in his native Czech Republic playing in the Czech Extraliga. He then went on the sign with HC Dinamo Minsk in the KHL where he currently plays.
How is he doing? Since being relegated to foreign leagues, it seems like Krajicek has had a bit of success. He's slated to be on of the defensemen on the Czech Olympic hockey team, so he's at least considered good enough among his countrymen.
Would you take him back? Probably not. While Krajicek wasn't terrible on the Flyers, he wasn't all that special, either. Our last memories of him will always be tainted by that awful Parent-Krajicek pairing in the 2010 playoffs, and honestly, I'd rather not bring those memories up just to have yet another #6/#7 defenseman.
Ian Laperriere - C
What happened to him? Sadly, the 2010 playoffs was the last time we got to see Ian Laperriere play. In the first round against the Devils, Lappy took an absolutely brutal slap shot to the face (his second of the season). While he did return in the series against the Montreal Canadiens, that injury would prove to be a career ender for him. The next season, he served as a mentor for younger Flyers and helped injured players at practices. When he finally retired, the Flyers named him director of player development, a position he held for a little over a year before switching to an assistant coaching position.
How is he doing? For a guy whose career was ended short by injury, I suppose as well as possible.
Would you take him back? We kind of already did, and it's nice to see that he still has a place in the organization.
Ryan Parent - D
What happened to him? After the Flyers lost in the finals, it was clear that more help was needed on the blue line (perhaps precisely because of an over-reliance on Krajicek and Parent), so Paul Holmgren traded Parent back to Nashville in exchange for the rights to pending free agent (and current Olympian) Dan Hamhuis. Parent, however, never played a game for Nashville as he was quickly shipped off to Vancouver in a package deal. There he only dressed for four games, playing primarily with the Canucks' AHL affiliate. He currently plays for the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL.
How is he doing? It's kind of hard to tell considering he's only dressed for 11 games so far this season. Regardless, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the former first round pick didn't see himself becoming a career AHL player so quickly.
Would you take him back? Considering that: the Flyers traded him for the rights to a guy that they didn't sign but no one cared; his defensive abilities were often the subject of blame during the 2010 playoffs and; he has played only four NHL games since leaving Philadelphia, I think it's safe to say thanks but no thanks.
Mika Pyorala - C
What happened to him? Pyorala had an extremely short tenure in the NHL. He was signed in the 2009 offseason and pretty much no one knew who he was, having played entirely in Europe. Unfortunately, Pyorala's time with the Flyers was cut short due to a collarbone injury, and even when healthy he spent half of his time playing for the Phantoms. Since then, he's been bouncing around Europe, playing in the Swedish Elite League and the KHL.
How is he doing? Not too bad. He currently plays for Karpat in the Finnish Elite League, where he's notched 9 goals and 27 points in just 44 games. It's not like he's playing in the NHL, but those aren't horrible numbers by any stretch.
Would you take him back? It's hard to say, to be honest. His time in the NHL was so limited that it was impossible to see if he could fully adjust to the North American game. But, given that his age and the fact that the Flyers already have enough defensively minded centers, I would probably pass.
That does it for now. Next up is Part II, where we look at players that departed in the summer of 2011.