The Philadelphia Flyers have had several teams that were unable to win a Stanley Cup over the years. While we were going through them this week, it got us to thinking: who are the best players in Flyers history to not win a Stanley Cup?
When looking at the best Flyers to never win a Stanley Cup during their playing days, I focused in on players with long tenures in Philadelphia. I also keyed in on the word never, meaning that players that won the Stanley Cup before or after their stints in Philadelphia were not considered.
There have been plenty, so let’s start with the forwards.
Here are the best forwards in Flyers history – listed chronologically – that have not won a Stanley Cup.
Brian Propp (1979 - 1989)
Games: 790 (4th)
Goals: 369 (2nd)
Assists: 480 (3rd)
Points: 849 (3rd)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 3 (1980, 1985, 1987)
Brian Propp led the way for the Flyers in the 1980s, and is probably the most decorated player on this list.
He is only behind other Flyers legends in most statistical categories, trailing Bill Barber in goals, Bobby Clarke and Barber in points, and Clarke and Claude Giroux in assists. He played the fourth-most games in Flyers history, behind the three aforementioned players.
Propp was a five-time All-Star between 1980 and 1990, making the All-Star Game in every even year in that span. He holds multiple franchise records as well, including most game-winning goals (12) and shorthanded goals (7) in a single season.
The winger posted 90-point seasons in four of five years in the early-to-mid ‘80s, and was a key cog in the Flyers teams that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1980, 1985, and 1987. He had 15 points in 19 games in the 1980 playoffs, 18 points in 19 games in the 1985 playoffs, and led the team with 28 points in 26 games in the 1987 playoffs.
Brian Propp made the Stanley Cup Final five times in total, once with the Boston Bruins in 1990 and the Minnesota North Stars in 1991, but he was never able to get over the hump and win hockey’s ultimate prize.
Propp was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1999.
Tim Kerr (1980 - 1991)
Games: 601 (21st)
Goals: 363 (3rd) | Goals per game: 0.60 (1st)
Assists: 287 (15th)
Points: 650 (7th) | Points per game: 1.08 (2nd)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 2* (1985, 1987)
Tim Kerr was right alongside Propp in the 1980s as another one of the Flyers’ important forwards. While he didn’t play in as many games as Propp due to injuries, Kerr is still among the franchise leaders in goals and points. In fact, he has the highest goals per game (0.60) in franchise history and is behind only Eric Lindros (we’ll get to him in a bit) in points per game.
The Flyers made the Stanley Cup Final twice during Kerr’s career, but he was unable to play in either series due to injuries. A knee injury kept him out of the final two rounds of the playoffs in 1985, and a shoulder injury did the same in 1987. If Kerr was healthy, there’s a much greater chance that the Flyers take home Lord Stanley’s Cup in one of those years.
That shoulder injury cost Kerr most of the 1987-88 season, when he played just eight games after four straight 50-goal, 90-point seasons. However, Kerr bounced right back in the 1988-89 season with 48 goals and 88 points in 69 games, earning him the Masterson Trophy.
Unfortunately, Kerr’s career faded after that, playing just 67 total games for the Flyers in the next two seasons, and 54 in the two seasons after that with the Rangers and Whalers.
Kerr was a physical winger that could check as well as he could score. He was a dominant force when he was on the ice, but injuries kept him from lifting the Stanley Cup.
Dave Poulin (1983 - 1990)
Games: 467 (41st)
Goals: 161 (19th)
Assists: 233 (20th)
Points: 394 (22nd)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 2 (1985, 1987)
Between Propp and Kerr was Dave Poulin. The centerman put up 69 or more points in each of his first four full seasons from 1983 to 1987. That aligned with the Flyers’ two trips to the Stanley Cup Final during his tenure in 1985 and 1987.
Poulin was a strong two-way center whose 27 shorthanded goals are third most in Flyers history, behind only Clarke (32) and Barber (31). That defensive prowess helped him win the Selke Trophy in the 1986-87 season en route to the Stanley Cup Final. He also made the All-Star Game in 1986 and 1988.
Poulin only spent a little over the first half of his career in Philadelphia, but those were undoubtedly his best years. He had an impressive points per game of 0.84 during his Flyers career.
Poulin was inducted to the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2004.
Pelle Eklund (1985 - 1994)
Games: 589 (23rd)
Goals: 118 (T-32nd)
Assists: 334 (11th)
Points: 452 (17th)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 1 (1987)
Pelle Eklund was one of the most skilled players the Flyers had in the 1980s. While the rest of the team had that Broad Street Bullies mentality, Eklund was happy to skate around and score instead of fight.
The playmaking center from Sweden was the highest scoring European player in Flyers history for quite some time before Jake Voracek passed him a few years ago.
Eklund was a fan favorite at the Spectrum and that culminated in his performance during the 1987 playoffs. He trailed Propp by one point for the team lead with 27 in 26 games, and led the team with 20 assists during their playoff run.
Eklund didn’t rack up as many goals or points as the rest of the players on this list, but he played a big role on those teams in the late ‘80s.
Eric Lindros (1992 - 2000)
Games: 486 (38th)
Goals: 290 (8th) | Goals per game: 0.60 (2nd)
Assists: 369 (T-7th) | Assists per game: 0.76 (2nd)
Points: 659 (6th) | Points per game: 1.36 (1st)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 1 (1997)
Eric Lindros is the best Philadelphia Flyers forward to never win a Stanley Cup.
Lindros’ career was derailed by injuries, but when he was healthy and on the ice, he was as dominant as they come.
Despite playing in a lot less games than others, Lindros is still among the top 10 in goals, assists, and points, putting him in the top two Flyers in per-game rankings for those stats.
Lindros was tremendous in the 1990s, winning the Hart Trophy after scoring 29 goals and 70 points in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. The Flyers looked poised for some postseason success, but they fell at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, who went on to win the Stanley Cup caused plenty of problems for Lindros throughout his career.
He followed that up with the best year of his career in 1995-96, scoring 47 goals and 115 points, but once again the Flyers fell short in the playoffs.
The Flyers finally reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1997 after losing just one game in each of their first three series against the Penguins, Sabres, and Rangers, but they unfortunately then got swept by a ridiculous Detroit Red Wings team.
Lindros and the Flyers got close to the Stanley Cup Final in 2000, but once again it was the Devils that knocked them out of the playoffs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. After dealing with multiple concussions and disputes with the team, Lindros’ career in Orange and Black was over.
Eric Lindros could have been one of the best players in NHL history had it not been for injuries, and you have to think that he would’ve lifted the Stanley Cup at least once.
Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016, and the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2014. The Flyers retired Lindros’ #88 in 2018.
Claude Giroux (2008 - Present)
Games: 889 (3rd)
Goals: 257 (10th)
Assists: 558 (2nd)
Points: 815 (4th)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 1 (2010)
After four players from the past, two current Flyers round out the list starting with Claude Giroux.
Claude Giroux has recently been receiving the recognition that he deserves in Philadelphia and around the league. He is one of the best players in Flyers history – period.
Giroux has been one of the most consistent Flyers – and players in the league in general – since 2010, compiling 741 points in 763 games since the start of the 2010-11 season. Only Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin have more points than Giroux during that time.
Giroux is among the franchise leaders in nearly every statistical category. He is behind only Clarke and Barber in games played, trails only Clarke in assists, and is climbing up the ranks in points. He’ll have the second-most points in franchise history when all is said in done as his 815 points are just 68 behind Barber’s 883 in his career.
He reached the Stanley Cup Final in his first full NHL season, and it seemed that he would be destined for more playoff success in the future. While that hasn’t come true yet, it’s at no fault of his own. He has been the driving force behind the Flyers throughout the 2010s.
While the Flyers have only won two playoff series since 2010, Giroux is not to blame. The mid 2010s were full of top-heavy teams anchored by Giroux.
The 2013-14 Flyers had Andrew MacDonald averaging 22 minutes a game, with the likes of Nicklas Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, and even Hal Gill on defense.
The 2015-16 Flyers had Michael Del Zotto (23:25), Mark Streit (21:52), and Andrew MacDonald (20:07) as their most used defensemen. Hell, Chris VandeVelde played 232 games from 2014 to 2017.
Giroux has had to put the team on his back through the
transitioning years rebuild.
The good news for Giroux is that he is showing no signs of slowing down. After a scare in 2016-17 with just 58 points, he was in contention for the Hart Trophy with 102 points the next year, and has been able to prolong his production with a move to the wing.
32 years old is getting up there in terms of age in the NHL, but Giroux definitely has at least a few more good years in him. With Giroux and the older core joining forces with the younger core, he’ll have a few more cracks at winning the Stanley Cup.
Jake Voracek (2011 - Present)
Games: 674 (12th)
Goals: 168 (18th)
Assists: 393 (6th)
Points: 561 (11th)
Stanley Cup Final appearances: 0
Jake Voracek is one of the most overlooked Flyers in terms of pure production and consistency.
Since coming to the Flyers in the 2011 offseason, he has 561 points in 674 games. While that isn’t as impressive as Giroux’s fourth-most points since 2010, it has him at 15th in the league in points during that span. He is ahead of guys like Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, and Max Pacioretty. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
The same arguments above for Giroux can be said about Voracek. It has been them two leading the charge and holding down the fort throughout the 2010s, and it’s about time we recognize it.
Voracek has the sixth-most assists in franchise history, and he’ll move into fifth with three more to pass Mark Recchi (395). Unless something goes wrong, he’ll end up with the third-most assists in franchise history as he currently trails Propp (480) by just 87.
Getting into the top five in points isn’t out of the question either. Rick MacLeish is in fifth with 697 points, 136 ahead of Voracek. He’ll have to average just 34 points over his next four seasons to reach that mark. Barring any injuries, that should be a walk in the park for Voracek.
Voracek is two years younger than Giroux and is under contract through 2024, so the Stanley Cup window is still open for him as well.