It’s the end of Marvel Week here at SB Nation, so “super” things are on the brain. After casting the Flyers as Avengers and looking at the best characters in team history, I wanted to go in a bit of a different direction.
Superheroes come in many shapes in sizes, and one of them is someone who shows up out of nowhere, saves the day, and then rides off into the sunset. (Okay, maybe it isn’t, but go with it).
Here are five players in Philadelphia Flyers history who made a super impact despite playing just one single season (or less) in Philadelphia.
Bruce Cowick (1973-74)
Bruce Cowick likely isn’t a name known by most Flyers fans. In fact, he never even played a regular season game for the Flyers. Despite that, his name is forever etched in history on the Stanley Cup thanks to the Flyers’ first Cup win in 1974.
He also deserves to be on this list for those mutton chops alone.
The Flyers acquired Cowick in a minor league trade with the San Diego Gulls of the Western Hockey League on May 23, 1973. Cowick spent the 1973-74 regular season with the Richmond Robins, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate from 1971 until 1976.
Cowick scored 14 goals and added seven assists for 21 points – and had 138 penalty minutes – in 68 regular season games for Richmond. He also played in five Calder Cup Playoff games, scoring a goal and recording an assist.
The 22-year-old forward was then called upon by the Orange and Black on hockey’s biggest stage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cowick filled in for Bob Kelly, who suffered an injury, and played eight games during those 1974 playoffs.
That would be the highlight of Cowick’s Flyers career. He played in zero regular season games, eight playoff games, and won the Stanley Cup. He was then claimed by the Washington Capitals in the 1974 NHL Expansion Draft.
Cowick played 65 games in the 1974-75 season for the Capitals and five for the St. Louis Blues the next year before retiring from professional hockey.
Ted Harris (1974-75)
Ted Harris had a storied career before joining the Flyers in the 1974-75 season. He was a five-time All-Star (1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972) with the Montreal Canadiens. He also won the Stanley Cup four times with the Canadiens (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969).
Philadelphia was Harris’ final stop on his NHL career. The defenseman played 70 games in the 1974-75 season, scoring one goal and adding six assists for seven points, to go along with 48 penalty minutes. Harris played in 16 of the Flyers’ 17 playoff games – recording four assists – in 1975 en route to the team’s second straight Stanley Cup.
Harris had played in Philadelphia before that, however, spending two seasons with the Philadelphia Ramblers in the EHL in ‘56-57 and ‘58-59.
The defenseman didn’t have a huge impact for the Flyers, but he made one final stop for his career, won the Stanley Cup, and rode off into the sunset.
Alexei Zhamnov (2003-04)
Jumping ahead nearly 30 years, Alexei Zhamnov helped the 2003-04 Flyers reach the Eastern Conference Final. The Flyers traded for Zhamnov on February 19th, 2004 in hopes of bolstering their roster for the stretch run and playoffs.
The veteran winger was at the tail end of his NHL career, but he made quite the impact for the Flyers in his short time in Philadelphia.
Zhamnov led the Flyers with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in the 20 games to close out the regular season, playing 18:31 per night for the club. He kept it up in the playoffs as well, recording 14 points in 18 games. He did most of his damage early on in the postseason, with an eight-game point streak (11 points) against the Devils and Maple Leafs in the first two rounds.
He scored the eventual game-winning goal midway through the third period in Game 2 against Toronto.
The Russian winger was a free agent after the season, which turned into the lockout, and played just 24 more NHL games in his career after leaving the Flyers.
Ian Laperriere (2009-10)
Ian Laperriere became a hero for Flyers fans during the 2009-10 season. The hard-working winger endeared himself to Philadelphia by putting his body on the line.
Early in the season, “Lappy” took a slap shot to the face, received between 50 and 100 stitches, and returned to the game in the third period.
He also didn’t miss a game, as he played in all 82 games that season.
Lappy suffered a similar, and more serious, injury in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the series-clinching Game 5 against the Devils, he took another slap shot to the face.
This time he suffered an orbital injury and minor concussion, and it was assumed he would miss the remainder of the year. But that didn’t keep Lappy down. He missed the seven-game comeback against the Bruins, but returned in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final and played in every playoff game after that.
Unfortunately, the injuries as a result of that blocked shot ended his playing career.
Laperriere wasn’t the most skilled or the most talented, but he put everything on the line and had the courageousness of a superhero.
Jaromir Jagr (2011-12)
Last, but certainly not least, is Jaromir Jagr. Jagr pulled the ultimate heel turn by spurning the Pittsburgh Penguins and deciding to sign with the Flyers upon returning to the NHL for the 2011-12 season.
Jagr spent years tormenting the Flyers as a Penguin and Ranger, but his one season in Philadelphia is one to remember. He has the most points in Flyers history for a player that played just one season in Orange and Black.
Despite battling nagging injuries, he scored 19 goals and added 35 assists for 54 points in 73 games. He also picked up eight points in 11 playoff games, including seven points in six games to knock off the Penguins.
Jagr was great in the locker room and on the ice. He especially helped budding superstar Claude Giroux, who saw a breakout year with Jagr on his wing. Giroux had 28 goals and 65 assists for a total of 93 points that season. Those were all career highs until his 102-point season a few years ago.
Jagr returned to the NHL after playing three seasons in the KHL, and he made the most of his first season back with the Flyers.