After an offseason of change, the Philadelphia Flyers will welcome back several familiar faces this season. Key parts of the 2010s Flyers teams (and others) were traded over the past seven months, and they will be making their returns to Philadelphia this season.
It all starts tonight (November 2nd) with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere returning with the Arizona Coyotes. He’s the first of a bevy of homecomings –– good and bad –– for former Flyers this season.
So, if you’re wondering when your favorite former Flyer (or perhaps not-so-favorite) is returning to Philadelphia, we’ve got you covered.
Tuesday, November 2nd: Shayne Gostisbehere (Arizona Coyotes)
Shayne Gostisbehere and the Arizona Coyotes are in town for the first of several homecomings for former Flyers this season. The offensive defenseman started out as one of the most exciting reasons to watch the Flyers in the 2015-16 season. He ended as a salary cap dump to the Coyotes.
Gostisbehere set the NHL record for longest point streak by a rookie defenseman by recording a point in 15 straight games from January 19th to February 20th, 2016.
In 381 games with the Flyers across seven seasons, Gostisbehere scored 60 goals and added 159 assists for 219 points. That places him 44th all-time in Flyers franchise history. It ranks him fifth among defensemen, behind Mark Howe, Eric Desjardins, Kimmo Timonen, and Tom Bladon.
Gostisbehere wore out his welcome with portions of the media and fanbase towards the end of his seven years in Philadelphia, but he should be remembered fondly for his early years. Gostisbehere made the Flyers watchable during the mid-2010s, especially in the 2015-16 season. He would’ve won the Calder Trophy, too, had it not been for that meddling 24-year-old Artemi Panarin.
November 2nd is the Coyotes’ lone trip to Philadelphia this season.
Thursday, November 18th: Brian Elliott (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Brian Elliott signed with the Lightning this offseason after four seasons with the Flyers. Elliot was a capable backup in his first two years with the Flyers before falling off the past two seasons.
Elliott isn’t that a big a name as others on this list, but the backup goalie had his fans in Philadelphia. He also played in his 500th NHL game with the Flyers last season, which is pretty special.
Elliott went 65-38-14 with a .902 save percentage and 2.86 goals against average in 130 games (118 starts) across his four seasons in Philadelphia.
The Lightning will also be in Philadelphia on December 5th in the second half of a back-to-back after a game in Boston the night before. We could see Elliott starting in Philadelphia that night.
Thursday, January 20th: Jakub Voracek (Columbus Blue Jackets)
This should be a good one.
Jakub Voracek was hot-and-cold in Philadelphia due to his pass-first mentality, but his sharp tongue with the media and hot Twitter fingers helped win over some of the fans. As did his 604 points (177 goals, 427 assists), which are the 10th-most in franchise history. Those 604 points are also the most by a European-born player in Flyers history –– by far.
Voracek was acquired in an offseason of change and got traded back to his original team in another summer of swaps for the Flyers. The Czech winger played in 727 games across 10 seasons with the Flyers. He had his best seasons in the 2014-15 season with 81 points (22 goals, 59 assists) and the 2017-18 campaign with a career-high 85 points (20 goals, 65 assists).
Jakub Voracek will get his due when he returns to Philadelphia. He was the Robin to Claude Giroux’s Batman, and although those two couldn’t win anything together –– largely due to the cast of characters around them –– they will be linked as the cornerstones of the 2010s.
The Blue Jackets also visit Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 5th.
Monday, January 24th: Michael Raffl (Dallas Stars)
I know, I know. Michael Raffl isn’t on the same level as Voracek or Gostisbehere. But Raffl was a key role player during his time with the Flyers and a fan favorite to boot. And yes, he is on the Stars!
The Flyers plucked Raffl out of Austria and boy were they glad they did. He played in 504 games across eight seasons with the Flyers, putting up 160 points (81 goals, 79 assists). His most effective seasons came early on with a 21-goal effort (but just seven assists) during the 2014-15 season.
Raffl shuffled up and down the lineup during his time with the Flyers, including a top-line spot with Giroux and Voracek. In his later years, Raffl was relegated to the bottom six.
Saturday, March 5th: Erik Gustafsson (Chicago Blackhawks)
Just in case you want to boo him.
Tuesday, March 8th: Nolan Patrick (Vegas Golden Knights)
The 2017 No. 2 pick just never panned out in Philadelphia. Nolan Patrick is also having a tough time yearly in his career with the Vegas Golden Knights as he’s battling an upper-body injury.
In his three seasons with the Flyers, Patrick scored 30 goals and 40 assists for 70 points in 197 games.
Patrick (if healthy) will return with the Golden Knights in early March for their only visit to Philadelphia this season.
Thursday, March 17th: Philippe Myers (Nashville Predators)
Philippe Myers showed promise after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He formed a solid pair with Travis Sanheim for portions of the 2019-20 season. However, he couldn’t get back to that level last year and the Flyers had to move on.
In total, Myers played 115 games with the Flyers across three seasons. He averaged 17:28 per game and recorded 29 points with the Orange and Black.
This St. Patrick’s Day matchup is the Predators’ only trip to Philadelphia this year.
Sunday, April 17th: Robert Hagg (Buffalo Sabres)
Robert Hagg was a solid depth defenseman for the Flyers, but was traded as a part of the package for Rasmus Ristolainen this offseason.
Hagg played 236 games for the Flyers across five seasons. He averaged 18:08 per game in his first full season (2017-18) but dwindled down to the 15:40 range by last season.
The Swedish defenseman was known for his hitting and shot blocking. In fact, according to QuantHockey, Hagg has the ninth-most hits in Flyers history with 736. Granted, this is a newly recorded stat. Guys like Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Radko Gudas, Braydon Coburn, and Scott Hartnell round out the top five.
Hagg and the Sabres visit Philadelphia just once this season.