Ranking the Flyers redheads
Breaking down the analysis that really matters.
Well. Here we are.
Just under a month after my first piece for the good people of BSH, Vox decided to lay off and stop supporting not only Broad Street Hockey, but a vast majority of SB Nation hockey sites. This obviously sucks, not only for myself, but for the individuals who have built this site from the ground up from before SB Nation was even involved. But I want to offer a moment of positivity at a time of a lot of stress and disappointment for a lot of people; I am excited to see, and be a part of, whatever future endeavors come from this great group of talented writers and content producers. Can’t get rid of us that easily.
That isn’t the topic of this article, I just felt like it needed to be mentioned.
No, today we are finally addressing the real issues: Ranking all of the redheads on your Philadelphia Flyers in the order of how important they are to the organization. For some reason, the Flyers have just become inundated with gingers over the past decade, the franchise was anchored by Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek for quite a while, and after their departure, a new crop of fiery Flyers have taken up the mantle.
Maybe it’s an aesthetic choice from Chuck Fletcher to have players whose hair pairs well with the team’s jerseys, maybe he wanted to do it in Minnesota too, but couldn’t find enough players with green hair. Can’t rule it out, although it would require more foresight to pull off than he has shown in his tenure thus far so... yeah.
NR: Max Willman, Kieffer Bellows
Max Willman and Kieffer Bellows won’t make the list right now, simply because they’re both currently in Lehigh Valley with the Phantoms despite both playing games with the big club this season. There’s really nothing to say about these two since their combined stats read as such: 21 games played, 0 points, -8 rating, 10 penalty minutes. Bellows has some pedigree being a former 1st round pick of the New York Islanders in 2016, but ultimately he made even less of an impact than Willman did, so there really isn’t anything more to say about these two. Except they have red hair.
5. Patrick Brown
Brown shares a lot of similarities to the two players listed above in that he is a guy who plays hockey at a professional level. He was acquired midway through last season as a waiver pickup from Vegas, and is a stereotypical “Torts” guy. Blocks shots, dumps and chases, very little in terms of discernible hockey skills, but a loyal foot soldier who will put his body on the line. It is easy to respect guys like Brown, someone who works for every minute he gets and has at times created havoc as a part of the Flyers crash and bang 4th line.
However, with just one goal and four points in 30 games, he really is just a foot soldier. A foot soldier with orange hair on his head and face.
4. Nicolas Deslauriers
Nic Deslauriers plays a pretty similar role to what Patrick Brown in that his game is based more on physical play than on anything he does with the puck.
But the primary reason why he gets the edge over Brown is that he really enjoys punching people in the head. Deslauriers is tied for the league lead in fighting majors with eight, and while that doesn’t necessarily make the team better, it does make games more exciting, especially when the Flyers are play teams that totally outmatch them skill-wise. That is enough on its own to secure Deslauriers the four spot here and beat out his linemate Brown, but the former long time Anaheim Duck also possesses a decent set of hands that he used to score a sweet backhanded finish against the Maple Leafs earlier this year.
He’s on a pretty excessive contract, but it seems like he’s a good guy and is very well liked wherever he goes, so you can only be so upset. He also sports a classic enforcer beard which is great, but it’s kind of on fence as to whether or not it’s actually orange, debate in the comments below.
3. Wade Allison
Now we start to get to the players who actually have some long term potential. Allison has looked great since returning from a brief injury in November, and has continued that strong form into 2023. Allison has 11 points in 31 games, with four of those coming in his last five appearances.
As a young player in a lineup full of young players, he hasn’t been able to really increase his play time yet, but his recent play has definitely warranted a longer look in some more high leverage scenarios. He has a nose for the net and seems able to complement other players with skills well if he finds himself higher up in the lineup, similar to Michael Raffl in that way.
But more importantly, Wade might have the craziest head of hair on the entire roster. The long bright orange mane that flies out of the back of his helmet as he launches himself full speed into the corner makes you almost wish helmets were optional again, and the matching goatee/mustache combo is just perfection. If this was strictly off of hair alone, the he would be a lock for the number one spot but sadly, I tried to keep this list at least slightly objective, so he lands here.
2. Cam York
Yam Cork has been sneakily really good this year. Not 21-year old NHL defenseman good, just good in comparison to anyone. He’s not Cale Makar or Quinn Hughes charging up the ice on end-to-end rushes. but he is such a calming presence with a quick stride that can get him back in position whenever he ends up out of shape, which doesn’t happen often.
A tweet featuring some of York’s analytical numbers did the rounds earlier in the month, and it tracks with how he’s looked on a game-by-game basis. There’s a case that York is already the Flyers most consistent defender, which is great for him, but also says a lot about how those around him have performed. Whichever way you look at it, York looks like he is well on the way to becoming a key piece to the Flyers future. Also, on draft night in 2019, his hair was so orange it almost looked the Flyers were pulling a prank.
1. Owen Tippett
Tippett has been one of this season’s most pleasant surprises. When he was acquired as the centerpiece of the Claude Giroux trade at last year’s trade deadline, there were lofty (and probably unfair) expectations of what Tippett should be.
Coming to a team in return for a franchise legend is never easy, but Tippett has done as much as he could to help Flyers fans get over the loss of their long-time captain. There were some worries in Florida after he was drafted 10th overall in 2017, but had trouble making an impact for the Panthers, but maybe a change of scenery was all that was needed to unlock his full potential. In his first full season with the Flyers, Tippett has already surpassed his season high point total from his time with the Panthers, and shows no signs of stopping.
The one thing that has stood out the most is his cannon of a shot, specifically his one-timer, which the Flyers have utilized as a weapon on their (still horrible) power play. He’ll turn 24 in February, but even if he never progressed beyond where he is right now, he would still be a very useful middle-six forward for the future.
To top it all off however, is the fact that his appearance is 100% worthy of being named the #1 redhead. Between him and Wade Allison, the Flyers have cornered the market of NHLers that look like extras in “Braveheart”. His hair is so unbelievably neon orange, that it almost matches perfectly to the bright red Panthers sweater he wore on in his draft day portrait. He was born to be a Flyer. Literally. There was no way he wouldn’t have ended up here at some point, and right now it looks like a decision that will pay dividends.