Flyers

Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

ap-mark-recchi.jpg
AP Images

Why Flyers should retire Mark Recchi's No. 8

Flyers president Paul Holmgren called it the “highest honor in franchise history.”

And it’s certainly a very exclusive club.

Eric Lindros last Thursday became just the sixth player in over 50 seasons of Flyers hockey to have his number retired by the organization, although there are actually eight numbers that will never be worn again.

The Flyers removed Pelle Lindbergh’s No. 31 out of circulation shortly after his death in 1985, and the NHL officially retired Wayne Gretzky’s 99 league-wide amongst its member organizations in 2000.

But with the recent retirement of No. 88, Flyers fans may not see another name and number raised to the rafters in a very long time.

Unless.

Unless the organization makes strong consideration for the guy who wore No. 8, Mark Recchi.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of the Recchi argument.

Hockey Hall of Fame
Recchi has already cleared the tallest obstacle — induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, which now seems to be a franchise prerequisite that started with Bill Barber. Barber’s No. 7 was raised to the Spectrum rafters three weeks after his Hall of Fame induction in 1990.

Mark Howe followed suit as the Flyers staged his No. 2 retirement ceremony in March 2012 — four months following his HHOF induction in 2011, and now Lindros.

Recchi was enshrined in 2017 along with Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Dave Andreychuk, plus a few others.

A productive 10-year Flyers career
Recchi’s career spanned 1,652 games, or more than twice the length of Lindros’ NHL career. While he didn’t play the majority of his lengthy career in Philadelphia, Recchi played more games (602) with the Flyers than any other team by a considerable margin. Recchi’s next longest tenure was 389 games with Pittsburgh.

In terms of games played in Philadelphia, Recchi ranks 18th in franchise history, having played more games than Lindros (482) and even Howe (594). Along with Bob Clarke and Barber, Recchi is the only other Hall of Famer to play 600 games with the Flyers' organization.

Recchi also put up some massive numbers, scoring 232 goals and 627 points — one of five players (with at least 400 games played) who averaged a point per game. Lindros is the gold standard for the orange and black with 1.36 points per game. Recchi’s 1.04 clip trails only Tim Kerr, Brian Propp and Clarke, and is actually better than Barber’s 0.98 points per game average.

Recchi currently holds the franchise record for most points in a single season with 123, a record that has stood for 25 years, and along with Clarke, they’re the only two players in franchise history with multiple 100-point seasons.

Flyers Hall of Fame
Despite the previously mentioned accomplishments, Recchi awaits the Flyers Hall of Fame — a group that includes 20 players along with five coaches and executives.

Hall of Fame induction is voted upon by a combination of media members and team officials. Since Recchi was actively playing until his retirement after the 2010-11 season, his name hasn’t been much of a consideration. That should change moving forward.

With Claude Giroux recently passing Recchi for eighth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list, it should be noted Recchi still has more points than any player currently eligible for the Flyers HOF.

Postseason accomplishments
Here’s where the case for Recchi gets a little murky. With 36 career playoff points in 65 postseason games, Recchi ranks just 25th in franchise history. However, that total is still three points better than Gary Dornhoefer's playoff totals.

Recchi’s most productive playoff run came in 2000 when the Flyers reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final before losing a 2-1 elimination game to the Devils. Recchi scored 18 points in 18 postseason games that year.

However, Recchi’s signature playoff moment with the Flyers came in triple-overtime of Game 4 of the 2003 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That game-winning goal evened the series at 2-2, as the Flyers eventually took down the Leafs in seven games.

However, Recchi will always be remembered for winning three Stanley Cup championships with three different organizations: Penguins in 1991, Hurricanes in 2006 and the Bruins in 2011 at the age of 42.

The verdict
Curiously, for a player who scored 577 career goals spanning four decades, Recchi was selected to just one All-Star team in his 22-year career (1992 with the Penguins). He never played the majority of his career with one team, but his time spent in Philadelphia was the longest — 602 of 1,652 games (36 percent).

Recchi is certainly Flyers Hall of Fame-worthy, and if consideration is given to the overall greatness of No. 8, he very well should be the seventh player to have his number retired.

Recapping the Flyers' 2018 NHL draft class

Recapping the Flyers' 2018 NHL draft class

While the weekend felt rather subdued to Ron Hextall (see story), the Flyers still made some history of their own at the 2018 NHL draft.

The Flyers entered with nine picks and ended up making eight — none of which were used on a Canadian player, a first in the organization's history. 

Over the two-day draft, which wrapped up Saturday, the Flyers selected five American players and three Swedish players.

Let's recap the Flyers' work in Dallas:

First round, No. 14: Joel Farabee, 6-0/164, LW

Analysis: A legitimate two-way winger with a big shot and scoring mentality.

Quotable: "He's got speed. He's got skill. He can score. He's a good player and he has size in his family, so I still think there's a chance he can grow." - Hextall

First round, No. 19: Jay O'Brien, 5-11/176, C

Analysis: Some may view it as a reach, but the Flyers love O'Brien's makeup and ability.

Quotable: "He just has the traits of a hockey player. Just his timing of passes, when to shoot, when to pass. He's a really smart hockey player. He's competitive. He's strong. He's got a little agitator in him." - Hextall

Second round, No. 50: Adam Ginning, 6-4/206, D

Analysis: A stay-at-home defenseman with toughness and size.

Quotable: "We like his size. We like his upside. He’s a big guy and he moves pretty well for a big guy. He’s got solid puck skills and he has the range we need for a solid defensive defenseman." - Hextall

Fourth round, No. 112: John St. Ivany, 6-2/198, D

Analysis: A right-handed shot blueliner the Flyers wanted.

Quotable: "Good size, moves well. Kind of one of those steady-Eddie types of guys, solid with the puck. He was a good fit for our group." - Hextall

Fifth round, No. 127: Wyatte Wylie, 6-0/190, D

Analysis: Another righty blueliner that saw his draft stock shoot up in the second half of his junior season.

Quotable: "I like to describe myself as a two-way defenseman, one that can move pucks up and likes to join the play." - Wylie

Fifth round, No. 143: Samuel Ersson, 6-2/176, G

Analysis: The Flyers were not going to chase a goalie but liked the ceiling here.

Quotable: "We think there’s some upside there that hasn’t been tapped yet. We got him a lot later. Had we needed a goalie, we would have taken him a lot earlier." - Hextall

Sixth round, No. 174: Gavin Hain, 5-11/193, C

Analysis: A teammate of Farabee with bottom-six potential.

Quotable: "The NTDP itself is a hard-grooming place to play as a player, but it’s a great spot to develop." - Hain

Seventh round, No. 205: Marcus Westfalt, 6-3/203, C/LW

Analysis: An Oskar Lindblom-type prospect? Westfalt has some traits to like.

Quotable: "I like the mix that we got — three D, four forwards, a goalie. I like the mix, I like the fits. We got some good players. We got some skill up front. We got some guys in the back that complement our group with some size, some steady guys." - Hextall

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

5 thoughts on Flyers' 2018 NHL draft

5 thoughts on Flyers' 2018 NHL draft

Ron Hextall entered his fifth draft as Flyers general manager with nine selections and left Dallas making eight of them — a pretty typical draft weekend under the Hextall regime.

With Hextall as GM, the Flyers have averaged 8.4 draft picks and their eight selections this year are the second least with him steering the ship. He made six picks in his first draft in 2014.

As the offseason now shifts onto development camp and free agency, let’s break down the weekend that was for the Flyers at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

1. The overall draft class

Hextall emphasized during last week the need to restock the Flyers’ defensive pipeline and that right-handed defensemen were a “big fill” in the organization. On Day 2, he followed through.

The Flyers used their first three picks Saturday on defensemen: Adam Ginning (50th overall), John St. Ivany (112th overall) and Wyatte Wylie (127th overall). St. Ivany and Wylie are righties.

Overall, the Flyers’ draft class from Rounds 2-7 didn’t seem to blow anyone away, but with a prospect pool as deep as the Flyers, this draft wasn’t about refilling the cupboard.

What mattered most about this draft was the two first-rounders and while Jay O’Brien is a bit of a wild card, Joel Farabee was as perfect as an option the Flyers had available at No. 14 overall.

Drafts can’t be judged until three or five years down the line, so we won’t know how this overall crop will pan out. But if one of Farabee or O’Brien hit, that’s all that matters.

Farabee, especially, fits an organizational need as a quick, shoot-first natural winger.

If all goes according to plan, this draft class should be judged on the first-round picks. It’s important to find diamonds in the rough and perhaps they have. Time will tell.

But based on the Flyers’ current timetable to compete, they need at least one of these two first-rounders to turn into an impact NHL player. My money is on Farabee being just that.

2. A quiet weekend

Part of the allure of draft weekend is the constant trade speculation leading up to Round 1 and throughout the first round. Friday was a fairly quiet night in the NHL player transaction ledger.

Saturday some saw significant player movement with Ilya Kovalchuk and signing with the Kings and the Flames trading Dougie Hamilton to Carolina for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindblom.

But none from the Flyers. The draft is when Hextall comes out of his cage and yells, “I am Ron, hear me roar.” For Hextall, the draft is where he does his best, and loudest, work.

Technically, this is the first draft the Flyers didn’t make any moves of note, but that is misleading. When Philly hosted the draft in 2014, Hextall’s first, the Flyers reportedly were hot in pursuit of trading up from No. 17 overall to the top pick to draft Aaron Ekblad.

In the end, Hextall couldn’t strike his magic. Every year since he has … since now. It was a weird feeling not seeing the Flyers subject of trade rumors this weekend.

The Flyers didn’t leave Dallas without making one trade, though. Hextall reached into his bag of tricks and traded the 190th overall to the Canadiens for a seventh-rounder in 2019.


3. The growth of USA hockey on full display

For the first time in franchise history, the Flyers did not draft a Canadian-born player. Their breakdown goes as followed: Five Americans and three Swedes.

Hextall continued to add college-bound prospects Saturday with the selections of St. Ivany and Gavin Hain (sixth round, 174th overall). St. Ivany is headed to Yale and Hain, North Dakota.

Hain is also the second player the Flyers drafted from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and was Farabee’s teammate. That’s of note because they haven’t drafted a player from the USNTDP since James van Riemsdyk (No. 2 overall) in 2007. 

If the Flyers drafting no Canadians means anything, it should be viewed as the growth of USA Hockey. It was a pretty good year for the NTDP, which had 12 players drafted.

4. Too early to compare

Of the Flyers’ Day 2 picks, Marcus Westfalt may be the most intriguing.

Westfalt was the Flyers’ final selection, taken with the 205th pick. He’s a big winger described as a two-way player. His skill level doesn’t appear to be high-end, but he has potential.

It’s easy to make comparisons to Oskar Lindblom, who fell to the fifth in 2014, but it’s far too early to make that connection. Lindblom’s issue was his skating — it needed major work.

After years of working on it, Lindblom elevated his skating up a few notches. He’s by no means a great skater now, but he improved enough to make the jump to the NHL.

At the very least, Westfalt can be chalked up as an intriguing prospect to watch overseas.

5. The name game

It wouldn't be a hockey draft without an ode to great hockey names.

The Flyers got a gem of their own: Wyatte Wylie in the fifth round.

I feel like the Coyotes should have drafted him. Wylie the Coyote.

I’ll see myself out.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• If Morin doesn't pan out, is this pick the replacement?  

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• 4 thoughts from Day 1 of 2018 NHL draft

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition