Sometimes the second time is the charm. Whether their first stint in Philadelphia was less than impressive, or they were brought back via trade or free agency because they meant so much to the franchise the first time, returning players are always welcomed back to the Flyers organization they once called home.
Number 5- Mikael Renberg
One-third of the feared Leigon of Doom line, his first stint in Philly lasted from 1993 to 1997. Renberg was traded to Tampa Bay as a way to get their first round picks back they sent to the Lightning as compensation for signing restricted free agent Chris Gratton. 16 months later, Renberg was brought back to Philadelphia in another trade with the Bolts, essentially undoing the first trade. While he didn’t have the same success he found with the Legion of Doom, he still managed to record 55 points in 108 games before again being dealt to the Coyotes.
Number 4- Simon Gagne
Simon Gagne was one of the most beloved Flyers of all time after spending ten seasons in orange and black during the 2000’s. Gagne was re-acquired from the LA Kings during the 2012-13 season to help restore an injury decimated roster. Playing only 27 games and registering 11 points during his second tenure, Gagne was no longer the man that tore it up with Peter Forsberg almost a decade earlier, but it was great to see a fan favorite return to Philadelphia. Gagne is still sits ninth all-time in goalscoring in Flyers history.
Number 3- Ron Hextall
Ron Hextall was six seasons deep into his Flyers career when he was traded as part of the blockbuster deal for Eric Lindros. He spent one season with the Nordiques and one with the Islanders before returning to Philly during the 1994-95 season. Hextall came back vastly improved and more controlled than when he was traded two years prior. His penalty minutes were cut by almost 80% and his stat line was also improved. Spending five years with the Flyers in his second go-around, he managed to post a sub-three GAA for all five seasons, something he failed to do during any season in his career.
Number 2- Mark Recchi
While Mark Recchi’s two best seasons happened during his first tenure as a Flyer in 1993-94 and 1994-95, he returned to Philadelphia in 1998 and played another six seasons with the Flyers. Recording 365 points in 402 games during his second tenure he helped the Flyers reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000 and 2004. Four of his seven All-Star appearances happened as a Flyer, albeit two during his first run. Recchi was a special player, having a career that spans 23 years, 1652 NHL games, 1533 NHL points (10 years, 602 games, 627 points as a Flyer) he’ll go down in history as one of the most underrated Flyers of all-time.
Number 1- Bernie Parent
Taken by the Flyers in the original expansion draft, Parent played four years in Philadelphia before he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971, where he became a much more technically proficient goalie. He was eventually traded back to Philly in 1973, where he helped lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup twice. Parent could have done even more with the Flyers, but an eye injury ended his career at only 34 years of age in 1979.
Mike Knuble– After spending the peak of his career with the Flyers from 2005-2009, he left in the summer of 2009 to play with the Capitals, where his career slowly came to an end. After not being re-signed by Washington in the summer of 2012, the Flyers signed him to a one year contract in January. Knuble played 28 more games as a Flyer in 2013, scoring four goals and eight points in his return. It was a nice sendoff for a fan favorite that was one of the lone happy spots during the 2012-13 season.
Rick Tocchet- Originally drafted by the Flyers in 1983, Tocchet spent the first eight seasons of his career in Philaldephia, recording 464 points in that span. He would go on to play for Pittsburgh, L.A., Boston, Washington, and Phoenix, before returning to play the last three seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, though missing a majority of that time with injuries.
Brian Boucher– Boucher didn’t just return to Philly once, he returned three separate times. Known as a journeyman goalie, Boucher suited up for seven different teams in is 13-year career. He was originally drafted by the Flyers in 1995, then later traded to Phoenix for goaltender Robert Esche in 2002. He signed as a free agent in Philly in the summer of 2009 to backup Ray Emery, but due to an injury, Boucher formed a tandem with Michael Leighton and the duo carried the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final. He would later lose his crease to the Bryzgalov/Bobrovsky tandem, so he signed as a free agent in Carolina in 2011. He would make his final return to the Flyers organization in 2013. He spent most of the time with the Phantoms, but played four games for the Flyers before finally calling it a career at season’s end.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: bleacherreport.com