This Week in Flyers History
By Mike Watson
The 2014 NHL Draft was front and center the past few days at the WellsFargoCenter. The realization of a lifelong dream for many young men from all corners of the globe, to be drafted into the NHL, were about to come true. No matter if you are drafted first overall or taken long after the TV Cameras have left, you can still make an impact for the team that selects you. The heart, desire and work ethic of a player cannot be measured at a combine or with a scale. Below are some notable players taken in the later rounds that made an impact with the Flyers, made hockey a career and defied the odds.
1990 Round 3 Selection # 47 D Chris Therien
Affectionately nicknamed “Bundy”, Chris spent all but eleven games of his NHL career with the orange and black. He was drafted out of the NorthwoodSchool in Lake PlacidNY in 1990 and moved onto college, playing three years for the Providence Friars. He won Silver with the Canadian National Team in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. With the NHL lockout in 94-95, Chris went to the Hershey Bears to start the season , then joined the Flyers once the NHL season started, playing in all 48 games and 15 more in the playoffs. Over his career as a Flyer, many fans will remember his ‘assignment’ to match up against Jaromir Jagr as they had countless battles in the corners and around the net. “Bundy” used his 6 foot 5 frame to lean on Jagr and check him as much as he could – with pretty good success. One of the more rugged, physical Flyers of recent memory, Chris played in 753 regular season games as a Flyer defenseman, the most by a defenseman for this storied franchise. Like many former Flyers, Chris has stayed local after his NHL career and chose to raise a family here. With his knowledge of 12 NHL seasons under his belt, Chris is currently the color commentator for the radio broadcast of the Flyers, bringing the same energy to that job as he did wearing #6 for the orange and black.
1983 Round 6 Selection # 121 RW Rick Tocchet
Rick was drafted by the Flyers from the Sault Ste.Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League. After being drafted, we went back to the “Soo” for another season, registering 44 goals in 64 games – along with 209 penalty minutes. In the 1984-85 season, he made the Flyers squad and scored 14 goals in 75 regular season games. The Flyers made the Stanley Cup Finals that year, where he contributed 7 more points in 19 games. As a physical presence along the right wing, Rick was never shy to drop his gloves to go along with his goal scoring. He spent his first 7 plus seasons in Philly, before being traded to the Penguins in 1992, where he lifted the Cup with Mario and Company after sweeping the Blackhawks. He went on to play for the Kings,Bruins,Capitals and Coyotes before rejoining the Flyers in 2000. For his career, he played in 1144 regular season games totaling 952 points.Last week, Rick was hired on to be an assistant coach in Pittsburgh, some four years removed from his last coaching gig in Tampa Bay with the Lightning. Although Rick was a favorite in Philly, he'll have withstand the shower of boos headed that way when Crosby and Malkin come to town this season.
1985 Round 9 Selection # 189 D Gord Murphy
Gord was drafted out of the OHL after his first year for the Oshawa Generals. He went back to Juniors and played for Oshawa and then moved to the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears for a season. He made the big club in the 88-89 season and for the next three years, played in 230 of the 240 possible regular season games. He was awarded the Barry Ashbee Award by the Flyers as their top defenseman for the 89-90 season. Always a steady defender, Gord also chipped in with offense, scoring a career high 14 goals from the backline that year. He went on to Boston in a January 1992 trade, then onto the Florida Panthers as a selection in the 1993 expansion draft. He played six seasons there before a stint in Atlanta for the Thrashers and finished his career back in Boston in 2002. Gord stuck around to play in 862 regular season games, 53 more in the playoffs and enjoyed a long career in the NHL.
His son Connor, was a top draft pick ( 20th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Coyotes and after stints as an assistant coach with Columbus and Florida, Gord has joined the Flyers and will be an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season.
Mike Watson is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Mwats_99