Eric Desjardins may not be the first player who comes to mind when thinking of the best Flyers in history. In fact, Eric Desjardins is not even the best Eric to play for the orange and black, but he is, no doubt, one of the most underappreciated players to don the Flyers crest.
February 9, 1995. A date Flyers fans should all remember because it changed the direction of the franchise.
The Flyers sent Mark Recchi, who had just set the franchise record for points in a season, and a third-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Dejardins and John LeClair.
LeClair would form the Legion of Doom with Eric Lindros and Mikael Rendberg. Desjardins, nicknamed “Rico” because of his smooth style, would solidify a shaky defense. Together, he and LeClair would help lead the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final.
During his ten seasons with the Flyers, Desjardins would pile up 396 points, the second most by a defenseman in team history. Mark Howe owns the team record with 480. Dejardins also won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, awarded to the Flyers best defenseman, a team-record seven times. Kimmo Timonen – five wins – and Mark Howe – four wins – are the only Flyers blueliners to have won the award more than three times. He ranks first on the team in playoff goals by a defenseman with 14.
Late in July, the Flyers announced they will induct Desjardins into the team’s hall of fame. Desjardins will join with Lindros and LeClair, who will also be inducted during the 2014-15 season. Desjardins’ induction ceremony is scheduled for February 19, three months after Lindros and LeClair are inducted.
This is not the first time the Flyers have acknowledged Desjardins. During the 2006-07 season, the Flyers celebrated “Eric Desjardins Night.” The Flyers and Canadiens gave him gifts to show their appreciation and the Flyers played this video tribute to him.
Eric Desjardins may not have been the flashiest player on the ice, but he always got the job done. His statistics speak to how good of a player he was for the orange and black. As someone who grew up watching Desjardins, it was a thrill to see him play in the Alumni Game when the Winter Classic came to Philadelphia.