Twelve Potential Flyers Hall of Famers: Part Two

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 02: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during the game against the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center on March 2, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 02: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during the game against the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center on March 2, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /
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Brière joined the Flyers via free agency in 2007 after spending the first nine seasons of his career between Phoenix and Buffalo. Paul Holmgren signed the Gatineau, Quebec native to an 8-year, $52 million contract, and the rest became history.

Brière’s first season in Philadelphia saw him rack up 31 goals and 41 assists for 72 points in 79 games on a Flyers squad that reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004. Brière scored nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 17 postseason contests that year, and the legend of Mr. Playoffs began to grow.

Brière would only appear in 29 games the next season after suffering some abdominal and groin injuries, but he still managed 25 points and posted a goal and three assists in the Flyers’ 6-game opening-round loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brière’s 2009-10 season would be one to remember. He would score 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points in 75 games, but he gave the Flyers some moments that won’t ever be forgotten. In the final game of the regular season against the Rangers that every Flyers fan remembers, Brière scored the opening goal in the shootout to help propel them into the postseason on the final day of the regular season. He was just getting prepared for what would become the highest-scoring postseason in franchise history.

In the playoffs, Brière scored a fantastic breakaway goal in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Boston in which he split two defenders and pounded home a goal after Tuukka Rask made the initial save. In Game 7 of the series, Brière scored the tying goal by faking a shot, skating behind the net and around, and stuffed home the wraparound attempt off of a Boston defender’s back. The Flyers would ultimately win the game thanks to Simon Gagné.

Brière also was directly involved in the goal that gave them their first victory in a Stanley Cup Final game since Game 6 of 1987. Mike “Doc” Emrick’s call is still something I have etched in my memory eleven years later, “Back ahead Danny Brière, Brière sets up Carle, side of the net, deflected, SCORE! GIROUX! FLYERS WIN!” Briere earned a secondary assist on Claude Giroux‘s tip-in goal in overtime to send the Wachovia Center crowd into a frenzy and to give the Flyers life against the Chicago Blackhawks in the series.

He would ultimately score three goals and nine assists for 12 points in the six-game Final, where the Flyers ultimately fell in overtime on Patrick Kane’s infamous goal-line shot in front of an orange-clad crowd on Broad Street. Brière’s 12 points still stand to this day as the most by a player in a Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. He would lead the Flyers in total scoring in two of their four postseason series, with 10 points against Boston and 12 points against Chicago.

Brière would record 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in just 23 playoff games as he led the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1997. His 30 points would lead all players in the postseason, but Brière would lose out on the Conn Smythe Trophy to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews.

Brière’s 2010-11 season saw him rack up 34 goals and 34 assists for 68 points in 77 games. His 34 goals were not only his best with the Flyers but also stood as a career-high. He would record nine points in the playoffs before the team bowed out to the Bruins in a second-round sweep.

His productions dipped the following year, only mustering 16 goals and 33 assists for 49 points in 70 games. His postseason success would continue, however, as he potted eight goals and five assists for 13 points in 11 contests.

In Game 1 of the Flyers’ opening-round series against the Penguins, Brière would score Philadelphia’s first goal in what would become a 4-3 overtime victory after they trailed 3-0 earlier. And yes, Brière’s goal was offside as he beat the puck into the zone before beating Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway, but there was no coach’s challenge back then and it counts in the record books, so yes he scored.

After they disposed of the Penguins in six games, Brière would also score the overtime winner in the opener of Philadelphia’s second-round matchup with New Jersey. He initially scored earlier in the extra frame, but it was ruled a distinct kicking motion and thus was waved off. Brière would make up for it and slapped home a bullet from the point that eluded Martin Brodeur and gave the Flyers their only victory in the five-game series.

Brière’s last season came in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, in which he scored only six goals and 10 assists for a total of 16 points while only appearing in 34 of Philadelphia’s 48 games. He was bought out in the 2013 offseason and signed with his boyhood team in the Montréal Canadiens. Brière would spend the rest of his career between Montréal and Colorado before hanging up his skates for good in 2015.

Brière’s totals with the Flyers top out at 364 games played, 124 goals, 159 assists, and 283 points. His regular-season statistics stand out as average, but his postseason numbers are what makes him a potential candidate for the Flyers Hall of Fame. Brière’s 37 playoff goals rank seventh in franchise history and his 35 playoff assists rank 10th. His 72 total postseason points place him at 7th in Flyers history despite only ranking 31st in playoff games played with 68.

A Flyers Hall of Fame induction would be a great way to honor one of the greatest and most clutch playoff performers in team history.