The Lightning would go on to win the Stanley Cup that year. They faced the Calgary Flames. The Flames took the Lightning to seven games. I’m not sure if the Flyers would’ve dropped Calgary or if the Flames would’ve taken the Stanley Cup home. I’m sure the Flyers would’ve been tired from everything they faced. It wouldn’t have helped that the Flames were similar to the Lightning in many respects. But I’m sure that players like Roenick and Primeau, hungry for their first Stanley Cup title, would’ve found something in reserve to play as hard as they could and bring a parade to Broad Street.
A few months later, the NHL went into a vicious lockdown. The 2004-05 season was lost. No games were played. The Flyers, many of them already veterans, all became a year older. Some may have been ready to go. Others may have been rusty. For some, it was time to move on. New rules eliminated the center line opening up the pace of the game.
Gone were Recchi, Roenick, and Leclair. Primeau was good for only nine games before being forced to call it a career due to injuries. It would also be the last year for Handzus and Desjardins. The old guard was gone. As the Flyers retooled for another run, Bobby Clarke, the GM, made the mistake of building as if it were the 90s.
Newcomers Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje were relics of a pre-lockout NHL. While they were still solid players, they were not the players the team needed to advance. Peter Forsberg would rejoin the team, but he was a shell of what he once was. And it is hard to tell what would’ve/could’ve happened because the year-long lockout ruined everything.
All of this would be shown on the ice in that the 2006-07 season was, by far, the worst season in the history of the team; yes even worse than 2021-22. The team would go 22–48–12 and have the biggest drop off in team points in NHL history (101 points to just 56). Ouch!
And yes, the Flyers would end up going to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, but that was different. The 2004 Flyers team was the end of an era. The remaining Lindros Era players were done. The team would soon be transitioning from the post-Lindros Era to the Mike Richards-Jeff Carter Era/post-Primeau Era.
Had the Flyers won the 2004 Stanley Cup, even with the lockout, it is possible that some of the older vets, like Recchi or Roenick, may have been kept around in order to create a dynasty. The 2010 Flyers, as talented as they were, were not strong enough to create a dynasty. They caught lightning in a bottle and created something magical.
The collection of stars and talents in Philly would not be seen again. The Flyers have had other stars play and some good teams, but would never be that dominant again.