Which Young Flyers Player Could be the New Mikael Renberg?

16 Mar 1999: Mikael Renberg #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers moves down the rink during the game against the St. Louis Blues at the Kiel Center in St.Louis, Missouri. The Blues defeated the Flyers 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport
16 Mar 1999: Mikael Renberg #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers moves down the rink during the game against the St. Louis Blues at the Kiel Center in St.Louis, Missouri. The Blues defeated the Flyers 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport /
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Renberg’s career is a tale of two careers. The first one, spanning from 1993-94 to 1996-97, showcased a dynamic forward who perfectly complimented two All-Stars; one of which is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and the other is a borderline entry. He added something that Lindros and LeClair didn’t have. But he was also tough, playing through nagging leg and groin injuries.

And that’s where the tale turns south. Renberg scored 128 goals in parts of six seasons with Philadelphia, but 87 of those goals were from 1993 to 1997. In his efforts to please Clarke and other Flyers’ management, he pushed himself when maybe he needed a rest. Battered and injury prone, he never recovered. Also, following his epic rookie season, he never achieved the greatness he had as a first year player. Such expectations on a young guy can be devastating. “You were good last year! Why can’t you score now?”

In a similar vein, we saw something similar to when the Flyers had Matt Read about 20 years later. Read had a breakout rookie campaign only to falter in the years following.

The Flyers have a lot of young, dynamic players with a lot of talent. If they can harness that energy and build off of that, we will be lucky and fortunate as Flyers fans. If the Flyers’ youngsters can play like Renberg during the Legion of Doom years, they will put up monster stats and be a lot of fun to watch. Likewise, if they are weighed down by unrealistic expectations and ire from management and fans alike, we could see a lot of potential wasted.

Are we going to have some young stars who show their talent for a season or two before they start to stagnate? Are we going to see some young stars who break out with a big season and build on it as they become veterans? Time will tell.

Mikael Renberg was briefly great, then good, and then a broken shell of what he was. Perhaps there is a lesson there somewhere.