Five Best Flyers Free Agent Signings Since 2000

Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

In a few weeks, the NHL free agent season will kick off. All the questions and debates about who the Flyers sign will finally be answered. Maybe they will be busy or maybe they will stand pat just like the last few seasons. For a fanbase that saw their team collapse and miss the playoffs, they will be on edge to see who Daniel Briere signs.

With all of this said free agency can be a crapshoot. Sometimes you get a big name and nothing happens. That "big piece" fails to deliver. Sometimes, that addition takes the team to new heights. Still, you have times when the new guy doesn't gel well with his teammates or his coaches and it becomes an epic disaster.

Since 2000, many players have become members of the Flyers organization. Who, however, stood out. Who were the best free agent signings? Who made an impact on this team? We are going to look at the top five free-agent signings made by this organization since the year 2000.

5: Roman Cechmanek

Say what you will about his postseason failures, Cechmanek was an awesome force in the net in the regular season. He was a runner-up for the Vezina in 2001 to the man he backed up in international tournaments for the Czech Republic, Dominik Hasek. He also finished a different fourth in the Hart Trophy race behind Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and winner Joe Sakic.

In three years, he had 20 shutouts, a GAA of 1.96, and a .923 save percentage. When you look over those numbers, it's hard to wonder why he couldn't perform the same in the postseason. Still, despite that performance, his stats are near the top of plenty of Flyers' goalie records. He still played outstanding hockey.

4: Derian Hatcher

Along with Mike Rathje, Hatcher was brought in to rebuild a Flyers defense after the year-long NHL lockout of 2004-05. It was hoped that these signings, along with the vets the team still had, would bring the Stanley Cup back to Broad Street. After all, the Flyers had gone seven games in the 2003-04 Eastern Conference finals. Then GM Bobby Clarke signed a group of guys who would've been great the year before a bunch of rule changes. Instead, the Flyers collapsed.

However, Hatcher was a bright light on a declining team. He finished his last three seasons of a distinguished career donning the orange and black. He served as captain when Keith Primeau was out due to injury. More importantly, he provided a leadership role for a team that was transitioning from the 90s Eric Lindros-John LeClair Era to the one that would become the 2000s Jeff Carter-Mike Richards Era.

3: Jaromir Jagr

In 2011, the Flyers took a chance on a 39-year-old player who hadn't played in the NHL in four seasons. What could an aging star bring to the team? Turns out, it was quite a bit. Ok, so he only scored 19 goals with 35 assists. Let's be honest, we'd all take those stats for a member of the current Flyers' squad.

He brought a work ethic that helped young players like Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux elevate their games. Why the Flyers didn't re-sign him, I'll never fully understand. But in that one year in Philly, he left a mark. He also ended up playing for six more years in the NHL before playing in Czechia.

2: Jeremy Roenick

With Lindros being traded away, the Flyers signed the biggest free agent name in 2001. Roenick came to a team that needed an offensive punch. Teamed up with players like Rick Tocchet, LeClair, Simon Gagne, and Mark Recchi, the Flyers became an offensive juggernaut. In three seasons, Roenick scored 67 goals with 106 assists.

However, he couldn't get the Flyers over the hump. Try as he might, the Flyers kept falling short in the playoffs. At the end of the lockout, he was not re-signed. Had there been no lockout, there is a good chance he could've led the Flyers to glory in the 2004-05 season. Alas, it did not happen. Also, because the team never reached a Stanley Cup finals with him at the helm, he missed out on being the top signing.

1: Daniel Briere

This should not be much of a shocker. The best free agent over the last 24 years, and one of the best of all time, is current GM Daniel Briere. He shocked the world when he left Buffalo, not because he left Western New York, but because he chose Philadelphia over his hometown of Montreal. He chose to come to a team that had floundered in last place instead of a team that was considered to be a possible Stanley Cup contender.

Flushed with young talent, Briere took that group of youngins on his back and led them to a Stanley Cup championship appearance in 2010. The reason that they made it as far as they did was in large part due to Briere's performance. He scored 12 goals and led all players with 30 points in the 2010 postseason. Had the Flyers defeated the Blackhawks, he would've easily won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He played six seasons in Philly. During that time, he scored 124 goals with 159 assists.

Because Briere knows how much team chemistry matters, as well as ability, we can be assured that he will do all the right things to elevate this team's chances for the future. In the 12 months since he has arrived, the Flyers have already shown dramatic improvements. Let's see what this offseason brings.