Meltzer's Musings: Flyers Hall of Fame, Terry Murray, Murray Craven
WHO WILL BE THE NEXT FLYERS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE?
It has been five years since the last time the Flyers inducted someone into their team hall of fame. In fact, there have only been two inductees in the last decade: Ron Hextall (Feb. 2008) and Dave Schultz (Nov. 2009). Rumor has it that the Flyers Hall of Fame will finally welcome at least one new member during the 2014-15 season.
Who will be the next inductee(s)? Here are a long list of candidates who have yet to be honored:
Early expansion era (1967 to 1972): Andre Lacroix, Doug Favell, Bud Poile (GM).
Broad Street Bullies era (mid-to-late 1970s): Jimmy Watson, Bob Kelly, Andre "Moose" Dupont.
Late 1970s to mid-1980s: Paul Holmgren (later Flyers assistant coach, head coach and GM, now club president), Bob Dailey, Ken Linseman, Pat Quinn (head coach of 1979-80 "streak" team).
Mid-1980s to early 1990s: Mike Keenan, Brad McCrimmon, Rick Tocchet, Ilkka Sinisalo, Pelle Eklund, Pelle Lindbergh, Murray Craven, Dave Brown.
Mid-1990s to early 2000s: Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Eric Desjardins, Rod Brind'Amour, Mark Recchi (two stints), Mikael Renberg, Terry Murray (coach).
Early to mid 2000s: Simon Gagne, Keith Primeau, Jeremy Roenick, Ken Hitchcock (coach).
To further narrow down the list, I would say the most likely top 10 pool of candidates for the next induction are Watson (five-time NHL All-Star, two Stanley Cups), Holmgren, Tocchet, Keenan, McCrimmon, Lindros, LeClair, Desjardins, Brind'Amour and Recchi.
Below is the full list of Flyers Hall of Fame inductees, including the year of their induction:
Bobby Clarke (1988)
Bernie Parent (1988)
Bill Barber (1989)
Keith Allen (1989)
Ed Snider (1989)
Rick MacLeish (1990)
Fred Shero (1990)
Barry Ashbee (1991)
Gary Dornhoefer (1991)
Gene Hart (1992)
Reggie Leach (1992)
Joe Scott (1993)
Ed Van Impe (1993)
Tim Kerr (1994)
Joe Watson (1996)
Brian Propp (1999)
Mark Howe (2001)
Dave Poulin (2004)
Ron Hextall (2008)
Dave Schultz (2009)
* Phantoms head coach Terry Murray celebrates his 64th birthday today. Along with Paul Holmgren, Bill Barber and Craig Berube, Murray is one of four people to hold the distinction of having been a player, assistant coach and head coach of the Flyers. As a coach, the former defenseman is known around the NHL as of the best "teaching coaches" in the business. Many He also served the Flyers in a scouting capacity for three years in the early 2000s.
* Former Flyers forward Murray Craven celebrates his 50th birthday today. Acquired from the Detroit Red Wings in the controversial (at the time) trade that sent Darryl Sittler to Detroit on the same day Sittler was to be named Flyers captain, Craven's acquisition soon proved to be one of the best moves Bob Clarke made during his first tenure as Flyers' general manager. Craven was one of the NHL's most underrated two-way players, and was versatile enough to play any forward position as needed.
Craven topped the 75-point mark twice during his Flyers career and had at least 60 points in four of his seven-plus seasons in Philadelphia. Over that span, Craven notched 25-plus goals three times, hitting the 30-goal plateau in 1987-88. Early in the 1991-92 season, the Flyers traded Craven to the Hartford Whalers in exchange for Kevin Dineen.
Craven finished his NHL career with 266 goals and 493 assists for 759 points in 1071 games. He also added 27 goals and 70 points in 118 career playoff games. Today, Craven lives in Whitefish, Montana, where he volunteers to coach youth hockey.
* Today in Flyers history: On this day in 1995, the Flyers signed unresticted free agent center Joel Otto to a three-year, $2.3 million contract. The rugged longtime Calgary Flames stalwart was one of the NHL's best penalty killers and faceoff men of the late 1980s to 1990s, providing a dose of toughness, imposing size and strength and occasional goal-scoring ability.
With the Flyers, Otto struggled with a variety of injuries but, when healthy, came exactly as advertised. In Philadelphia, Otto anchored a formidable third line with left winger Shjon Podein as a regular linemate. Joined for a time by Trent Klatt, the trio became known as "the Minnesota Line" (all three members were Minnesota natives).
Otto scored 12 goals and 41 points in his first Flyers season, which was limited by injuries to 67 games. That season, he finished seventh in the Selke Trophy balloting, including one first-place vote and four third-place votes. Otto notched 13 goals and 32 points the next year, as the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1987. During his Flyers career, Otto was also honored with selections to Team USA for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympics.
Otto's final year as a Flyer was 1997-98. He was not healthy most of the season, dressing in 68 games while managing just three goals and seven points as his role was reduced from third-line to fourth-line status. He retired after the season.
Otto is one of seven Bemidji State University alumni who went on to play in the NHL. The most recent one is current Flyers forward Matt Read.
Since 2006-07, Otto has served as an assistant coach with the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen. Two of the Flyers' 2014 draftees -- defenseman Travis Sanheim and winger Radel Fazleev -- currently play for Calgary.