All of which brings us to the current captain, center Mike Richards, who is quietly becoming one of the best leaders in the franchise's history.
He's not Bobby Clarke. Yet. But from this perspective, he is on his way.
Clarke, of course, was the ultimate captain. He was a high-scoring player known for his grit and dirty work in the corners. His crafty stick work - opponents gave it another description - was legendary
Richards has Clarke's tenaciousness, playmaking ability and scoring talents. But there's a difference between the two centers. Clarke was an instigator who had teammates rushing to his aid.
Richards rushes to the aid of his teammates.
Take his knee-jerk response in Vancouver Tuesday, for instance.
Fifteen seconds into the game, left winger Simon Gagne was blind-sided by defenseman Kevin Bieksa and knocked to the ice. It was a cheap shot, but Bieksa, inexplicably, was not penalized.
Richards decided to take things in his own hands. Literally.
He went after Bieksa and the two slugged it out.
Never mind that Richards lost the fight. He sent a message to his teammates: He will protect their marquee player, especially since Gagne missed most of last year with a concussion.
"Richie got us fired up," goalie Marty Biron said.
"He wore his heart on his sleeve there," coach John Stevens said.
It is no coincidence the Flyers scored a few minutes later en route to a much-needed 3-2 victory, one that took some of the sting away from consecutive lopsided losses that started the six-game road trip.
Gagne strained his shoulder on the hit and was expected to miss at least a week.
"I felt I had to do something about it," the soft-spoken Richards said in matter-of-fact tone.
Richards is unique among the 16 captains in the Flyers' history because he is one of the league's top scorers and he doesn't shy away from a fight in certain situations.
As far as production, Clarke blossomed after he was named the captain in 1972-73 at age 23, setting then-career-highs in goals (37), assists (67) and points (104) that season.
Richards also was named captain at 23. In his first season as captain, he, too, is having a career season and is on pace to finish with 30-plus goals and close to 90 points.
The Clarke-Richards comparison will continue because of their similar team-first mentalities. That mentality is why Clarke's No. 16 hangs from the Wachovia Center rafters.
Richards again led the way Friday, with three assists and the game-winning score in a shoot-out win over Anaheim.
Before his career is over, Richards might also rival Clarke as the franchise's premier captain. He would probably have to lead the team to at least two Stanley Cups - like Clarke did in 1974 and 1975 - before that happens.