This Week in Flyers History: Week Ending October 26

On this day in 1979, Tim Kerr was signed by the Flyers as an undrafted free agent out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League as a member of the Kingston Canadians.

This 6'3" forward was not the greatest skater, but the Flyers scouts liked his size and his knack for scoring goals around the net. After playing in seven games with their AHL affiliate Maine Mariners in 1979-80, Kerr got his break – literally – with the big club in the 1980-81 season. He made the club when a roster spot opened up due to a broken leg suffered by centerman Ken Linseman.

Kerr’s first goal in the NHL came on Oct. 26, 1980 in the first period against the Hartford Whalers Mike Veisor. His 22 goals in 68 games that season proved to the Flyers and everyone that the rugged 20-year-old winger was here to stay.

In the 1981-82 season, he chipped in 21 goals in 61 regular season games but did not score in the playoffs as the Flyers were bounced, 3-1, in the first round best of five series, by the New York Rangers.

The next season, Kerr started the year strong however a serious knee injury in November sidelined him for most of the year. He recorded 11 goals in just 24 games and that success would carry over into the next season and beyond.

In the 1983-84 season, Kerr would play in 79 of the 80 regular season games, tallying 54 goals and leading the Flyers to 44 regular season wins. Ironically, only nine of those goals came on the power play, where he would later find great success. He was only the second Flyer to ever hit the 50-goal plateau, the first being “The Rifle” Reggie Leach back in 1975-76. Unfortunately, the Flyers exited the playoffs early once again, being swept in a five-game series by the Washington Capitals. 

The 84-85 campaign saw a change behind the bench as Mike Keenan took over and led the Flyers to 53 wins and 113 points. Kerr was the driving force, scoring 54 goals once again including 21 on the power play. His prowess in front of the opponents’ net was intimidating, not seen since the days of Phil Esposito. On April 13, 1985, Kerr set an NHL playoff record with four goals in one period, three on the power play, against the Rangers in a 6-5 win. You can see this feat via YouTube here .This time the Flyers has some playoff success and reached the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games.

The following season, Tim kept tormenting opposing goalies, almost at will. An immovable force in front of the net, he notched a league leading 34 power play goals and 58 goals overall. Those 34 on the power play set a Flyers and NHL single season record that still stands today.

In 1986-87, he again scored 58 goals, including 26 on the power play as the Flyers won 46 games. Once again, they played superbly in the playoffs and Kerr had 10 goals in 12 playoff games. Many Flyers were dinged up that year and Kerr was no exception. He did not play in the Finals against their nemesis, the Edmonton Oilers due to a bad shoulder and although the Flyers took Gretzky and Company the full seven games, they lost in Edmonton in Game Seven, 3 to 1. 

As a result of the shoulder injuries which included five surgeries in a 14 month period, Kerr missed most of the 87-88 season playing in just eight games. He did get healthy for the 88-89 campaign and roared back to prominence, scoring 48 goals, 25 of those on the power play, in 69 games. He would be his healthiest in some time and banged home 12 more goals in 19 playoff games until the Flyers fell in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

The next two seasons for Kerr were plagued by injuries that saw him play in just 67 regular-season games. He did notch 34 goals in that span but the wear and tear had taken its toll on his body. In the expansion draft after the 90-91 season, the Flyers left Kerr unprotected and he was selected by the San Jose Sharks. After the draft, he was traded to the Rangers where he was hopeful to reignite his career. He played in just 32 games for New York, collecting just seven goals. In the 1992-93 season, he laced them up for the Hartford Whalers but only played in 22 games, collecting six assists without scoring a goal. With that, Kerr retired from hockey at the age of 33. 

His Flyers career spanned 11 seasons where he is third on the Flyers all-time list for goals with 363 in just 601 games. He still holds the Flyers record for power play goals in a season and for a career (145). He played in the NHL All-Star Game in three consecutive years (1984-1986) and was named to the NHL Second All-Star team in 1987. In the 1988-89 season, he won the Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

In his life after hockey, Kerr has stayed local and has operated a real estate business in Avalon, NJ that bears his name. Interested in a property at the shore? Check out his website and support a Flyers Legend. 

Mike Watson is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Mwats_99.

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