Ian Laperriere had a number of teams asking for his services. But when the Flyers called, he knew that was it.
“When Philly called, I won’t lie to you guys, I got very excited,” said Laperriere during a conference call. ” My agent said ‘they’re interested in you,’ and I said ‘well, I’m interested in them.'”
Known as one of the toughest guys in the league, Laperriere made his bones in the NHL by hard work and grit. He is in essence, a prototypical Flyer. Not the most skilled guy in the league, he excelled in his 17-year career by being a leader and hating to lose. Two things the Flyers desperately lacked last season.
“From being on both sides of the fence, I guess. I’ve been on losing teams and winning teams, and I like winning teams much better,” he said. “I hate to lose like most of the guys. Most of the guys in the NHL, you don’t’ make it to this level by liking to lose. You want to win at any cost, and that’s what I try to bring wherever I’ve played before, and what I’m going to try to bring to Philly.”
General Manager Paul Holmgren saw the same characteristics when analyzing the veteran.
“Ian is a warrior,” said Holmgren. “He is certainly one of those players does what it takes to win, or does what he can do to win. He always loved his character even going back to when he played briefly with the Rangers. At this time he brings a wealth of experience to our team. As I said, he is a very durable player. He can play with skilled players and he can also kill penalties and play against the other teams better players because he relishes that role as well.”
When asked about what he brings to the team, Laperriere made it clear that it’s the little things that makes him a productive. Despite just scoring 118 goals in 1001 career games, last season he was the top forward on the Avs in blocked shots with 69 and fourth on the team in takeaways with 49. His giveaway-takeaway ratio is +27, making him a strong defensive player. But what Laperriere does best is bring a team-first and must-win attitude to the ice.
“I won’t score goals like Danny (Briere) does and do stuff like that,” he said. “But I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll be there for Danny when he’s in trouble, that’s for sure. They know that, and that’s the kind of guy I am, I guess.”