HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As 2017 has come to a close, a quick look back at the past year will hold plenty of memorable moments for hockey. A team popped up in Sin City (and took the league by storm, I might add), the United States won the World Junior Championship and Wayne Simmonds was the first black player to be awarded the NHL All-Star Game MVP, just to name a few. For most Flyers fans, the year’s most notable memory would be winning the 2nd Overall Pick in the NHL Entry Draft and selecting stud centerman Nolan Patrick. Whatever your year held, I hope that you can remember the good times and, moreover, that 2018 will exceed your wildest expectations!
Now, last season certainly didn’t end the way the Flyers had hoped. They missed the playoffs for the 3rd time in 5 years and, for a while, it seemed as if all of the players on the roster took a step back statistically. The 2017 calendar year has been a roller coaster for the team, made evident by their 35-33-14 record over that span. Regardless how the team has performed as a whole, the roster is full of players who’s games have rebounded after rough seasons, players in the dawn of their career and veterans who have provided valiant supporting efforts both this year and the last. Here’s some of the top point producers who took the ice for the Orange and Black last year:
63 GP, 10-7–17, -3
65 GP, 5-11–16, +7
62 GP, 7-6–13, -2
10. Jordan Weal
2016-2017: 23 GP, 8-4–12, +5
2017-2018: 32 GP, 3-6–9, -3
Weal came flying out of the gate at the end of last season and made the Vincent Lecavelier trade that much sweeter. He’s taken a step back statiscally this season but the talent is there and he’s sure to play an important role for the Flyers moving forward.
9. Travis Konecny
2016-2017: 33 GP, 7-3–10, +-0
2017-2018: 38 GP, 4-9–13 +1
Konecny, aka the reincarnation of Brayden Schenn (miss you), is a fireball on the ice. He brings energy and grit to the game every night and will only continue to improve with age. Get excited about TK.
8. Valterri Filppula
2016-2017: 20 GP, 5-3–8, +2
2017-2018: 38 GP, 9-8–17, -3
Filppula has been a nice steady, veteran presence on a very young roster. He can fit anywhere in the lineup and has been everything Flyers fans should’ve hoped for when he came aboard.
7. Ivan Provorov
2016-2017: 44 GP, 3-11–14, -3
2017-2018: 38 GP, 5-10–15, +2
Provorov is the Flyers’ #1 defenceman at just 20 years old. His ceiling is sky high and his respectable point production in 2017 is just an added bonus to the defensive prowess he has displayed.
6. Brayden Schenn
2016-2017: 44 GP, 15-17–32, -6
2017-2018: Traded to St. Louis Blues
Yes, Schenn still sits at 6th on this list regardless of the fact that he hasn’t worn a Flyers’ jersey this season. He was the highest scoring Flyer from January to April of last year and we should all miss him dearly. Thankfully, Morgan Frost (selected with one of the draft picks we acquired in return for Schenn) is setting the world on fire down in juniors so watching Schenn rise to his full potential this year for St. Louis has been a little easier to swallow.
5. Wayne Simmonds
2016-2017: 44 GP, 14-9–23, -10
2017-2018: 38 GP, 12-11–23, -9
Simmer is having a solid year despite the fact that his name hasn’t been in flashing lights as much as last year. He’s producing at a consistent pace, as he always has, and is still a dangerous force on the powerplay.
4. Shayne Gostisbehere
2016-2017: 40 GP, 3-19–22, -13
2017-2018: 35 GP, 8-21–29, +1
Ghost has been everything the Flyers need and more in the few short seasons he’s been here. After a slightly less astronomical season last year in comparison to his rookie campaign, Gostisbehere is back to his scoring ways and ranks among the highest scoring D-Men in the league.
3. Sean Couturier
2016-2017: 44 GP, 9-17–26, +16
2017-2018: 38 GP, 18-18–36, +13
Couturier has finally arrived. After years of wishing and waiting, Flyers’ fans are, at last, getting what they’ve needed from Coots. 2018 looks to be his best year yet and hopefully it’s just the beginning!
2. Jakub Voracek
2016-2017: 44 GP, 9-17–26, -17
2017-2018: 38 GP, 8-38–46, +3
Jakub Voracek, through all the trade talk and constant criticism, has continued to put up huge numbers year after year. He’s among the league leaders in points this season and on many other NHL squads he’d be #1 on this list. But…
1. Claude Giroux
2016-2017: 44 GP, 4-23–27, -12
2017-2018: 38 GP, 13-33-46, +10
Captain Clutch. The Grilled Cheese Bandit. Claude GiROCKS. Giroux is no stranger to leading this team, both on the ice and on this list. He struggles with mental consistency at times and seems to have lost a fraction of a step since his younger years but at the end of the day, Giroux is an elite NHL player and deserves our love. 2017 was good to Giroux, let’s hope he ages like a fine wine and 2018 is even better.
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Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports