Just after midseason, and the Flyers are hitting their stride and stringing together a few quality wins. They’re sitting one point out of a wildcard spot, and four points out of the third spot in the Metropolitan.
We’ve seen the emergence of Sean Couturier as the top line center. We’ve seen Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek reignite the fire that burned within them in season’s past. We’ve seen Brian Elliott dig himself out of the early season rut he was in and string together some great performances as of late.
Things are clearly looking up at this point, but they can change in an instant. However, that won’t be discussed here. This is for the award winners halfway through the season. The Bobby Clarke award, Barry Ashbee award, and so on. So without further ado, lets take a look at how the awards would shake up if the season ended today:
Bobby Clarke Award (MVP)
Winner: Claude Giroux
The logical, and safe, bet right now is that Claude Giroux will run away with the MVP award. He is having an incredible season, currently 2nd in scoring in the league, and playing out of his mind with new linemate Sean Couturier and his new-found offense. His above-point-per-game pace is even better than when he scored 93 points in a single season, and he is on pace to surpass that, and potentially surpass the 100 point mark for the first time in his career. Count on Giroux hoisting the Bobby Clarke Award for the 5th time in his career.
Barry Ashbee Award (Best Defenseman)
Winner: Ivan Provorov
Surprise! Ivan Provorov takes home his second Ashbee Award home in two years on the team. I won’t say that this is by default, and it isn’t without some very strong consideration on the part of Shayne Gostisbehere, but there is no better all around defenseman on the Flyers roster than Ivan Provorov right now. If Gostisbehere could round out his game and play better on the defensive side of the puck, this award would be his, hands down due to the fact that his offensive game has been absolutely stellar, but until that happens, the Ashbee Award is Provorov’s to lose.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most Improved)
Winner: Sean Couturier
How does this award go to anyone other than Coots? The guy is having a career year, surpassing point and goal totals in years previous and the season is only half way through. He has experienced an absolute rejuvenation being a part of a top line with Giroux, Voracek, and now Konecny, and looks like he belongs. If he continues at this pace, the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy may not be the only hardware he goes home with this offseason. Coots is knocking hard on the Frank J. Selke Award’s door, and is about ready to bust it down. Regardless of if he wins the Selke or not, you can bet everything AND the kitchen sink that Coots takes home the most improved player award for the Flyers organization.
Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award
Winner: Andrew MacDonald
Say what you will about Andrew MacDonald when it comes his game, but you can’t deny that amidst all the talk about him and his giant contract being a complete mistake, he has handled it like a true professional. Discussion about him not belonging on the team has never been more heated than it was this year, mostly due to the influx of young defensemen coming up through the system. How did he handle the adversity? Pretty well considering that his pairing with Ivan Provorov isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. A-Mac deserves this award. He may not deserve a spot on the opening night’s lineup next year, but he deserves the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award this year.
Gene Hart Memorial Award (Most Heart)
Winner: Jake Voracek
Claude wins MVP, Coots wins most improved, Jake has to win something considering that he was part of the ginger trio that really got the Flyers going. Not to mention, Jake cares about this team more than most people see. His sound bytes are hilarious, but to the point. He sparks so many plays, exemplified by the amount of assists he has on the year. He is always there to celebrate a goal, or to step in for a teammate and throw down. Jake, much like former Gene Hart Award recipient Wayne Simmonds, embodies what a Philadelphia Flyer is. He’s tough, he’s talented, and he plays the style of hockey that made the Flyers the Broad Street Bullies back in the day. This award screams Jake Voracek.
Winner: Brian Elliott
The Toyota Cup goes to the player on each team that earns the most stars of the week, and right now, Brian Elliott is in the lead. I don’t see that changing. I mean, look at it like this. Just two weeks ago, Sean Couturier had eight points in four games, and didn’t earn a star of the week. He lost out to Sidney Crosby and his one goal. That’s another topic for another time. However, Elliott has rebounded from a mediocre start to the year and posted back to back star of the week performances just about a month and a half ago. Elliott has been a huge part of the Flyers newfound success, and figures to be a big part of it as the season continues. Expect him to add to his Toyota Cup lead with the Flyers and take home the award at the end of the year.
There it is. If the season ended today, this is what your Philadelphia Flyer’s season ending awards would look like. Well, at least according to this guy. Please, feel free to comment and discuss who you think would take home these awards and why in the section below. Debates are welcomed!
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports