It’s the NHL All-Star Weekend, which means all fanbases are watching their very best take center stage to play in the NHL All-Star Tournament and Skills Challenges. Soaking in the all-star vibes is one of my favorite times in any sports season. The Philadelphia Flyers’ own Metropolitan Division is the reigning and defending NHL All-Star Tournament champions. While the NHL is being celebrated on a league-wide level, we at Philly Sports Network decided to keep the Flyers under a microscope. At the break of the 2019-2020 season, here is our take on the Philadelphia Flyers Awards.
Bobby Clarke Trophy – Travis Konecny
This is a tough one, considering the Bobby Clarke Trophy represents the MVP of the Philadelphia Flyers. The easy take on this one would be that Travis Konecny is the player representing the Flyers in the NHL All-Star Weekend. That isn’t my take. My take is that while he is tied for the number one spot in points scored, he has single-handedly won more games. When selling yourself as the MVP of a franchise, you have to be the better closer. Konecny is tied with Sean Couturier in points scored for Philadelphia but has scored more game-winning goals.
It can be argued that Sean Couturier makes the team better when he is on the ice, which coincidentally is what this award is about. He has played three more games than Travis Konecny and his +/- is 15 to Konecny’s -2. Consider that Konecny has offered more to the Philadelphia Flyers on the powerplay and converts more of his shots on goal into actual goals. Both bring a physical style of play to the Flyers this season as forwards. By a slim margin, it’s Konecny for the Bobby Clarke Trophy.
Barry Ashbee Trophy – Ivan Provorov
The Barry Ashbee Trophy represents the best defenseman on the Philadelphia Flyers. Ivan Provorov is just that. He’s played in every game this season while racking up the most points of any defensemen on the Flyers. The only slight against Provorov is that his +/- is 1. His three game-winning goals this season only trails Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes.
Defensively, Ivan Provorov is one of the more physical on the ice. Where he shows his strength is getting in the way of shooting lanes. It takes a certain type of crazy to be an effective defenseman in the NHL, but Provorov has blocked the most shots for the Philadelphia Flyers so far. His style of play is often complimented by how disciplined he is. Only Justin Braun has fewer penalty minutes in ten or more games played on defense for Philadelphia.
Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award – Samuel Morin
This is a personal selection for me. In my first game in the press booth, ever, I sat next to Samuel Morin. It was extraordinary to just listen to Samuel Morin break down what he saw on the ice. It was genuinely surreal to sit next to an NHL player and hear them just break down live, in-game scenarios. Surprisingly enough, that still wasn’t the coolest part. Realizing just how approachable Morin was and speaking to him off-the-record between an intermission was out of this world.
Samuel Morin is a very humble student of the game. He is a player that our staff at Philly Sports Network were rooting for and it hurt us when we learned he would miss this season with his injury. Listening to Morin speak, he is in great spirits about his future in the NHL. This is his journey, as he put it. Morin only gained so much more respect after having a brief chat between watching a Zamboni smooth the ice between periods.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy – Philippe Myers
The Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy represents the most improved player. Comparing the opportunity Philippe Myers got under Dave Hakstol to what he has earned under Alain Vigneault, this award goes to him. There are a couple of players who could be in the running for this that aren’t Myers. It’s fair to even take James van Riemsdyk into consideration, no matter how unpopular that is to some “Negadelphia” Flyers fans. Another good choice would be Joel Farabee, but this is his first opportunity at the NHL, so the basis of “improvement” is hard to relate.
Philippe Myers played 21 games under Dave Hakstol and finished the season with two points. That’s less than Jori Lehtera and equal to Christian Folin last season. This season, both of those names aren’t on the Philadelphia Flyers roster and Myers has played 32 games while collecting 14 points. He also has a +/- of 16. To provide some perspective, Myers is a top-four defenseman on the Flyers this season after being a fringe player under Hakstol.
Gene Hart Memorial Award – Oskar Lindblom
Before we even begin to applaud the courage of this man, let’s consider this. He is still ninth in scoring this season for the Philadelphia Flyers. All of the other players in the top ten have played 47 games or greater, but Oskar Lindblom has played 30. When he is shown on the big screen at the Wells Fargo Center, the roof just about blows off the building. Lindblom is a player that the entire NHL has rallied around, not just the Flyers. Alain Vigneault and the boys’ spirits are lifted by just seeing Lindblom’s face.
The Gene Hart Memorial Award represents the heart and determination of a player, on and off the ice. This is an award that is voted upon by the members of the official Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club. Without a shadow of a doubt, this belongs to Oskar Lindblom. We are all here in support of Lindblom’s battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma and wish him a speedy, full recovery. It’s not just Philadelphia that is #OskarStrong; it’s the entire NHL.
Leave your comments below with who you would place as a recipient of these Philadelphia Flyers awards at the NHL All-Star Break of this 2019-2020 season. The Flyers are back at it on January 31st at 7 pm as they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is coming off a recent victory, shutting out the Penguins, 3-0.
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.