While we’ve technically surpassed the mid-way point of the season, the All-Star break counts as somewhat of a mid-way point as well. The time of year where we take a week and review the past 45-50 games of the team we follow. With the Flyers, we’re looking at a team that’s one point out of a wildcard spot. Standing at 27-17-6, the Flyers have set themselves up for a decent second-half run.
While a majority of the second half consists of divisional and conference rivals, the Flyers have shown they can handle that type of schedule. Some of the main contributors are some of the least likely ones as well. Here is where we take a look at a few of the overachievers so far this season.
For all the grief surrounding Hagg on Twitter, he’s played his role very well this season. Tasked with being the seventh defenseman, he’s plugged in and played well in Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Braun’s absence. Hagg was never the flashiest defenseman, but has been able to contribute offensively. He has seven points (1g, 6a) in 31 games played this season. Hagg’s (+5) this season is second best amongst Flyers defensemen, trailing only Philippe Myers (+16)
Lindblom was having a career season until his Ewings Sarcoma diagnosis. Up until his last game with the Flyers, Lindblom shared the team lead in goals with Travis Konecny, with 11. He was sixth on the team in points, with 18. Overall, Lindblom was on pace for about 50 points, well above his previous record 33 from last season. Playing on the second line for a majority of his time this season, Lindblom performed up to the task. Three of his goals came on the powerplay, one more than last year’s performance. If Lindblom had not been diagnosed with cancer, he may still be one of the points leaders for the Flyers at this point in the season.
3. Brian Elliott
Brian Elliott came into this season with his expectations clearly laid out for him. He was to spell Carter Hart when needed, and provide a solid, veteran mentorship for Hart as well. What we didn’t expect is for him to come in and play so well in Hart’s absence.
In three games since Hart’s injury, Elliott has played extremely well. He’s 3-0-0 and has allowed only four goals on 87 shots. That’s good for a .954 save percentage, and a 1.30 goals against average.
With Elliott potentially starting up to three more games until Hart comes back, the jury is still out on whether he can maintain this high level of play. One thing remains, he shut out the bitter rival Pittsburgh Penguins, which left a sweet taste in the mouths of Flyers fans everywhere.
2. Travis Konecny
This may have been expected by some, but should still be celebrated by all. After signing a six year, $33 million contract, Konecny has lived up to his billing. He’s tied for the team lead in points with Sean Couturier (43). He leads the team in goals (17), and is third on the team in assists (26).
Konecny also received his first invite to the NHL All-Star game this season. He was the lone Flyers representative at the showcase, and performed very well, as outlined in a previous piece on the site.
Konecny is on pace for roughly 71 points this season, which would be 22 points more than his previous season-high. He’s already within six points of surpassing that total, indicating his development and overachiever status.
1. Kevin Hayes
Call it an unpopular opinion, but Kevin Hayes has brought more than just stats to the table since signing his seven year, $50 million contract. Sure, his 27 points (14g, 13a) aren’t too bad, but they don’t necessarily scream “$7mil per year!” However, what does scream seven million dollars per year are things like this…
… And things like this.
Finally, and most importantly, things like this…
Call it comic relief, call it a shift in the locker room, Hayes keeps things light while knowing there needs to be results. His demeanor is cool and funny off the ice, and on it really. However, he knows there need to be results, and that’s evident in his ability on the PK especially. His two short-handed goals are the only short-handed goals on the Flyers, and tied for ninth in the NHL. In contrast, the most short-handed goals amongst all NHL players is three.
We can scream point-totals until our lungs collapse, making an argument against Kevin Hayes. The reality is, he wasn’t brought here to be the leading scorer. His points will come, but his attitude and drive are the real reasons why he was brought here. That, and a need for a center.
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