Flyers Mid-Terms: Grading the Forwards

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Flyers

In the second installment of the Flyers Mid-Terms, Philly Sports Network takes a look at the forwards and gives out grades to each player.

Before the Philadelphia Flyers travel to Pittsburgh on Friday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s time to review the forwards. The players who are responsible for the majority of the scoring on this team. Philadelphia is thirteenth in the league standings but sixth in the Metropolitan Division. In the 2019-2020 season, the Metropolitan Division is one of the toughest that the NHL has to offer. With special teams as potent as the even-strength lines at home, the Flyers have vastly improved under Alain Vigneault.

At seasons end under Dave Hakstol, the Philadelphia Flyers accounted for 660 points, 115 powerplay points, and eight shorthanded points. This season, at 50 games in, the Flyers accounted for 408 points, 95 powerplay points, and four shorthanded points. My prediction is Philadelphia exceeds last season’s offensive output. Alain Vigneault’s system and brand of hockey are superior to Hakstol’s. This has a lot to do with the players that Vigneault used this season. Hakstol had more players to use at his disposal throughout last season.

Here is a player by player grade and breakdown of the Philadelphia Flyers forwards in the 2019-2020 season:

Philadelphia Flyers – Center

Travis Konecny: The sole representative for the Philadelphia Flyers during the All-Star Break. TK also is tied for the team lead in scoring. His hustle, determination, and glorious chirps on the ice against opposing players make him a fan favorite. A

Sean Couturier: Currently a finalist for the Frank Selke Trophy at this point in the NHL season. He is the player that Travis Konecny is tied with on the Philadelphia Flyers in scoring. Couts has been a staple for the Flyers this season on the forecheck, creating opportunities for puck movement and extra shots on goal. Let’s put him right alongside Konecny. A

Claude Giroux: Of all the centers on the Philadelphia Flyers, Captain Claude seems to be having a quiet season. He is still ranked as the fourth-highest scorer on the Flyers, but good for third at his position. Philadelphia has a stronger composure when he is on the ice because of his savvy presence. G is still the player you call on when the game is on the line, as he is tied on the Flyers in game-winning goals. B

Kevin Hayes: So this may be more of a controversial take on the grades being handed out. While Scoracek is producing more this season, my eye likes more what I see from Haysey. He’s been a penalty-kill mastermind, scoring one fewer shorthanded goals than he does on the powerplay. Haysey is also tied with Captain Claude in game-winning goals this season. He plays with a big body, guards the puck on the forecheck, and used to ref! A

Scott Laughton: An injury this season really dulled his production and limited him to playing in 30 games. His production would scream “fourth-line center” based on the numbers alone, which is fair when you look at the competition on this depth chart. Laughton plays a disciplined brand of hockey, not committing many penalties. He is sneakily physical too, ranking fourth on the Philadelphia Flyers in hits. C

Tyler Pitlick: A lot of the same sentiments said about Laughton could be echoed for Pits. While he hasn’t been injured like Laughton was, they tallied the same amount of points this season. The difference here is that Pits has played 14 more games than Laughton. C

Morgan Frost: Frosty has been back and forth this season between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. During his 18 games played in Philadelphia, he’s been on the heels of players like Laughton and Pits. His seven points tallied only trails those two by four. While there are times that Frosty has been impressive (on faceoffs and on the penalty kill), he has shown periods of very undisciplined hockey. He’s a work in progress and we should all have faith in his ability. C

Mikhail Vorobyev: Misha has actually played in more games than Frosty, but hasn’t put up the support that you would expect. His greatest asset while on the Philadelphia Flyers this season has been at the faceoff dot. Like Frosty, he has been shipped between the Flyers and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season. Unlike Frosty, he is not developed enough to provide at the NHL level yet. D

German Rubtsov: He’s only played in four games and hasn’t tallied a point. In fact, he’s only taken a single shot as a Philadelphia Flyer. F

Philadelphia Flyers – Right Wing

Jakub Voracek: It’s time that he gets the credit deserved. There have been more than a few occasions this season, especially at home, where Scoracek’s vision with the puck has kept the Philadelphia Flyers in the game. He’s played every game so far and is only five points removed from tying the team lead with TK and Couts. Scoracek is also among the top three on the Flyers in the +/- department. The Philadelphia crowd may scream “shoot” at him all night, but he’s been almost as clutch as Captain Claude this season. B

Nicolas Aube-Kubel: NAK brings the audacity. He is a disruptive force when he is on the ice. On the stat sheet, points won’t tell you what he offers on the ice. In his 17 games in the Orange and Black, NAK has scored four goals (including a powerplay goal) and dished out 42 hits. This is an upstart season for him and he’ll be sticking around. C

Chris Stewart: Stewy is a locker room leader. That trait can be easily looked over when discussing the mold of a successful NHL hockey franchise. That being said, he has only played 16 games in Philadelphia, which is less than the penalty minutes he has accumulated (21). He’s a goon. Every hockey team needs a goon. F

David Kase: He’s played in only six games this season, but has tallied a goal on five shots. It’s a wonder what he would be able to do if he received as much playing time as Stewy. After watching the game against the Anaheim Ducks where he faced off against his brother, Ondrej Kase, it’s worth seeing if Ondrej is available via trade to put on a line with David. There is a very small sample size offered here, but the ceiling under the right circumstances could be higher than we think. D

Philadelphia Flyers – Left Wing

James van Riemsdyk: For all the JvR haters out there, he is the fifth-best scorer on the Philadelphia Flyers. Yes, the top five. We all know that his “patented” move at the crease is a broken record, but it’s what he does when he has the puck in space that makes him still valuable. For the record, he’s been an asset on special teams and is tied for second on the Flyers in goals scored. His contract is on the high side, but it’s not like he hasn’t been producing. A

Joel Farabee: Philly Joel has really stepped up to the plate. He’s played 40 games this season and tallied 15 points. Not a bad start at all to a rookie season. He needs to be a key player on the Philadelphia Flyers, especially with injuries. This is a blossoming first season for the young man. Expect Philly Joel to take on more responsibility coming back from the All-Star Break and into his sophomore season. B

Michael Raffl: Raffy does the things that Philly Joel doesn’t do, which balances out the lines that Alain Vigneault sets up. He was injured this season and missed time, playing 39 total games thus far. Raffy only averages just over a shot per game, scoring only five goals this season. While Philly Joel is shooting more, Raffy has proven to be more of a possession forward, especially in the faceoff circle. C

Oskar Lindblom: This is the heartbreaker. Lindblom really was a premier Philadelphia Flyer this season before his diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma. To put that into perspective, Lindblom will only play 30 games this season and is still ranked ninth in scoring on the Flyers. Lindblom, without a shadow of a doubt, would’ve been the top left winger in Philadelphia. His grade shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who watched him earlier this season. A

Andy Andreoff: Andreoff the Giant has played 13 games this season and only collected a single apple. During that time, he’s dished out more hits than Scoracek and as many as JvR (20). Other players have been called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms who were worth the look and promotion. F

Philadelphia Flyers – Additional Forwards

Carsen Twarynski: Mr. Worldwide! He’s played 15 games in Orange and Black this season and tallied a powerplay goal. He is a player that deserves more attention than Andreoff the Giant. There is a sense of urgency that Twarynski plays with, which has grabbed my attention since the preseason. Hopefully, in the second half of the season, he will get a call up by Alain Vigneault to prove himself. D

Connor Bunnaman: Bunny has been called up once again this season, so Alain Vigneault clearly likes what he sees. He’s tallied a goal and an assist this season on nine shots. Bunny isn’t afraid to crash the net and get in the dirty areas. In only nine games played this season, he has dished out one more hit than Scoracek. It’s not much of a shock as to why Vigneault likes to recall Bunny to the Philadelphia Flyers. C

On Friday, the Philadelphia Flyers begin the second half of the season in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the PPG Paints Arena. The last time the Flyers and the Penguins faced off, Philadelphia shut out Pittsburgh, 3-0, at the Wells Fargo Center. There is nothing like a rivalry game to get the blood pumping for the rest of the season. The Flyers are marked as the underdogs heading into Pittsburgh. In Philadelphia, that’s how we like it.

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Mandatory Credit – © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

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