The 2019-2020 NHL season has been a special season for the Philadelphia Flyers. At the beginning of the season, the city was already buzzing after the hiring of Alain Vigneault. Oskar Lindblom showed just how productive of a hockey player he is on the ice and how strong of a human he is off the ice. Sean Couturier continues to be a staple in the success of the Flyers. All of this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Members of the PHWA have sent their ballots for the annual NHL awards. In particular, the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, the Frank J. Selke Trophy, and the Jack Adams Award will be the focus here. After all, these three awards have a high probability of finding their home in Philadelphia after the 2019-2020 season.
Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy
Last Monday, the PHWA listed 31 nominees, one from each team, for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy. Players “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey” are eligible for this award. From the Philadelphia Flyers, the PHWA announced Oskar Lindblom as the franchise’s nominee.
In December of 2019, Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare bone cancer where it’s tumor grows in the bones or in the tissue around them. The final game Lindblom played in the 2019-2020 season was against the Ottawa Senators on December 7th, 2019. At the time of his diagnosis, he was tied in goals with Travis Konecny.
Towards the end of April 2020, the Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr stated Oskar Lindblom was about to begin his last round of Ewing’s sarcoma treatments. The fine healthcare professionals at the University of Pennsylvania have been side-by-side with Lindblom. He’s the epitome of perseverance and dedication to hockey as he strives to workout with the Flyers after his treatments are finished.
Jack Adams Award
Let’s say that Alain Vigneault does win the Jack Adams Award this season. He will be a part of history. If Vigneault does win the Jack Adams Award, he will be the fifth Philadelphia Flyers coach to do so. That would lead all other NHL franchises in the award’s history. According to the NHL’s own Twitter page, Vigneault is the favorite.
A coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success” will receive the Jack Adams Award. At the moment, Alain Vigneault is leading the NHL coaches in points with 59. Behind him are Mike Sullivan, John Tortorella, Dave Tippett, Jared Bednar, and Bruce Cassidy.
Mike Sullivan is the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that made the playoffs last season. That’s the same story with John Tortorella, Jared Bednar, and Bruce Cassidy. To me, the Jack Adams Award comes down to Alain Vigneault and Dave Tippett. Both of those coaches took their franchise to the playoffs when that team missed it a year ago. What separates the Vigneault from Tippett is that the Philadelphia Flyers are a top-four seed while the Edmonton Oilers are in the play-in round as a fifth seed.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
When Sean Couturier plays more than sixty games, he is a guarantee to be in the conversation for the Frank J. Selke trophy. The only time in his NHL career when he wasn’t in the running for the Selke trophy was in 2012-2013, a lockout year. Since then, Couturier has been top-ten in votes for the Selke trophy four times. He’s a top-five defensive forward in all of the NHL. This season, he makes his case to be the top guy.
Sean Couturier averages the most on-ice time of all the Philadelphia Flyers forwards. He routinely plays some of the toughest minutes across the NHL. While he’s on the ice, he’s nearly won 60% of his total faceoffs. When Couturier is on the ice, the Flyers spend significantly more time with the puck than without it. When scouts use the term “200-foot-play,” they describe exactly the ability to dominate in the offensive zone and the defensive zone, which is Couturier’s game.
Another quality that is a driving factor in Sean Couturier’s case for the Frank J. Selke trophy is that he hasn’t missed a game in 2019-2020. In fact, he only missed two games over the last three seasons. He is elite. After the era of Claude Giroux as the Philadelphia Flyers captain concludes, that honor will rightfully belong to Couturier. When Couturier is on the ice, everyone else plays above the zenith of their skill.
An official date has not been announced yet for when the winners or finalists of these awards will be announced. That is rumored to take place this summer. However, if you are a betting person, these three Philadelphia Flyers members should be on your betting ticket.