Grading the 2021-2022 Flyers: Forwards

Flyers' Claude Giroux
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 18: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Claude Giroux (28) celebrates a goal in the first period during the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers on November 18, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The 2021-2022 NHL season was certainly not friendly towards the Philadelphia Flyers. A team projected to be fighting for a playoff spot ended up last in their division and had the fourth-worst record in the league. There were plenty of injuries, COVID setbacks, and underwhelming play from many key players, which resulted in the second-worst season in franchise history.

With the season finished, let’s take a look at what end-of-the-season grades the 2021-2022 Philadelphia Flyers forwards would receive.

Forwards that appeared in more than half of the regular season will be given a grade.

Claude Giroux: A

Giroux was the best forward this season before he was traded to the Florida Panthers. He played in 57 games scoring 42pts (18G, 24A.) Giroux elevated the players around him in a tough season and was always a difference-maker on the ice. His face-off percentage was 60.89% prior to being traded, which was one of the best in the NHL.

Earning 2022 NHL All-Star MVP honors was the beginning of the perfect send-off for the nine-year captain. He’s been electric since joining the Panthers, scoring 23pts in his first 18 games, and 7pts in 6 games during the first round of the playoffs.

Giroux and the Panthers will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final starting tonight.

Cam Atkinson: B+

Atkinson produced during his first season in Philadelphia. He played in all 73 games before a season-ending injury on April 12th. In those games, Atkinson led the team with 50pts (23G, 27A), and was a -2. Atkinson was one of the best forwards behind Claude Giroux and was a leader the moment he stepped into the locker room for the first time.

He regressed during March and April when he was dealing with injuries. He was still determined to help his team while not completely healthy, but his season was ultimately cut nine games short. If he was healthy for all 82 games, he most likely would’ve finished first in points.

Scott Laughton: B

Laughton scored 30pts (11G, 19A) in 67 games this year. He missed time with a concussion during the second half of the season, but his overall play was some of the best in his career. Laughton was one of the most consistent forwards on the Flyers this year. For a player who’s viewed as a bottom-six forward, he played like a top-six.

He played center for a while due to the injuries that affected the team all year, a position with limited familiarity and he had his second-best season point-wise. He stepped up his play on the ice and also as a leader. Laughton is a nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

Travis Konecny: C+

Konecny ended up leading the Flyers with 52pts (16G, 36A) at the end of the season, which was also the second-highest point total of his career. Konecny showed flashes of being a solidified top-six forward during parts of the season, but it happened too late in the year.

He’s struggled to score 20+ goals since 2019-2020, and he also hasn’t looked like the same player since then. Konecny had 220 shots on goal this year, but only 16 found the back of the net. On a team that lacked overall talent and depth, Konecny needs to find his goal-scoring ability again.

Konecny is a solid NHL player, but he needs to find the level of play he had from 2017 to 2020.

Kevin Hayes: C

This season was tough on Kevin Hayes in more ways than one. The passing of his brother, Jimmy, in August, followed by multiple core surgeries, was just a lot to go through. Hayes was playing injured for the majority of the season, and his stats proved it.

He had 31pts (10G, 21A) in 48 games. That’s not terrible, but on a team where he’s considered as the second-line center, he needs to be a lot better. After his third surgery, he put up 22 points in 28 games, which is pretty good considering everything that happened in those previous months.

Hayes is a solid second-line center, when healthy. A healthy Kevin Hayes strengthens the Flyers down the middle of the lineup. He’s also now a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

Joel Farabee: C

Farabee was expected to take another leap forward this season, but he mirrored his play in 2020-2021 while scoring four fewer points in eight more games played. He scored 20 goals last season compared to his 17 this year.

He missed multiple weeks with an upper-body injury in early 2022, before a slump in April, scoring only 2pts in 14 games, which shouldn’t happen for a player with top-six potential.

Showing flexibility, Farabee played center at times during the final few weeks of the season. He didn’t play badly, but his playing style is more suited for the wing. Farabee is only 22 and is viewed as a future core piece.

He has plenty of time to bounce back, but this just wasn’t his year.

Morgan Frost: C-

Frost did struggle a lot early on in the season. The constant switches between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia certainly didn’t help his confidence, but Frost seemed to find his game in parts of the second half.

He looked more confident whenever he played with Giroux, and when he saw himself paired with Noah Cates and Owen Tippett on “The Kids Line,” he began to find his groove again.

“The Kids Line” benefited all of Cates, Tippett, and Frost, but the level of play that came out of Frost during those few games showed he’s ready to stay on the roster permanently for next season.

James van Riemsdyk: D+

Leading the Flyers with 24 goals this year, van Riemsdyk found the back of the net more while the season was winding down. He still played hard every shift, but for a player with a $7mil contract, his play has been quite disappointing.

van Riemsdyk reached 36 goals in 2017-2018 with the Maple Leafs and he hasn’t seen a 30+ goal season since then. He’s a player capable of scoring 20+ goals a year easily, but he’s not getting any younger. With the young talent on the rise and van Riemsdyk’s cap hit, his future with the team may be starting to dim.

Oskar Lindblom: D

With 26pts (12G, 14A) in 79 games, Lindblom hasn’t found his level of play since returning after beating cancer. Lindblom isn’t a player who will score points every night, but he can be a solid depth player and we’ve seen his skills before.

Lindblom can create plays and battles in front of the net, but he just hasn’t looked like his old self this year. He’s still only 25-years-old and has to take another step forward in a contract year.

Zack MacEwen: D

Despite the on-ice product that the Flyers delivered this year, MacEwen definitely helped make sure that fans were still tuning into the games. MacEwen scored 9pts (3G, 6A) in 75 games, which isn’t good at all, but he was a fan favorite.

MacEwen’s willingness to drop the gloves with anyone in the league always got the fans pumped up. His stats aren’t good, but his presence in the locker room and giving his all on every shift is good enough to earn respect from both the players and the fans.

MacEwen was the Flyers’ winner of the Gene Hart Memorial Award.

Max Willman: D-

Willman was a recall for most of the season. Playing in 41 games, he finished with 6pts (4G, 2A.) It’s not certain if Willman will be in the Flyers’ lineup next year unless injuries happen again.

Patrick Brown: D-

Brown was another player in the same position as Willman while only being called up due to injury situations. Mike Yeo did like Brown and was a reason why he was a usual call-up. Brown never really saw playing time that wasn’t on the fourth line.

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

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