Flyers Mid-Season Grades: Forwards

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Flyers' Travis Konecny
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny (11) reacts after scoring his third goal during an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Last night, Philly Sports Network published the mid-season player grades for the defensemen and goaltenders. Concluding the Philadelphia Flyers’ mid-season player grades, Nathaniel Tennesen grades the forwards.

Travis Konecny: A

Many players on the Flyers needed a resurgence in 2022-2023, but no player needed it more than Travis Konecny. After a breakout season in 2019-2020, Konecny regressed in the next two. 

With the hiring of John Tortorella, Konecny is a player who thrived as expected. With 49 points (24G, 25A) in 45 games, his 24 goals tie his career best. Konecny will crush his previous stats at this rate as the season continues. Put in all situations by Tortorella, Konecny has become more well-rounded under his guidance.

Despite being snubbed from the All-Star game, Konecny appears to be a critical part of the long-term solution in Philadelphia, and possible team leader.

Kevin Hayes: B

The lone player representing the Flyers at the All-Star game, Kevin Hayes is another player having a career year alongside Konecny. His 45 points (15G, 30A) in 50 games paces him for around ~70 points. Hayes slowed from the point-per-game pace from earlier this season, but he became an all-star in a new position in the lineup.

Starting the season in the top-six of the lineup, Hayes is now on the third line. His lack in defensive responsibility is the root of multiple benchings from Tortorella. Additionally, Hayes was a healthy scratch on December 17th, 2022 versus the New York Rangers. Offensively, he’s elevated the team, but his overall game hasn’t synced.

It won’t be a surprise if teams call Chuck Fletcher about a potential trade around the 2023 NHL trade deadline with how he’s performing.

Owen Tippett: B

Owen Tippett started slowly after arriving to the Flyers last March, but he’s settling into the player everyone expected him to be. A fast skating power-forward, Tippett is beginning to blossom in his role. Alongside Morgan Frost and James van Riemsdyk, his overall game continues to grow.

Tippett has 28 points (14G, 14A) in 46 games. He set a new career high in points and found a featured role on the powerplay. He’s only 23 years old and his place in the Flyers’ future seems like a lock. A future 30+ goal scorer doesn’t seem unreasonable as Tippett continues to make progress.

Noah Cates: B

Noah Cates has a game more mature than his age. He’s turning 24 tomorrow in his true rookie season. With 22 points (8G, 14A) in 51 games, Cates took the top-six role from Hayes because of his outstanding two-way game.

He can play in any situation, making him valuable for the team’s future. Cates doesn’t drive a ton of offense, but he does the dirty work and finishes around the net. He plays like a newer version of Mike Richards, receiving the praise and trust from his fellow teammates and coaches.

Scott Laughton: B

The only player deserving of wearing an “A” on their sweater, per Tortorella, Scott Laughton is like a swiss-army knife. He has 29 points (12G, 17A) in 47 games, pacing to finish with ~45 points.

Laughton is also featured in new situations and is a true threat on the penalty kill. He scored three shorthanded goals, and the Flyers have the second most shorthanded goals in the NHL this season. A leader in the locker room and on the ice, Laughton rounded out his overall game under Tortorella.

Morgan Frost: C+

Morgan Frost is finding a grip on expectations at the NHL level. Following a slow start to his career, he’s finding that elusive confidence. Frost has 25 points (10G, 15A) in 50 games, and his puck handling is noticeable each game in the offensive zone.

Earlier this season, Frost struggled, but started to come into his own since the new year. Tortorella trusts him in more situations, leading to more ice time and special teams opportunities. A big finish for Frost will be critical since he’s on a one-year deal.

James van Riemsdyk: C

The goal for van Riemsdyk this season was to remain consistent, and that’s what he’s done. He has 21 points (8G, 13A) in 31 games. Following a hand injury, van Riemsdyk is playing fine in 2022-2023.

With the trade deadline approaching, contending teams looking to bolster their middle and bottom-six may be interested in van Riemsdyk as a rental on an expiring contract.

Wade Allison: C-

Sidelined with a hip injury in November, Wade Allison is turning into a true power-forward like Tippett. He most likely would’ve been in the lineup earlier on a full-time basis if other injuries didn’t set him back.

Allison has 11 points (7G, 4A) in 32 games. Finding chemistry alongside Hayes and Laughton on the third line, he is poised to breakout in the remainder of this season. Allison plays a gritty game, scoring in the dirty areas.

Nicolas Deslauriers: D+

Nicolas Deslauriers was brought in to add grit and toughness to the Flyers’ bottom six, and he is successfully. He has seven points on the fourth line (2G, 5A) while leading the NHL in fights and hits. Deslauriers knows his role on the team and dishes relentless physicality each game.

Joel Farabee: D

Joel Farabee has been underwhelming so far in 2022-2023. Some bumps in the road were expected after undergoing offseason surgery, but it’s been tough sledding for Farabee.

With 25 points (9G, 16A) in 51 games, Farabee can reach a new career high of 40 points, but expectations for him at this point are much higher. He has the potential to be a consistent 50+ point scorer but doesn’t look like the player he was in the shortened 2020-2021 season.

Zack MacEwen: D

Zack MacEwen didn’t make the team out of training camp, but recalled and stuck around since. A fourth-line skater, he drives some offense, but is consistently challenged by Tortorella. His position isn’t safe on the Flyers lineup, let alone the roster.

Patrick Brown: D

With four points (1G, 3A) in 32 games, Patrick Brown adds toughness to the fourth line alongside Deslauriers and MacEwen. His best feature is on the penalty kill, valuable to Tortorella and Brad Shaw, while adding physicality.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)