Before the 2022-2023 regular season finished on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Philadelphia Flyers announced the winners of their team awards.
It’s the first season with head coach John Tortorella. The bench boss oversees the lineup for a franchise trying to keep afloat during the change of tides. Chuck Fletcher and Dave Scott are out. Daniel Briere and Dan Hilferty are in. After a trial run to find the footers of the foundation, the rebuild is very close to beginning.
The Flyers, simply put, weren’t good. Some of that reflected the effort provided by skaters who were benched or later scratched. Mentally, it was another taxing season for all parties involved. The overwhelming majority of this team never quit, no matter how tough the season went, and that perseverance translated to confidence.
The following reward the most valuable player, the best defenseman, the most respected player on the roster, the most improved player, and the player who displayed the most “heart.”
Click here for the Flyers Team Awards from 2021-2022
The Bobby Clarke Trophy (Flyers MVP)
Carter Hart cannot receive enough praise for his performance this season. He had his best season since 2019-2020. Statistically, he kept a 2.94GAA behind a defense that averages 3.37GA/GP. Over the last few seasons, Hart is trending back to his old form from 2018-2020.
“All the things they’ve talked to me about Carter when I was first hired here, some of them may be question marks about him in talking to the management and group, going through the interview process, I haven’t seen for a second. He has handled himself so well this year; he’s been our most consistent player.”John Tortorella; 4/7/2023
Tortorella raves about the way Hart carries himself. More on that in a bit.
The Barry Ashbee Trophy (Most Outstanding Flyers Defenseman)
Ivan Provorov is named the best defenseman on the Philadelphia Flyers, but he had competition. His partner, Cam York, only played in 53 games, and at times it seemed as if he was the best Flyers defenseman. Another defenseman is Nick Seeler, the Flyers’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Each of those players fulfilled their role exceptionally.
He leads the team in blocked shots, a staple of the Tortorella system. Putting the exclamation point on the campaign, Provorov scored the overtime game-winner last night against the Chicago Blackhawks. While Provorov receives this praise, another question begs: will he remain in Philadelphia?
“He’s [Briere] willing to get involved in some heavy lifting, some big time business, which means he’s interested in listening on basically every asset the Philadelphia Flyers have.”Darren Dreger; 4/13/2023
Briere wants to be aggressive in the offseason. Provorov is a defenseman with a career ahead of him who might require a change of scenery. Don’t be surprised if he is trade bait. Other teams may welcome the talent Provorov offers, and the Flyers could receive a solid haul in return. The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, and Anaheim Ducks could be a fit.
Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award (Character and Respect)
Justin Braun made received the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award. Braun is a master professional, a sentiment echoed by Darryl Williams:
“He’s almost like a parent; that guy that’s been through a lot of circumstances, or different situations, and is able to relay that to the rest of the team; help calm the team down. We had some other veteran guys that did that also; he’s just one of those guys that’s a great example: his leadership, demeanor for all the young guys to be able to look at and learn from, help them with their careers going forward.”Darryl Williams; 4/13/2023
Another player who fits the bill is James van Riemsdyk. Both players, in all probability, finished their Philadelphia Flyers career in the overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. You could see how honest those words are from Williams about players like Braun, who filled in while Tony DeAngelo finished a healthy scratch.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most Improved Flyers Player)
Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost were neck-and-neck for this award. Tippett takes home the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, however.
Cases for Frost are just as valid.
Both forwards were on fire in 2023. Frost tallied 32 points (12G, 19A) in 2023. Tippett contributed 29 points (15G, 14A) in 2023. The beauty of these two cases is that they’re two young players finding their confidence and identity on the Philadelphia Flyers as the rebuild takes off.
Throughout 2022-2023, not just focusing on the back end, Tippett legged out Frost in total points (49-46) while both finished top five in team scoring. Aside from Konecny, Tippett is the only Flyers skater to break the twenty-goal threshold. On the powerplay, Tippett is the ringleader. He made good on the exchange from last season when the Florida Panthers rented Claude Giroux.
Gene Hart Memorial Award (Most Heart)
You can’t help but think that Tortorella appreciates the competitive nature of Hart. Not only did he capture The Bobby Clarke Trophy, he fittingly secured the Gene Hart Memorial Award.
It’s easy to go through the motions in a season where the team isn’t playing for anything. Hart didn’t choose that route. He got a little hot about being pulled in a shutout loss to the New York Islanders:
“No idea. I didn’t feel that I deserved to be pulled, but it is what it is.”Carter Hart; 4/8/2023
In response, Hart won his final start of the season, the home finale versus the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime.
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)