Flyers Grades: 2022-2023 Forwards

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Flyers' Owen Tippett
Philadelphia Flyers’ Owen Tippett reacts after scoring his third goal in an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Friday, March 17, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Midway through the 2022-2023 NHL season, I graded the Philadelphia Flyers upon their performances.

Spring has sprung, the school year is coming to a close, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway. The Flyers’ season is history. It’s time for the end of the season grades.

Which forwards improved in the second half of the season? Did any of the forwards regress?

Owen Tippett (B+)

Owen Tippett solidified himself as a full-time NHL player in 2022-2023, breaking out in his first full season with the Flyers. He might’ve outperformed immediate expectations, earning the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as the most improved Flyers skater. Tippett arrived in Philadelphia at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.

He silenced critics, showing the version most projected him to become when he was drafted tenth overall in 2017. When firing on all cylinders, including his skating speed, strength, and shooting capabilities, Tippett looked flat-out dominant. He finished 2022-2023 with 27 goals, and the potential to easily surpass 30.

Lacking high-end talent and a game-changer, Tippett will be at the forefront of the rebuild in Philadelphia, arguably the best goal scorer on the roster.

Travis Konecny (B+)

Travis Konecny eclipsed 30 goals for the first time in his career. If not for missing 22 games due to injury, Konecny likely scores 40 while adding more assists, creating a new career high in points. Instead, he finished with 61 points, tying his best from 2019-2020.

Flyers' Travis Konecny
Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny reacts after an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

John Tortorella relied on Konecny often. In addition to the powerplay, this season was the first time Konecny had a role on the penalty kill, contributing on both sides of the puck on special teams. Konecny mostly succeeded while Tortorella put him, and other players, in new situations.

Flourishing with Tortorella, we’re watching for consistency next season. It’s likely that the upcoming season could be the best yet for Konecny. Entering the rebuild, Konecny is a reliable player who fits the fabric of what Tortorella wants in his lineup.

Noah Cates (B+)

Noah Cates impressed. He didn’t scorch the Earth with 38 points (13G, 25A), but he is one of the best, young defensive forwards in the NHL.

Flyers' Noah Cates
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 03: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Noah Cates (49) is pictured prior to the National Hockey League game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers on April 3, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

Sean Couturier missed the entire season. Cates, in his absence, stepped into a huge role with the Flyers, showing similarities to Couturier. He isn’t flashy on offense, but Cates makes the smart defensive read on the forecheck, creating scoring chances while preventing them.

Cates was one of the most consistent skaters throughout the season. Keep listening for his name in future Frank J. Selke Trophy conversations.

Morgan Frost (B+)

Morgan Frost established himself as a full-time NHL skater this season, like Tippett. Beginning slowly, Frost finished with a strong 2023, setting a career-high with 46 points.

Flyers' Morgan Frost
Philadelphia Flyers’ Morgan Frost celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Gaining confidence as the season moved on, Frost gained ice time due to his improvement. Due for a new contract this offseason, he showed Tortorella that he can compete at the NHL level. His role will continue to expand if he stays in Philadelphia.

Scott Laughton (B)

Scott Laughton, the only Flyers skater with a letter on his sweater, set a new career high with 43 points. He received an uptick in ice time and featured on the powerplay, a new situation from Tortorella, while remaining excellent on the penalty kill.

Flyers' Scott Laughton
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 31: Philadelphia Flyers Center Scott Laughton (21) skates in warm ups before an NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings on December 31, 2022, at the Arena in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire)

A leader in the locker room, Laughton didn’t mind when his ice time shortened due to Tortorella wanting younger skaters to play bigger roles. A captain will not be named for the 2023-2024 season, but Laughton wearing the ‘A’ on his chest in 2022-2023 said a lot about how Tortorella feels.

Joel Farabee (C)

Joel Farabee had a frustrating season. He underwent neck surgery last June, the same procedure Jack Eichel and Tyler Johnson had. Farabee made the cut on opening night, however.

In the first half of the season, Farabee struggled. He went on a 26 game drought without a goal, lasting from January 9th to March 17th, and his overall game seemed to take a step back. Then, in the last month of the season, Farabee surged, tallying eighteen points (6G, 12A) in the final fifteen games.

Despite struggles, Farabee finished with 39 points, a new career high. Farabee had a better season than it seems, and 40 points seems very reasonable for the 23-year-old next season.

Kevin Hayes (C)

Kevin Hayes represented the Flyers at the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend. He was on fire, running away with a career renaissance performance, but then took a major dip in the second half of the season.

Tortorella criticized Hayes’ play during the season, resulting in shortening the bench, or an outright healthy scratch. Despite the relationship between Hayes and Tortorella appearing sour to the public eye, he finished with a career high 54 points. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Hayes’ future in Philadelphia, receiving commentary as trade bait well before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.

James van Riemsdyk (C)

James van Riemsdyk totaled twelve goals, providing depth scoring on a team who had to score by committee. His biggest impact to the Flyers was serving as a mentor to Tippett and Frost, who both finished strong.

Chuck Fletcher failed to move van Riemsdyk at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Unfortunately, that restricted any chance for a team to rent van Riemsdyk for a possible postseason push.

Brendan Lemieux (C-)

Brendan Lemieux arrived in Philadelphia at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, scoring six points (2G, 4A) in eighteen games. The Flyers sent Zack MacEwen to the Los Angeles Kings for Lemieux and a 2024 fifth-round pick.

A gritty skater, Lemieux loves to stir it up on the ice. He’ll be a unrestricted free agent this offseason. His rental for the rest of the season served as an audition to remain with the Flyers as decent depth at the start of a rebuild.

Wade Allison (D)

Wade Allison remained stagnant in 2022-2023 due to injuries. He was incredibly effective at times, and while his playing style fits in Philadelphia, it isn’t sustainable for a healthy season. Allison managed fifteen points (9G, 6A) in 60 games.

Allison is an asset if he can manage injuries. A potential role in the bottom or middle-six could breakthrough.

Nicolas Deslauriers (D)

Nicolas Deslauriers added toughness to the lineup consistently. He finished third in the NHL with 306 hits, and first in the NHL with 14 fights.

Tanner Laczynski (F)

Tanner Laczysnki is another skater hindered by the injury bug, curbing his development. He has the potential to be a solid depth forward in Philadelphia, hoping to remain healthy and develop.

Kieffer Bellows (F)

Kieffer Bellows was a waiver acquisition for the Flyers, spending time in both Philadelphia and with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Bellows is a former first round pick from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, not living up to those expectations. He’ll be a restricted free agent this offseason.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)