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Grading the 2009 Flyers: Joffrey Lupul

Grade: C

2009/09 Salary: $2.9 million - 2008/09 Cap Hit: $2.31 million

2009/10 Status: Under Contract ($4.25 million)

Linemates: Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell 54.5% of the time

Depth Chart Ranking: #2 at Right Wing

[Broad Street Hockey Profile Page] - [Hockey Reference Profile Page]

2008 - Joffrey Lupul 79 25 25 50 1 58 6 0 4 1 194 12.9

An outside observer, somebody who doesn't follow the Flyers closely and is simply perusing the stats page, might take a look at Joffrey Lupul's season and see a successful one. 25 goals, 25 assists, 4 game winners in 79 games. Not bad, right?

Eh, not so fast. For a guy with the potential that Joffrey Lupul has, he's not even coming close to his potential. And the line he's playing on? 50 points in a season should be a foregone conclusion when Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell are playing with him.

But no, Lupul has been a very inconsistent player during his time in Philadelphia. In fact, he's been traded twice in just five NHL seasons, largely due to his inability to play a consistent role in the offense. This past season he was linked to several trade rumors at deadline time, and it's easy to understand why.

There are many pluses to Lupul's game. He's a solid passer, an excellent finisher, a smart hockey player in general, and much improved from early in his career on the defensive end. All of those positives are precisely why he's such a frustrating player to watch, though. He just completely vanishes for stretches of games, sometimes going four or five games without registering a point. He went at least four games without registering a point seven different times this past season. For a guy with his talent, that's simply unacceptable.

His contract was on the low end this past season, but beginning next year, the Flyers are giving Lupul $4.25 million dollars a year -- a contract that doesn't expire until 2013. Giving a player that much money in the salary cap age is unacceptable if they're going to perform as far under their potential as Lupul has.

If Lupul doesn't pick up his game, the trade rumors around him will continue to swirl.

Next up in our Grading the Flyers series is rookie Jared Ross.