The Flyers will close out their season this Saturday afternoon against Ottawa, and as is tradition in the Flyers' final home game, the team will give out a series of awards to various players on the team before the game begins. In case you've forgotten those six awards, a list of them is below:
- Bobby Clarke Award (Most valuable player, as voted on by the media. 2013-14 Winner: Claude Giroux)
- Barry Ashbee Trophy (Best defenseman, as voted on by the media. 2013-14 Winner: Kimmo Timonen)
- Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most improved player, as voted on by the team's players. 2013-14 Winner: Michael Raffl)
- Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award (for the player "who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice," as voted by the media. 2013-14 Winner: Jakub Voracek)
- Gene Hart Memorial Award (for the player "who demonstrated the most 'heart' during the season, as voted by the Flyers' Official Fan Club. 2013-14 Winner: Steve Mason)
- Toyota Cup (for the player who receives the most "Three Stars of the Game" selections. 2013-14 Winner: Claude Giroux)
We gave our thoughts on who should and who will win the Barry Ashbee Trophy a couple weeks ago, and since then we've asked a number of our writers/editors/contributors/people to provide a paragraph on who they think should win the remaining awards. We'll be giving our results over these last few days of the season.
Today we'll start with the highest-profile award, the Bobby Clarke Trophy for Team MVP.
Travis Hughes: For me, this is a no-brainer: Steve Mason is the Flyers' most valuable player. He's having the best season of his career, and that counts his Calder Trophy-winning rookie year, and he's doing it behind one of the worst D-corps the Flyers have had this decade. I'd go as far to say the guy deserves a few votes for the Vezina Trophy. I think of a team MVP as "where would this team be without that guy?" and .... I am scared to think of the Flyers without Steve Mason this year.
Kevin Christmann: This is probably a two-horse race between Steve Mason and Jake Voracek. It's hard to disagree with anything Travis said though, so I'm also going with Steve Mason. I shudder to think where the team would have been without Mason this season. It's incredible to think of how far he has come in his short time with the Flyers. When you consider some of the BS he had to put up with this season, he deserves all of the accolades he will, likely, get.
Charlie O'Connor: It's tough to argue with a vote for Steve Mason. He's having the best year of his career and has legitimately posted elite statistics, with only a few nagging injuries and the terrible skaters in front of him preventing Mason from finishing as a no-brainer Vezina nominee. However, he did miss stretches of the season due to those injuries, and for that reason, I'm going to go with Jakub Voracek, who also delivered elite production (5th in the NHL in points) without missing any time. His underlying possession and micro stats at even strength were basically unmatched for full-time Flyers, and his career-high power play numbers helped the team to overcome the loss of Scott Hartnell on the first unit.
Kurt R.: In a season like this, everything always comes down to game- and even season-changing moments. That's why I'm going with Zac Rinaldo as team MVP, largely thanks to moments such as his boarding Kris Letang in January. He said it himself -- he changed that whole game. And after that, the Flyers went on a nine-game point streak in which they totally played good hockey, which sort of got them back into the playoff race for like a week or two. Who do they have to thank for that? Zac Rinaldo, of course. MVP*.
Al K.: Obviously, Jake Voracek has been kind of the big national focus of the Flyers this season, and for good reason. It's hard to ignore a guy who was leading the league in points at certain times this year and very well may finish the year as the Art Ross winner. And with that being said, I would find absolutely no problem with Jake ending up with the Clarke. However, Steve Mason is my vote here. Beyond what Travis pointed out about how the Flyers would have done without him, you have to admit that it would be pretty cool for a goalie to win the award given that this is Philadelphia and goalies LOL. Mason has been amazing and fully deserves the award. Also, maybe it will shut up Mike Milbury's stupid face.
Kelly Hinkle: Clearly a toss-up here between Voracek and Mason, but I'm going to go with Steve Mason. Like Travis, I shudder to think about what this season would've looked like without Mason standing on his head most nights. And doing it behind that defense...the man clearly deserves a major award.
Ryan Gilbert: Giving an award like this to a goaltender takes a great, not good, season. Steve Mason has had just that. Mason will join Pelle Linbergh (1984-85), Ron Hextall (1986-87, 87-88, 88-89) and Roman Cechmanek (2000-01, 02-03) as the fourth goalie to win the award in its 30th year of existence. Jakub Voracek is a close second, and very well could win the trophy as well.
Meseret H., who chose to express his choices in .GIF form:
Who else can score like that on the Flyers? In the league?
Leads the team in goals, power play goals and game winning goals. Without Wayne Simmonds well we have Ryan White in the crease on the power play. YIKES.
So those are our thoughts. Feel free to vote in the poll below and let us know who you think should win.