So far, we here at Broad Street Hockey have sized up the races for the Flyers' end-of-year team awards by looking at the candidates for the Barry Ashbee Trophy, the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, and the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award and the Gene Hart Memorial Award. Here, we'll wrap up our award selections with the Bobby Clarke Trophy, which goes to the team's MVP as decided by the media.
Based on the name and description, this one is pretty straightforward, so let's jump right in.
Brent: Claude Giroux. He's been the heart and soul of the team for a few seasons now and has grown into the captain's role very well. The team leader in points, as Giroux goes, so goes the team.
Ryan: Shayne Gostisbehere. Without him they are nothing. Gostisbehere provides highlights night in and night out. He has sparked so many great plays and his defensive-zone play has improved immensely. With all due respect to Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere is the straw that stirs the drink.
Kevin: You could probably make a case for Mason, Gostisbehere, or even Simmonds here. But Neuvirth had himself a strong season, which meant less games for Mason. Gostisbehere transformed the team, but he was still only up for part of the season. Simmonds is having another really strong year, but he's not quite MVP level. This team goes as Claude Giroux goes. Without him, I don't think this team has much of a chance.
Kurt: Claude Giroux is almost certainly going to win this, as he should. So because this vote doesn't really matter, let's go off the board a little bit here and highlight someone whose performance could be team-MVP-worthy in its own right. I'm generally not a huge fan of "look at what this team did with/without this guy in a small sample" because there's a lot of noise in those kinds of evaluations, but in 18 games without Sean Couturier this season the Flyers went 5-9-4 and looked like a team fully deserving of that pitiful record. Giroux is the foundation of this team and its best player, but for the past couple of seasons the team has been completely unremarkable and sometimes just bad whenever he wasn't on the ice. This was the first season since 2011-12 where the Flyers had two lines that really looked like they could push play forward and score throughout the entire season. They've got Couturier to thank for that, so he gets my vote.
Al: I really had to think long and hard about this one. No one particularly stands out, and yet I think if any one of a bunch of guys won it, I’d understand it. I’m tempted to say Gostisbehere here just because without him, I really don’t see the Flyers making the playoffs, but I’m going to be lame and go with the safe choice of Claude Giroux. You never expect him to have a bad season, and he never does. Without his presence, the Flyers would be a far less fun team to watch, and they’d definitely be a lot shittier. Maybe that’s a boring answer, but it is what it is.
Allison: Claude Giroux cleared my skin, paid off my student loans, and cleansed me of all of my mortal sins. He’s the real MVP.
Charlie: The season may have turned when Shayne Gostisbehere was called up to the big club in mid-November, and Steve Mason has been fantastic down the stretch. But can this really be anyone except Claude Giroux? He does it all -- drives possession at even strength, is the engine that makes the power play go, kills penalties, and helps to close out every victory with tenacious defensive zone play. Giroux is a true star in the prime of his NHL career, and Flyers fans are lucky to have him.
Is Claude Giroux the Flyers' MVP? Or should it be someone else? Vote in the poll below or voice your opinion in the comments.