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Who should win the “class guy” and “most heart” awards?

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There are probably the toughest awards for us to name a recipient on, but we’ll give it a shot.

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Wednesday, we here at BSH took our shots at naming who the Flyers’ best defenseman and most improved player have been this season, in advance of the Flyers officially giving out those awards prior to tonight’s game against the Hurricanes. Today, we’ll go through the last three awards that are given out.

We’ll start by combining two of these into one post. The Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award goes to the player who “best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice”, as voted on by the media. The Gene Hart Memorial Award goes to the player who “demonstrated the most ‘heart’ during the season”, as voted on by the Flyers’ official fan club, which is a thing.

Our votes, with varying degrees of explanation, can be found below. [Note that responses were largely collected during the day on Tuesday, meaning that any statistics mentioned in this piece are through Monday’s NHL action.]


Dupre: Hm. I don’t really know who to choose here. My initial thought was Travis Konecny. He gives a great interview and “respects the game,” but then again who doesn’t respect the game? Maybe it’ll be Amac, you know, our alternate captain. This is voted on by the media, huh? Yep, that’s my choice, Andrew MacDonald. He was booed on opening night and you know a good portion of the media would never pass up an opportunity to tell the fans how much they should like him. By all accounts he is a good guy, so he can have this. No problem.

Hart: Bellemare won this last year so part of me wants to pick the new Bellemare, Valterri Filppula, but I think there’s a much better answer. Travis Konecny. He does all the heart and grit things. He hits people, he blocks shots, and he stands up for teammates. I’d say nobody tries harder than him but they all try hard, he just happens to also be really good at hockey.


Dupre: Really, I have no idea at all. Who “best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice”? Let’s say Brian Elliott. He seems like a respectful, dignified character both on and off the ice.

Hart: Also known as the Zac Rinaldo Trophy! Or, in other words, the real-life Fearless Play Of The Game Award. Hmm. What about Scott Laughton? Never really had much of a shot at Most Improved this year, but his performance in the bottom-6 has been steady all year and he’s earned every bit of success that he’s found. Travis Konecny seems like the guy most likely to win this one, between his tenacious playing style and his overall success, but I’ll go off the board here.


Dupre: This is a hard award to give to someone without knowing the player off the ice. I can only go by what I perceive as a fan from the outside. Wayne Simmonds is an alternate captain, so he clearly has the respect of his teammates and the organization. He’s a heart and soul player who grinds out every shift and has the skill on top of it. He’s also battled through injury this year to stay in the lineup as much as possible. Wayne Simmonds is class-personified and would be a worthy recipient of this award.

Hart: Intangibles are hard to vote for when you don’t know the players or see them outside of the rink. And I realize Travis Sanheim has not been with the team all year, but it’s actually one of the reasons why I believe he deserves this award. Sanheim did all he could to make the team out of camp, and he accomplished that goal. Whether fans like you and I agree or not, he was sent down after 35 games for more seasoning. Rather than feeling down on himself or getting frustrated, he registered 16 points in 18 games and was recalled when Robert Hagg went out with an injury. Since his recall, he’s continued his strong play and has now seemingly earned more trust from Dave Hakstol.

Getting sent down, regardless of your performance at the time, is never easy. Do I honestly believe Sanheim will win this award? No. But I do think Sanheim deserves a lot of credit for continuing to work, earning a second look, and picking up right where he left off after his first 35 games.


Dupre: This is such a weird award. Like, how the f*** do I know who is respectful? I don’t hang out with these nerds on the weekends. Okay yeah so um ... I’m going to go with Andrew MacDonald. He’s from Nova Scotia and those people are preternaturally friendly to everyone. It’s my understanding that one time he bought dinner for the Phantoms while he was down there because he’s rich and they aren’t. He blocks a lot of shots. People seem to like him. Good reasons as any if you ask me.

Hart: Brandon Manning. lol jk, Dave Hakstol doesn’t pick these winners. The Fan Club picks this winner so ... put yourself into the mind of a person who joins a fan club, Kelly. Which player would you think had a lot of heart and grit and stuff? Robert Hagg. He leads the league in hits. People forget that.


Dupre: Wayne Simmonds. Wayne Train seems like a pretty classy guy right? Does a bunch of charity work in the Philadelphia community. Has developed a reputation on the ice as well.

Hart: Nolan Patrick. The dude missed most of the offseason because of surgeries. Got a concussion nine games into his rookie season and it was obvious that both of these factored into his early-season play which was often ridiculed/mocked because he didn’t look like a 2nd overall pick. Since the beginning of 2018 he’s silenced many of his critics as he’s settled into the 2C role and looked very much of what made him a top prospect coming into the 2017 draft.


Dupre: Matt Read should never have been sent down and played in the AHL over players like Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise, but he did. Read did this with class and humility and that’s why I think he wins this award. Read most likely is in his final season as a Flyer, and will always be one of the fan favorites. He transformed his game from a 20-goal scorer into a play-driving defensively-reliable forward, and a part of me will be sad to see Read go.

Hart: This may come as a shock to some, but Travis Konecny is my pick. TK has had an incredible breakout season and has arguably been the Flyers best player over the final two months. Not only has he been getting it done on the scoresheet, he’s provided a sense of energy to this team and the fanbase. He’s got the high end skill but the snarl that fans love so much as well. He also had to deal with the wrath of Hakstol this season at times, being benched late in games and at times, poor linemates. Maybe Dave just doesn’t like players named Travis?


Dupre: Travis Sanheim. I know that the PHWA is not going to give this award to Travis Sanheim - they will likely give it to Andrew MacDonald who got booed by fans at his own home opening game. I don’t object to that, not at all actually, except for the fact that it will probably mean more boos. I, however, would vote for Travis Sanheim. The Travie who made the team out of training camp, was left off the opening night roster and was in the press box for the home opener, played a few dozen games, was a healthy scratched for nearly a month before being sent back to Lehigh Valley, then recalled and strapped to the aforementioned AMac. Beginning in development camp and rookie camp, Sanheim was always going the extra mile and doing all of the little things like collecting pucks and turning off the lights in the Skate Zone. And he’s a damn good hockey player on top of all that.

Hart: Travis Konecny. Just look at him, little firecracker.


Dupre: The obvious pick here is Travis Sanheim for not lashing out at the fact he’s arguably the Flyers’ third-best defenseman and was held hostage down in the AHL for most of the season while the likes of Brandon Manning and Johnny “John Hockey” Oduya (Remember that game?) fumbled their way through terribly inefficient minutes instead of him. At some point the poor man was in sunny Lehigh Valley eating a knockoff cheesesteak sulking and wondering what he ever did to Dave Hakstol, or what kind of dirt the aforementioned had on the coach that he didn’t.

Hart: Since I went with Konecny over Sean Couturier for Most Improved, I’m going with No. 14 in your program and No. 3 in your hearts (hello, have you seen Claude and Oskar?). In the midst of his breakout offensive season as the Flyers’ top line center, Sean Couturier also took a damn beating in the process. Couturier took at least one high-stick or elbow a game that went uncalled. He also suffered some ugly looking hits that never resulted in supplemental discipline and just kept on plugging away and playing at a high level.


Dupre: After leaving game four of Philadelphia’s first round playoff series in 2016 on a stretcher after a scary collision into the end boards following a regular season that saw him dress for 71 games, Laughton’s future with the Flyers was murky.

The 2012 first round pick was an AHLer out of camp last year and only dressed for a pair of NHL games in November before returning to the Phantoms to reshape his his game to fit the organization’s view of his ceiling as bottom-six role player rather than a power play-worthy scorer.

Laughton took this demotion in stride, helped the Phantoms make the playoffs in 2017 and returned to the Flyers having successfully transformed himself, and winning the fourth line center job in training camp. As of April 1, Laughton had dressed in all 79 games the Flyers had played this season, scoring ten goals and winning 52% of his faceoffs.

Laughton didn’t sulk following last year’s demotion, and came back motivated and ready to prove he belonged in whatever role the NHL club wanted to use him, and for that I think Scott Laughton should be recognized.

Hart: Claude Giroux. Most years, it would be easy to throw this award at Wayne Simmonds, and it would be well deserved. But the captain’s leadership this season, battling back from multiple injuries over the last several seasons and burying the whispers of his decline by posting the best goal and assist totals of his career while leading a transitioning team beginning to infuse youth into its veteran core into a playoff spot.


Dupre: I literally do not know who to put here since Wayne Simmonds has already won. Matt Read had to deal with playing in the AHL all season after providing useful seasons in the NHL over the last few years. He could have easily given up and just coasted in the AHL during his final season of this contract. Instead, he worked through it and managed to get a late season call-up.

Hart: Every single game Travis Konecny has a handful of shifts that are nothing but heart and hustle. He throws his weight around and fights when needed. He has several goals this year that came within the blue paint and were put home with nothing more than grit.


Dupre: Sean Couturier.

Hart: Sean Couturier.


Dupre: Nolan Patrick. I had no idea who to choose here, honestly. I’ve been told this one is basically code for “this guy is nicest to the media,” but I think most everyone seems nice. But Patrick has been nice to this particular member of the media. So we’ll go with that. Thanks.

Hart: Matt Read. Read got such a raw deal this season, with being relegated to the minors when he really should have been here all season, and I felt very sad for him. But hey! Now he’s back and he’s doing great! And that’s awesome to see. He’s making the best of a distinctly less than ideal situation, and you have to respect that.


Dupre: As I am not in the locker room, this is a tough one for me to call. However, Wayne Simmonds strikes me as nothing but class. The Wayne Train has dealt with a number of injuries this season, but he’s never let it get him down.

Hart: I am also giving this award to Travis Konecny. TK gives it everything he’s got and more every time he is out on the ice. Konecny is playing FLYERS HOCKEY™. He’s everything you want out of the orange and black.


Dupre: Shayne Gostisbehere is a fan favorite and a favorite in the Flyers locker room. He also started his own foundation this season. So far this season Shayne’s foundation has supported an event with the Philadelphia SPCA and they’re looking to do a lot more work around the city.

Hart: Travis Konecny draws a lot of comparisons to Brad Marchand, which are not true. Travis Konecny is not a dirty player, like Marchand; he is a player who plays with his heart on hissleeve. Konecny is a very verbal guy on the ice and you know when he is excited or when he is pissed off.