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Season grades: the best of the best

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These were our highest graded Flyers through the 2017-18 season

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Another season in the record books, for better or worse. I gathered all of our contributors and asked them to grade each Flyer that played over 10 games. Grades were based on play this year and the average is what is published. At the end of each post, you will see how each member voted per player discussed in the article.

Throughout the week you will see analysis and thoughts from these fine people: Jason, Craig, Jake, John, Joe, Brad, Steve, Mike, Maddie, Emily, Kyle, Kelly, Kurt, Bill, and me.

Without further ado, the Flyers who earned an A this season.


Claude Giroux: A+

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Steph- I don’t know how much there is to say about Claude, he had the season of his career at 30 years old. If there was an A++ he would get it.

Jason- Really what more is there to say about his season? 2nd in points and might single-handedly been responsible for the Flyers making the playoffs this season. Claude looked like his old self from 3-4 seasons ago.

Craig- Last year we were talking about looking into how trading Giroux wasn’t the worst idea. This year, we’re talking about how he was snubbed as a Hart candidate.

Jake- Finished 2nd in the NHL in points this year while making a transition to a new position. It’s unfortunate he hit a slide in the postseason, but that should not discount the unbelievable regular season he had for this team. It was a Hart-worthy year for the captain and he deserves nothing but praise for what he accomplished this season.

John- Career season, should have been a Hart Trophy finalist; changed positions without a peep of argument.

Joe- Oh boy, Claude was back. CLAUDE WAS BACK. Sorry, it’s just really exciting. Claude Giroux, who is regressing, had the 2nd most points in the NHL this year. And as a wise man once said “he put da team on his back” and carried them all the way into the playoffs. A year ago, if you told anyone, “Claude Giroux is going to become a left wing and score 102 points” they’d probably just laugh and walk away. But hey, hypothetical laughing person, look what how it turned out!

Brad- I mean, there’s not much to say. Second in the league in scoring, that’s an A+ season.

Steve- Clode gets an A+ for the regular season, but the grade gets bumped down to a minus for his playoff production.

Mike- Giroux was a man on a mission this season and bounced back from a 58-point season with a 102-point, career year in his age-30 season. The captain paced the Flyers back into the playoff picture and you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Maddie- MVP of my heart.

Kyle- The captain put on a show this year, putting together his best statistical season at the age of 30 and willing this team into the playoffs. It’s a sham that he’s not a Hart Trophy finalist.

Kelly- Hard to think of a single negative thing to say about Claude Giroux’s season. Not only did he improve his own game, he improved those around him. Best player on the team and the benchmark I’ll use.

Emily- Not much else to say here. He exceeded expectations, set a new career high, and did the entire thing looking extremely handsome and beautiful. What a guy.

Kurt- If you wanted to bump Giroux down from an A+ to an A after his rough playoff series, I have time for that. But this was the best season of what’s been an incredibly impressive career for Claude Giroux, a season that should’ve garnered him a Hart Trophy nomination and much more acclaim than it has received on both local and national levels. If you let what happened in April cloud your memory of his season as a whole and as such remember it as anything less than thoroughly spectacular, that’s your loss.

Bill- The captain had an MVP-caliber bounce-back season that saw him set career highs in goals and assists after his points-per-game numbers declined in each of the three previous seasons. A more productive postseason would have pushed him to an A+, but after the regular season he had, it’s hard to hold a six-game series against him that hard, considering they wouldn’t have been close without him.

Jake Voracek: A-

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Bill- Voracek set career highs with 65 assists and 85 points, but did he have as great of a season as the numbers say? He can be a frustrating player at times, but bumping him off the top line to more evenly distribute the scoring was one of the moves that turned around the season. He probably deserves an A, but his 23 even-strength points in the final 47 games moves him down just a bit.

Kurt- Voracek’s breakneck scoring pace dropped off a bit when Hakstol moved him off of Giroux and Couturier’s line after the first two months, but a quiet 85-point season is still an 85-point season and it’s tough to find a ton of fault in that. After a subtle down-year in 2016-17, it was crucial for Voracek to show that he’s still got the ability to play at a high level all-around. He did that. Good for him!

Steph- Remember that season that Jake had that earned him that giant contract? This one was better than that, in terms of point production anyway. Did he show up in big moments? No. Did he continue his steady performance and have 85 points over 82 games? He sure did! And he is starting to show some really solid chemistry with Nolan Patrick, I can’t wait to watch them continue to grow together.

Kelly- Like Giroux, Jake had a great season. Not as good as G, so he gets a minus. But 85 points is pretty dang good.

Jake- I thought we saw the real Voracek again this season, reclaiming his position as one of the best wings in hockey. Only thing preventing me from giving him an A+ was his playoff performance. While in Giroux’s case I felt he was more unlucky than truly struggling, Voracek appeared to really struggle IMO and took some poor penalties on top of it. But overall, a really strong season.

Maddie- A bounceback for a career year? Sign me up. He was very good this year and in no way overpaid for his production [eyes emoji].

Emily- Jake had a solid season, one we desperately needed from him.

Kyle- Quietest 85 point season in NHL history, nonetheless a great season from Jake.

Mike- Better than a point-per game player this season, Voracek put up 85 points in 82 games including 65 assists. Giroux gets the plus because he was a little more consistent throughout the course of the year.

Steve- Similar to the Captain, Jake the Snake with no arms gets an A for the regular season, and bump down 2 notches for playoff production.

Brad- It was Voracek’s first season that he averaged over a point per game. I know some may be hard on him because of the playoffs, but it’s a 6 game sample. He had great year.

Joe- Jake Voracek was another player who bounced back this year. Finding himself on the first and second lines during the season, Jake was able to put a career high in points.

John- Career high in points, annoyed at his sometimes poor decision making.

Craig- Voracek seems to be the piece of the core fans complain about the most, but he still had 85 points this year.

Jason- Jake closed out his best offensive season of his career after two frustratingly disappointing campaigns. He’s shown he is still an elite winger in the NHL.

Sean Couturier: A+

Calgary Flames v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Brad- 31 goals, 76 points, and a Selke-worthy season all adds up to an A+ I’d say. That’s not even taking into account his playoff hat trick on a torn MCL!

Joe- (/Jason Kelce voice) SEAN COUTURIER IS NEVER GOING TO SCORE 40 POINTS. Well hey, he did. He actually scored * paper shuffling * 76 points. Couturier cemented himself as a perennial Selke candidates this year as well as the role of number one center of the Flyers. Couturier is love. Couturier is life.

Steve- Couturier surpassed all expectations. He was the team’s number one center. He was the team’s top goal scorer. And he remained one of the top shutdown centers in the NHL.

John- 30+ goals and a Selke finalist? Yeah, Coots balled out. Proved a lot of us right.

Mike- Couturier was the Flyers’ best forward, again. Not only was he his usual dynamic possession self, but he ramped up a career offensive showing to vault himself into Selke consideration.

Jake- Can you really give him anything less than an A+? Selke nominee for the first time in his career. First career 30 goal season. Cracked 40 points for the first time in his career and he did so before the All-Star break. Throw in a GWG in Game 5 and a 5 point performance including a hat trick in Game 6, both will playing with a torn MCL in his right knee. As a long time Couturier defender, as frustrating as this season was as a whole, I could not be happier for Sean Couturier.

Maddie- I don’t have to break this down for you, but I will: career year in scoring. Flourishing as a 1C. Selke finalst. A playoff hat trick on a torn MCL. And he’s another one of Philadelphia’s most darling sons. Thanks.

Craig- Remained a defensive juggernaut, but also became the team’s best finisher for a season. Showed why many of us were patient for his growth.

Kyle- What else is there to say about Sean freakin’ Couturier? Hat trick and a game winning playoff goal on a torn MCL, a 76 point season shattering previous career highs. He should win the Selke, but I’m sure the voters will find some dumb reason to not have that happen as well.

Jason- So Couturier was able to jump from 14 goals to 31, 34 points to 76 AND still be an elite defensive centerman? And all of this offensive production was primarily even-strength driven. Sean Couturier the 1C has risen.

Kelly- If anyone on this team could equal the praise we’ve given Claude Giroux its Coots. He was an absolute beast this season.

Steph- This season was just wow. I was completely ready to be happy with strong defensive forward Sean Couturier for the rest of his career, and then this.

Emily- I mean, come on.

Kurt- Do you think that people who spent the first six years of Sean Couturier’s career talking about how he was useless and bad have gone into witness protection? Imagine thinking that. Anywho, give the guy the Selke, thanks.

Bill- Couturier rightfully earned his first Selke Trophy nomination, doubling his previous career-best production numbers. Couturier earned the plus with his postseason play, where he did more on a torn MCL than the rest of healthy teammates combined.

Travis Konecny: A-

NHL: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jason- Who knew that playing an extremely talented winger on the top line would produce positive results? Well we can all thank Dave Hakstol for figuring this out half-way through the season. Once united with Giroux and Couturier, Konecny looked like a non-dirtbag version of Brad Marchand.

Craig- Became an offensive threat in any situation as the team’s most dynamic forward.

Jake- Travis Konecny showed his potential this season. After finally getting a look on the top line, he was one of the most productive forwards in hockey for most of the 2nd half of the season. Hopefully next year he has a more prominent role full-time.

John- Konecny had a breakout playing with Giroux and Couturier. Had some struggles with other lines. But overall fantastic year.

Steph- I love his fire and his ability to draw penalties and get under the other team’s skin. He is quickly becoming one of my top Flyers personalities. He took the next step offensively this season, defensively there is still some work to be done, but he should never have been pulled from that top line. I have high expectations for year three of Teeks.

Joe- Travis Konecny, a player the Bruins passed on three times. Teeks was just everything you could ask for, well at least in the second half. He can score, he can hit and he has that shit eating grin that drives opponents up the wall. I’d be very okay with having TK on this team for the next fifteen years.

Brad- I’ll let others talk about how good of a player he is and instead just remind you that Hakstol took him off the first line because he wanted the line to be more grindy. That happened. I’m still confused.

Steve- The jerk store’s all-time best seller had a heck of a year when he was promoted to the top line with Giroux and Couturier. He still made his share of bone-headed plays, but TK was the sparkplug that this team needed down the stretch.

Mike- Probably would have broken 30 goals had he stayed on the top line all season, dynamic offensive talent showed through a lot this season. Big step forward.

Maddie- Despite the lackluster start, Konecny was so good this season. The huge jump in scoring was great, as was the extra speed and dynamism that he added to the top line, but even more encouraging was seeing how his defensive game improved. He’s made some big strides, and I honestly can’t wait to see what he does next season.

Kyle- Konecny is going to absolutely dominate next season. His second half was electrifying scoring OT goals left and right, and dazzling fans each night with his speed and puck skills. Now we just need a coach who won’t get so mad at him all the time.

Kelly- Konecny is another player who started slow this season but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the top line became a force once he was added to it. Like Patrick, he’s only a B because I think next year we see even more from him.

Emily- What a beast. This is the Konecny we knew we’d see from the start, and he looks stunning.

Kurt- Given the fact that Konecny’s season was pretty quiet up until he got moved onto a line alongside a guy who was a Selke finalist and a guy who should’ve been a Hart finalist, I do wonder if this is too high. But I also think it’s pretty clear that he elevated the offensive potential of those two guys, and you just have to watch the guy for a few shifts before you recognize how explosive of an offensive talent he is. Expectations will be very high for him next year, and deservedly so.

Bill- Konecny finished the year on fire and scored at a pace comparable to the Hart Trophy candidates after his December 23rd promotion to the Couturier and Giroux line. The minus comes from the first 36 games of the season, where he put up 10 points, combined with his demotion to the third line heading into the playoffs, where he went on to score a single goal and pick up no assists. Overall, however, an incredible year for the sophomore scorer.

Ivan Provorov: A-

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steve- Provy had a tremendous year. He scored 17 goals and averaged 24 minutes a game. Ivan Provorov is the number one defenseman we’ve been waiting for.

Brad- I probably could’ve given him an A+ but I wanted to reserve that for two players that were clearly the team’s best. Provorov will be the Flyers’ #1 defenseman for the foreseeable future.

Mike- Being tasked with top minutes as a 21-year-old ain’t easy, and Provorov did so with flying colors. A handful of rough games does knock him down a notch.

Joe- Ivan Provorov is elite. Provy was a true #1 defenseman this year and it makes me giddy thinking about what he’s going to look like in the future for the Flyers. Ivan is the defenseman that this team has been desperate to find for years and years. To put it simply, he’s a beast.

Maddie- Perfect in every way. We all know this. I don’t need to break it down for you.

John- He was a 20 year old number 1 defenseman. Had some more noticeable puck issues than in rookie year, still played great.

Kyle- Provy established himself even further as this team’s go to defenseman. He showed that when paired with a competent defenseman his metrics are fantastic, and he scored 11 more points in sophomore year. He’s also blaming himself for the Game 6 loss and you can bet on him coming back better than ever next season.

Jake- Provorov got to show his true colors this year when Hakstol had an epiphany and cut him loose of the Amac anchor. He made big strides offensively this season and was one of the few bright spots in the playoffs, even with the AC sprain he suffered at the end of Game 5. Provorov is an absolute machine and at just 21 years old he is only scratching the surface.

Kelly- Provorov continues to be this team’s most reliable and skilled defenseman, and he’s only going to get better.

Craig- I still don’t think he’s close to reaching his full potential.

Emily- Ivan Provorov does everything you could ever ask of him. He’s incredible. I don’t need to explain my thought process here.

Jason- I’ve said it before, but he reminds me so much of Kimmo Timonen.

Kurt- For the first 1.5 seasons of his career, I think that what we saw from Ivan Provorov were signs that he someday would be really good. In the second half of this season, largely alongside Shayne Gostisbehere, Provorov was really good, period. The future of this team’s defense is in very good hands with him.

Steph- He is good at everything he does, and he showed this year that he can be good at everything he does while on the ice for half the game. While he was paired with Ghost, he was able to play around a little more, take some risks you wouldn’t have seen him make last year, and that’s ok. For a second year player, I am blown away. And he’s ours. Forever.

Bill- Folks, he’s a true number one.

Shayne Gostisbehere: A

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

Bill- It looks like not listening to the coaching staff was the way to go, ShanYe.

Jason- What we saw this season was Ghost turning into not only a top pair defender, but one of the best d-men in the league. Any question about his defensive play should have been erased from all our minds as he was superb in all three zones.

Kurt- I always wondered if Shayne Gostisbehere would ever legitimately have a better season than the one he had in his rookie year. Wouldn’t have guessed it’d only take him two years to do it.

Craig- Played so well that an argument for him being the number 1 instead of Provorov in the future isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.

Emily- What a year from him. I have no complaints. He remained creative offensively and improved on his defensive game as well.

Jake- Regular season Ghost was a monster. He became a true top pair D man and even looked like a #1 for most of the year. He was the Ashbee winner and rightfully so as he hit the 60 point mark and showed real growth in his defensive zone play. I have to ding him for his playoff performance, though. Shayne had a really rough series and I was hoping for a lot more out of him. Hopefully he learns from it and comes back more prepared next year for that level of play.

Kelly- Ghost is the other best defenseman on this team. He struggled in the playoffs but I’m not holding it against him because he’s shown what he really is. A 1-2 on any team, really.

John- Great year production wise and improved greatly as a defender. Struggled in playoffs, but Ghost was a dynamic difference maker all year.

Kyle- As great a year that Provy had, Ghost was this team’s best defenseman this year. His defensive game has only gotten stronger and the offensive prowess continues to grow.

Joe- Shayne Gostisbehere was an elite defenseman this year, finding himself near the top of the charts for goals and points. However, Ghost was very shaky early on in the season, as well as in the playoffs. He would have games where he just looked completely different, and it would show in his play by making small, dumb, mistakes that were out of character for him.

Maddie- Also perfect. It was great to see him back in old form, making strides defensively, and being just an absolute treat to watch play with Provorov.

Brad- His 65 points was good enough for 4th among defensemen this season and his play in the defensive zone greatly improved. He played like a true top pair defenseman.

Mike- Ghost had a ridiculous season and made huge (noticeable) strides in his defensive game to further compliment his fine offensive work.

Steph- This guy is a star. I made a prediction a few years ago that USA Hockey was going to use Ghost as their new star defenseman, and they should. So should the NHL and the Flyers. Everything he does is amazing and he showed this year that his rookie season was not lightning in a bottle.

Steve- Ghost Bear had the most points by a Flyers defenseman since GARRY GALLEY in ‘93. He’s the man. Buuuuut, again, kinda disappeared in the playoffs.

BSH individual grades

Player Jake John Joe Brad Steve Kyle Kelly Mike Maddie Steph Jason Craig Emily Kurt Bill
Player Jake John Joe Brad Steve Kyle Kelly Mike Maddie Steph Jason Craig Emily Kurt Bill
Claude Giroux A+ A+ A+ A+ A- A+ A A+ A- A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A
Jakub Voracek A A A+ A B+ A A- A A- A- A A A- A B+
Sean Couturier A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A A+ A+ A+ A A+ A+ A+ A+
Ivan Provorov A+ A A+ A A A- A B+ A A- B+ A A A- A
Shayne Gostisbehere A- A+ A- A A- A A A A A+ A A A A- A
Travis Konecny A A- A- B+ B A- B+ A- A- A B+ A- A A- A-