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Season grades: the B players

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These Flyers did well, but weren’t superstars

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Part two of our four part 2017-18 Flyers report card series (you can find part one here). Today we have the players who were good, not great. Grades were based on play this year and the average is what is published, we only ranked players who played over 10 games. 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 a B this season.


Nolan Patrick: B

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mike- The No. 2 overall pick warmed to the task after the turn of the new year. Before then he would have gotten an incomplete grade because I don’t think he was healthy and his second half showed massive promise.

Jason- This poor 19 year old kid missed most of the offseason due to surgeries and then gets a concussion in the first month of the season. The expectations for the kid were stupid high, but I think we all can agree that the talent was on full display from January on.

Steph- He showed at the end of the year that he is everything that we needed and wanted him to be. I am so excited to see what he does next year after a full and healthy summer of training and conditioning.

Craig- Really rough start to the season, but still hit 30 points and showed glimpses of what should be a monster sophomore season.

Bill- A tale of two seasons for the second-overall pick. Patrick put up only 9 points through 40 games while acclimating himself to the NHL while getting over offseason core muscle surgery and suffering a concussion in late-October. But in his final 33 points he put up 21 points, and replaced Wayne Simmonds on the top power play unit. With a full season to learn from under his belt and his first healthy offseason in two years ahead of him, Patrick looks poised to take a big step forward in year two. But the injury history is still a bit of a concern.

Jake- To make an analogy, Patrick was like a freshman in college who failed a few tests his first semester - some due to being sick, maybe another due to not being prepared - but worked his butt off to raise his GPA in his second semester and begin to show his true potential. He was one of the best players on the team after the calendar turned. Cannot wait to watch him continue to develop after (hopefully) a full and healthy off-season.

Kurt- The grade here gets dragged down a bit by a brutal first few months of his NHL career, which have to be considered if we’re trying to grade the entire season. But Patrick certainly did seem to turn a corner somewhere around the All-Star Break, and has managed to set the bar pretty high in terms of what we can expect from him going forward. Can he be a legit 2C from start to finish next season? I think he can. Let’s see it.

John- Graded on curve. Patrick’s early season struggles I largely attribute to his injuries/surgery. He was a beast when finally healthy and in shape.

Emily- Took him a while to get going, but once he did, oh boy. I have nothing but good feelings about this kid. Next season he’s gonna take off.

Joe- Nolan Patrick wasn’t good to start the season, he was actually very bad. But as time went on, Nolan looked better and better every game. He showed flashes all year long of some of the skill he possesses. Nolan is going to break out, it’s going to be soon. The NHL should be scared.

Kelly- Patrick took a little time to get going, but once we got to the playoffs the kid was on fire. He looks great, and the only reason he’s not an A for me is I think he’s going to be even better next year.

Brad- Given the recovery from surgery maybe I should have given him a better grade, but I decided to keep everyone on an even playing field. He had a really rough first half of the season which is why I gave him a C.

Kyle- Despite a hellish first half of the season, the second overall pick made that a distant memory with his stellar second half. This kid is about to go on a tear next year.

Steve- The kid had a real rough start. By season’s end, he was the undisputed number two center. He’s gonna be a stud.

Maddie- His first half of the season was…uh…not very good, and be it because of an adjustment curve, or injury, or a mix of the two, the results still remain. But he gets this good grade because of how good he was in the second half of the season, and for how he was one of the few Flyers who consistently showed up in the playoffs. I have a lot of respect for how he righted the ship down the stretch there, and am very excited to see what he does next season.

Oskar Lindblom: B-

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Bill- Only 6 points in 23 games? Lindblom looked so much more noticeable than his stat line, at least until the playoffs, where he did appear to struggle. The experience was the most important part of Lindblom’s season, and the coaching staff showed confidence in Oskar, despite a lack of point production, by pairing him on the second line with Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek.

Kurt- There was a LOT to like about Lindblom’s NHL tenure, and in a just world he’d have had more than the six points he collected in those regular-season games he played in. Though he seemed to be out of gas by the time they reached the playoffs, that’s understandable for a guy who has never played a pro season as long as the one he played this year. Lindblom should be a roster lock next year, and I don’t think we know yet just how good he is.

Emily- He had several solid games and gave me a lot of confidence in his ability, but a few bad games here and there (especially in the playoffs) knock him down a little bit.

Kelly- Lindblom only saw 23 games with the team, but seemed to find fast chemistry with Nolan Patrick. It was a bummer to see him struggle in the playoffs but he’s a kid. Only up from here.

Kyle- Should have been here much earlier in the season, but when he came up he didn’t disappoint. Can’t wait for a full NHL season from him.

Maddie- I’ll be brief: I wanted Lindblom to make the team out of camp and he probably should have. I really liked what I saw from him, upon his call up. It was a shame to see him unable to buy a goal in his first handful of games, but his work was all still good. i love watching him play the puck with his skates, and his readiness to crash the net and work to generate high danger chances. More please!

Mike- The sample size wasn’t huge for Lindblom in 23 games, but the metrics and the numbers backed up what looks like a fine young prospect. He’s Michael Raffl with a higher scoring upside.

Steve- Like Raffl, not a ton of points, but a lot of effective puck movement.

Brad- He only played 23 games but boy were they promising. He graded out great in Corsi, xG, and SCF. He just needs to do a better job at finishing his chances.

Joe- Lindblom was another player who showed flashes of greatness this season. He wasn’t able to produce much on the scoresheet, but he had a stretch where it seemed like he had five or six quality scoring chances a game. He also had great chemistry with Nolan Patrick, it’ll be very exciting to see what those two can do next year.

John- Process was fantastic as was underlying play. Had some bad puck luck in terms of finishing, but at worst looks like a good middle six forward.

Jake- Small sample, the minus is purely based on his playoff performance. He looked to be in a bit over his head going up against PIT. But overall, he was a solid 200 foot player who started to produce once he got comfortable with the NHL pace. The playoff pace just was a bit too much for him this time around. Oskar has traditionally taken a bit of time to adjust to new levels of play. I imagine he’ll be much better prepared heading into next season and I look forward to having him on the roster for a full year.

Craig- Didn’t put up a ton of points, but drove play and formed a pretty nice pair with Patrick.

Jason- Another kid that didn’t look out of place in the NHL? SHOCKING!

Steph- The fact that this kid wasn’t with the team from Game 1 of 82 was a disgrace. He may have struggled at the AHL level in the early part of this season, but he didn’t once he hit the NHL. He is Michael Raffl on steroids. Always in the right spot, strong defensively, and he has a much better shot. Dave Hakstol likes forward pairings and Lindblom has made his home with Nolan Patrick, and Patrick is going to be the star of that pairing, but Lindblom shouldn’t be overlooked.

Scott Laughton: B

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

Steph- I loved what I saw out of Scott Laughton this season. I had written him off as an “quad A” type player that would never get a fair shot in the NHL and he proved me wrong. I hope next season he finds his way back to center with wingers that can produce, but I am completely happy with him as a strong bottom six forward.

Jason- Laughton felt very much like a player who was on the outside looking in to start the 2017-18 season. Now I think he should be a fixture for the next few years.

Bill- Laughton played a complete NHL season, and he looked like a very good fourth liner. Maybe he should have had more of a chance to play at the 3C, but 10 goals and 10 assists in only 11:07 of ice time a night is a good starting block for the 2012 first round pick.

Craig- Considering his role and ability to mold his approach to the game, I think Laughton had a really good year.

Kurt- It felt at times as the season dragged on as though some of the shine had worn off of Laughton from the beginning of the year, in which he’d been hailed as one of the best 4Cs in hockey and had truly redeemed himself from his tough year last season. Perhaps that’s because for whatever reason the coaches started trusting him less as the season went on, bumping him down the PK rotation and giving him less time on the whole. That said, I think the “Scott Laughton, Defensive Center” experiment has largely been successful, and while I don’t think his spot in this lineup is set in stone if the team looks to upgrade at C over the summer, he should still be a fixture on this roster for the near-term future.

Jake- I was happy with Scott Laughton this year. I think he should have gotten a chance to prove himself as the 3C this year given his level of play and the struggles of Val Filppula. At the very least he should have a spot somewhere in the bottom 6 next season.

Emily- Hey, Scott Laughton surprised me this season. I wasn’t ever a hater but I never saw something in him that made me go “hmm.” I saw that this year. Go Scotty.

John- Up and down year. I feel he should have been given a bigger role.

Kelly- Laughton worked on the things the team asked him to work on and came into this season a better and more complete player. I think he suffered a lot due to his usage and could’ve been better.

Joe- Slaughts was awesome. He was a perfect bottom six center, and he was good in his limited role. Fans might be jump on him calling him a ‘bust’ because he was drafted in the first round, but look around, look at how many first round picks don’t even make the NHL. It’s the same thing with Hagg, they both have shown they’re NHL players. In my book, that’s a hit. Because the team has drafted players that are giving them a better chance of winning.

Kyle- Maybe a little too high for Scott but he solidified himself as a great bottom six center. Drove play and chipped in 20 points with 10 being goals.

Brad- I thought Laughton had a good season but based on the fact that he lost his lineup spot towards the end of the year would suggest otherwise. I don’t have a very strong opinion on his season.

Maddie- I admittedly didn’t come into the season with very high expectations for Laughton, but he proved my hesitations needless and was solid all season. Would we have liked to see some more scoring? Sure. But you’ve got to like his shot/chance suppression game, as well.

Steve- Scott Laughton looks like the Flyers’ resident serial killer. He’s a tenacious player, and just the type of guy you want anchoring the bottom six.

Mike- Laughton was solid anchoring a fourth line that mostly consisted of rotating garbage cans, so the fact that he posted solid possession numbers was a small miracle.

Travis Sanheim: B

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

Jason- Sometimes coaches are dumb. Sanheim looked pretty good for a rookie and in fact looked better than some of the vets that were staples in the lineup all season long. Hopefully he is given more minutes next season, including PP2 time because what dope wouldn’t put that kind of offensive talent on a power play unit.

Craig- He made Andrew MacDonald decent.

Jake- The handling of Sanheim this year, in my opinion, was the most egregious error of all. He was a top 4 D man for this team this season and Hakstol and the rest of the coaches either refused to see it or weren’t capable of seeing it. That’s not to say Sanheim was flawless by any means, hence the B+. He did have his fair share of defensive zone lapses and a stretch of really poor luck hurt his production, but overall, he drove play and quality scoring chances at a high rate and took his demotion to the AHL in stride. He should be a top 4D man on this team next year and hopefully Hakstol plays him as such.

John- Great underlying performance early in year, hit a bump & went to AHL and killed it. More confident guy with good play after recall.

Joe- Travis Sanheim should have been the NHL all season, and it’s a crime that he wasn’t. He was too good for the AHL, and he somehow was able to make Andrew MacDonald look like a respectable NHL defenseman. But apparently that isn’t enough for our friend Dave who would punish him if he did anything wrong.

Brad- Sanheim was the team’s 3rd-best defenseman and you won’t convince me otherwise. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Gudas and MacDonald played their best hockey this season while paired with him.

Steve- Sanheim had a rough go on the Hakky-go-round this year. He was scratched too often and spent too much time in the AHL. He didn’t quite have the season we wanted, but, he did come on late in the year and make Andrew MacDonald look like a decent NHL defenseman.

Mike- Sanheim was really good for the most part when he did crash the lineup, there were some lapses but overall very strong for a rookie defenseman.

Maddie- He had a sort of meh start to the season--not great but not bad--and then got sent down to the Phantoms. He deserved to stay up, but he was SO GOOD when they brought him back. I mean, he made Amac look good. Come on.

Kyle- Should never have been sent down. Hopefully he doesn’t get Hak’d next season.

Kelly- Sanheim was mostly fantastic when he was with the team and it’s a travesty that he wasn’t a bigger part of the team in the playoffs. He’s going to be so dang good.

Emily- I have high hopes for this kid, and this season did nothing to squash them.

Kurt- Travis Sanheim’s season is basically Robert Hagg’s season in a mirror. Strong underlying performance early was submarined by some bad on-ice goal numbers, buried in the middle of the season, then comes up late in the year and is a key part of the playoff push (until he was benched for the final two playoff games, of course). I think this team and organization as a whole is pretty well committed to Travis Sanheim in the long-term, but let’s hope that the coaches find it in them to trust him with a bit more responsibility next year.

Bill- Could have gone for more scoring, and his treatment by the coaching staff was a TRAVIS-TY (trademark), but overall he showed enough to make me believe the organization will see him much like the other Travis, who, after an up-and-down rookie year, is counted on in a bigger role in year two.

Steph- It was heartening to see Ron Hextall have enough faith in the kid to keep him with the team even as Hak scratched him for nearly a month. It gives me hope that Hextall, at least, sees what we have in Travie. He’s got the size and the speed, he will need to make strides defensively next season, but even with that, he was the third or fourth best defenseman on the team this year.

Brian Elliott: B-

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Kelly- Elliott was our most reliable goaltender this year and played well enough. Great? No. But he gave the team a chance to win most nights. Until he got hurt.

Kyle- Elliott was solid for most of the season, unfortunately his coach ran him into the ground as he does with every goalie.

Maddie- Good and solid for most of the season. Would have been better is he hadn’t been ridden into the ground (LOOKING AT YOU DAVE) and then rushed back after core muscle surgery. So it goes.

Mike- Elliott was a stable option in goal all season until he got hurt. But he’s just that, nothing special.

Emily- When he was healthy, he looked like the starter we needed from him. He clearly rushed back too quickly after his injury and looked awful in playoffs. I don’t know what we can expect from someone who was clearly born in the late 1800s.

Steve- Elliott, at times, was the Flyers’ rock. At other times, Elliott moved as if he was weighed down by a number of rocks. Another inconsistent goaltending performance from a Flyers netminder. Stop my if you’ve heard this one before.

Brad- He’ll be next year’s starter and I’m fine with that. He was good enough.

Joe- So we saw two versions of Brian Elliott this year: regular season Elliot, and playoff Elliott. In the regular season, Elliott was the Flyers #1 goalie no question, night in and night out he gave the team a chance to win, and what more could you ask for from your goalie? However playoff Elliott, well, he wasn’t good. It seemed every third, fourth or fifth shot would leak right through him. Granted, during the exit meeting Elliott said he was still dealing with some injury issues.

Kurt- Elliott was about what the Flyers could have hoped he’d be. Maybe a little bit worse, but with the caveat that he ended up playing more games early on than the team seemed to think he would. (Who would have thought that’d happen with a coach that loves riding one goalie at a time and a backup that can’t stay healthy?) He clearly wasn’t 100 percent when he came back from his core injury late in the year, so I take his ghastly performance against Pittsburgh with a grain of salt. In all, though, Elliott wasn’t at the top of the Flyers’ list of problems this year, and hopefully with some time to recover he can be a bit better next year.

John- Steady presence and team belief in him was more important than mediocre stats.

Steph- Elliott performed better than I expected this year, even though is style makes me panic. I was really pleased in his performance up until the injury, and I really can’t fault him for his performance after the injury, core muscle surgery is no joke. As many people have already mentioned, I wish his utilization had been better and that we didn’t have to helpless watch the inevitable injury coming, but he’ll be back next year and hopefully back to form.

Jake- When healthy, Elliott was mostly solid. He got off to a rough start, hit his stride toward the middle and then Hakstol ran him into the ground. He clearly came back from his abdominal surgery too early and it was evident in his play.

Bill- Decent pre-injury regular season will be over-shadowed by his playoff failure.

Jason- Brian Elliott got off to a slow start, but came around to be a steady force in net before succumbing to a late-season injury that he obviously didn’t come back healthy from.

Alex Lyon: B-

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Craig- Wasn’t too great, but wasn’t supposed to be in the league this year.

John- Did a solid job under trying circumstances. Looks like he could be a passable NHL back up.

Brad- I want Alex to be the backup next season. His first couple of starts were shaky but after that I felt that he was good enough to warrant a longer NHL look.

Mike- Lyon did a nice job when called up this season for the big club. The results were kind of hit or miss, but he was better than Mrazek and didn’t cost a third-round pick.

Kyle- Alex is a perfect boy who did the best he could considering the situation. Not to mention he just dropped the ol’ F bomb on live TV a few days ago. And yes, that does count for something.

Emily- Lyon had some really decent showings. Looked shaky a few times, but I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. He has legitimate NHL backup potential.

Bill- He definitely beat my expectations.

Jason- Nice guy, tried his best. He’s not an NHL goaltender, but I appreciate him trying and not sucking ALL the time.

Jake- Lyon did a solid job, for the most part, when called upon this year. I’m not really sure what to make of Lyon. I definitely don’t think he’s a starter, not even sure he’s a truly capable backup, but when they needed him this year he was ok and even had a few really strong games. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits into the organizational plans moving forward.

Steph- The King In The North!!!!! This guy wasn’t supposed to be the Phantoms starter, but won the job due to injury. Then Flyers goalies started dropping like flies (or doing poops on the ice, but that’s another day), and he had to log some NHL starts. I never thought Lyon would be an NHL caliber goalie, but here we are, and I think he should be in the mix for backup next season. He’ll have to put in a ton of work over the summer but I think he can do it, and he’s still young. I’m here for this.

Joe- It took Alex Lyon a few games to really get his feet under him in the NHL. Once Alex was able to establish himself he looked much more comfortable in net, and gave the Flyers a chance to win each night he played. I’d have no problem with bringing back Lyon next season, even if that role next year is as the third goalie, he could be a good mentor to Carter Hart.

Steve- The kid kept the Flyers in the playoff race in a tough situation.

Maddie- AHL goalie comes up and does fine. He wasn’t perfect, but it was nice to see him improving as he went. I am encouraged.

Kelly- I wasn’t an Alex Lyon believer but he had some bright shining moments and I think he’ll make a very good backup someday.

Kurt- I’ll admit that I had pretty low expectations for Lyon when he ended up finally getting NHL time, and while he wasn’t amazing or anything like that, he managed to exceed those expectations. I’m still somewhat skeptical that he’s anything more than a pure backup at the NHL level, but at worst, I think he’s earned himself another year with the Phantoms.

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
Nolan Patrick B B B+ C B B B+ B- B+ A- B B+ A- C+ C+
Oskar Lindblom B- B C+ B B- B C+ B+ B B- B B B C+ C
Scott Laughton B C+ B+ C B B+ B- B B B+ B B+ B+ B- C+
Travis Sanheim B+ B B+ B B B B+ B B B- B- B+ B+ B C+
Brian Elliott B- C+ B+ B- B- B B B- B+ B B- C C+ B- C
Alex Lyon B- B C+ C B+ A C+ B- C A- C+ C- B C+ B-