Two weeks ago we asked you to submit ratings for each player that appeared in at least 10 games this season, and now it’s time to share our findings. We’ve taken the comments you submitted, cleaned them up a bit if necessary, and included the ones that we found the most interesting or informative.
I wasn’t sure how many responses we’d get but my expectations were exceeded with just under 600 responses in total and over 100 comments on each player, so thank you for participating!
With that out of the way, let’s begin. We’re going to work our way up the roster from the worst rating to the best, so this will be the least fun of the groupings. Or the most fun if you’re into revisiting bad times.
23. Jori Lehtera
Community Rating: 0.75
Contributor Rating: 0.33
Starting off strong with a rating below one. Lehtera appeared in 27 games this season and scored a goal. And, to put it bluntly, not a lot of good things happened when he was on the ice. Expectations were low heading into the season and by the looks of it he didn’t even hit those.
“Lehtera is what you do NOT want an aging veteran to be — a complete drag on his team.”
“Not really much to say. Not particularly talented at this point, super slow, and dreadful to watch. It looks like he is skating with cinder blocks in pants at all times”
“Lehtera’s time in Orange and Black has been the most painful of any player, ever. More painful than Alexei Zhitnik, Vinny Lecavalier, who I hoped would rediscover his touch, Zherdev, who tarnished Jake’s number before he ever had it, and even Cechmanek, because at least he was interesting. Farewell to the Finn who can only score with his eyes closed.”
“He’s been eating up roster space for the last two years.”
If you think these were harsh you should see the comments that weren't used.
To the person who was curious to see if the amount of jokes about his ... legal issue ... would surpass his total number of points: it was close! He has 111 career NHL points and there were exactly 92 of those comments. So there’s that.
The news of him signing with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL officially marks the end of the Lehtera era in Philadelphia.
22. Corban Knight
Community Rating: 2.55
Contributor Rating: 2.11
After two full seasons with the Phantoms, Knight made the Flyers out of camp last year. However a shoulder injury would cause him to miss the majority of the season and he would play just 23 games with the Flyers.
There weren’t a ton of thoughts about Knight’s season, so we wound up combining a few of the shorter ones into one long comment. Those will have an average rating attached to them rather than a single person’s rating.
“Just another guy. Maximum effort, lacks production.”
“Injury bug, but looked okay when in the lineup. PK looked a little better with Knight on it, but I guess it couldn’t have been worse than it was early in the season.”
“Tough break (literally) with his injury this year ... best of luck to him in the KHL. Great AHL player, but not an NHL player from the brief time he played after the injury.”
“Met my expectations. My expectations were very low. Unfortunately, I think he personifies our lack of depth.”
Like Lehtera, he too is off to the KHL.
21. Andrew MacDonald
Community Rating: 2.71
Contributor Rating: 2.56
As we move towards year six of MacDonald’s six year contract the word “buyout” is coming up now more than ever. In a reduced role he was generally fine, but just fine isn’t going to cut it moving forward.
“It’s time to move on. AMac has been beaten up a lot around here, but he has provided some consistency at times — the problem is that he has not been consistently consistent and has tendency to make horrible turnovers in his own defensive zone.”
Rating: No Rating
“Please buy him out before he veterans his way back into an every day role.”
Firstly, I applaud the use of “veterans” as a verb. But anyway, this is, admittedly, a big fear of my own heading into next season. The logic for keeping him on the roster this season is sound. If you bring him back for the 2019-20 season and have him serve as the team’s seventh defenseman, or play with the Phantoms in the AHL, you won’t have to deal with any dead cap space. But the problem under both scenarios is that he’s just one call-up, or one line change, away from becoming a regular again.
If they’d choose to buyout the remaining year of MacDonald’s contract they’d save $3,833,333 in cap space this season, and incur a cap penalty of only $1,916,667 in 2020-21.
“Got a 4 from me because I thought he played OK. Less abysmal, anyway. He at least showed that he is capable of handling a much lesser role. And, it’s not really his fault the Flyers gave him $5M a year.”
“When used as a bottom pair defenseman he’s OK. The problem is with coaches who think he’s good and play him like a top-four defenseman. And his contract, thanks Homer.”
20. Justin Bailey
Community Rating: 2.86
Contributor Rating: 2.44
Bailey was acquired in a trade back in mid-January and wound up just barely reaching the ten game cutoff to be included in the form. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that he played more than 11 games for the Flyers. Maybe it was all of the transactions that he was a part of ...
“Felt bad for the guy bouncing up and down so often. He had great effort and surprising speed. Wouldn’t feel bad having him on the 4th line or as the 13th forward at all.”
“I think that, in the time it has taken me to write this comment, the Flyers have sent him down and called him up three times.”
While this cannot be confirmed, it sure does feel correct.
“Despite his lack of production, I am a relative fan. I like when he dumps pucks and forechecks relentlessly. It will likely be all he really brings here but it can, and does, lead to turnovers. And turnovers often end up in the net so I’m all about his potential comparatively to the alternatives we currently employ. Maybe he becomes an agitator type who can back it up which can be useful.”
“A decent bottom-sixer with the ability to chip in offensively, but he seems like more of a tweener than a legit full time bottom-sixer.”
If he gets another shot with the Flyers next season it’ll be his opportunity to show just that — that he’s more than a tweener. He drove play at the AHL level quite well, has NHL speed, and is still young.
19. Phil Varone
Community Rating: 3.13
Contributor Rating: 1.89
Years from now if you happen to be playing obscure Flyers trivia with somebody, ask them to name the first player that Chuck Fletcher re-called to the NHL once he took over as Flyers General Manager. If they say Varone, you know that they have a detailed memory of the Flyers’ 2018-19 season. And isn’t that what we all want? To never forget it? No? Okay.
Interestingly enough, our rating here is noticeably lower than the community. The 1.24 difference is actually the second largest discrepancy of the data sample. You all were a bit kinder towards his season on average.
“I don’t see enough in terms of potential to keep giving him NHL minutes. He skates well enough to keep up but his decision making with and without the puck has to improve dramatically which I don’t see happening. He’s a good example of how hard it is to make the jump to the NHL from the AHL where he played very well. Emergency call up until further notice.”
“Probably would’ve benefited the whole organization if he played on the Phantoms all year. Could’ve given the Phantoms another run at the Calder Cup. Tough to be a goal scorer in the AHL and have to come up and play around eight minutes a night.”
You can think about this a few ways. On one hand, it’s clear that losing Varone hurt the Phantoms. Do they make the playoffs if he’s on the team all season? Maybe, maybe not. They certainly would’ve been better and he would’ve helped the young forwards. On the other hand, if they had called someone up who hadn’t been playing as well as Varone was, what type of message does that send to the rest of the team? If you want every member of your organization to feel that they have an opportunity to play their way to the NHL, ignoring the AHL’s reigning MVP who started the season with 28 points in 22 games doesn’t exactly send that message.
“Please, no more Varone on this team. Even though I felt he did about as well as could be expected, he just isn’t good enough. And, at 28, he’s not going to improve any. I will consider it a failure if he. or someone like him, is on this team next year.”
“Varone is a great faceoff guy, but beyond that he doesn’t provide much help. He will be battling alongside incoming rookies for a spot on the 19-20 roster”
That concludes day one of our Community Player Ratings. We have a full week of ratings to get through, and since this is the first time that we’re doing this kind of series we want to open things up to you. Do you like the format? If not, what would you change about it? We’re game to experiment with this now so that we can settle into a setup for any future iterations.