Each year the Flyers hand out end-of-season awards for various accomplishments ranging from most valuable player to most improved and even the classiest guy. While we’d choose to give out superlatives more in the form of a most likely to drop pass on a breakaway, most likely to give up goals on three or more consecutive shots, or even least valuable player.
Thankfully, this is our site and we can do whatever the hell we want. Actual Flyers award predictions up top followed by the reverse in those same categories at the bottom.
Bobby Clarke — Trophy Team MVP (2020-21 winner: Sean Couturier)
Mike: I feel like it’s lazy to go with Sean Couturier here, so I’ll go a little off the board here and go with newcomer Cam Atkinson. The former Blue Jacket is going to log a bunch of time around Couturier and Claude Giroux this season, and should easily be able to discover his 30-goal touch in route to big production. Not only that, but his tenacity and attitude should help shift the Flyers’ on-ice culture in a more positive light this season as well.
Drew: This is perhaps a bold prediction, but I am going with Carter Hart. The young goaltender did not have a great 2020-21 season, and for the Flyers to succeed, they will need a bounce back season from Hart. We know he is capable of backstopping this team, and when he is hot, he’s one of the best goaltenders in the entire NHL from a technical perspective.
Kyle: To continue the somewhat off-the-board picks, this will be the Year of the Beez. Joel Farabee lead the team in goals last season, and he’s looked impressive in preseason action. He seems primed for a big year and he’s only going to continue to get more and more ice time, especially on the power play. His scoring ability combined with his solid defensive skills and propensity to drop the mitts every now and then combine for a prototypical Flyers player.
Kelly: I’ve decided to go full-crazy with these predictions so I’m going to say Kevin Hayes comes back from injury and goofballs this team all the way to the goddang Final. With all his buds. A King with his court, if you will.
Maddie: These are all great picks and I could very easily agree with any of them. But I want to be Unique and Original, so I’m going to go with Ryan Ellis. He’s going to fix Ivan Provorov and he’ll be the MVP for that.
Kurt: Give me the chalk pick, Sean Couturier. You can use chalk to write stuff, people forget that. Also, Sean Couturier is the best player on the Flyers, people forget that too.
Barry Ashbee Trophy — Best Defenseman (2020-21 winner: Ivan Provorov)
Mike: Another newcomer here as Ryan Ellis will take home this award and dethrone Provy. Ellis is a true tactician on the blue line and will form a strong top pairing with Provorov as the Flyers’ best singular defensive pair since the days of Chris Pronger and (yes) Matt Carle.
Drew: I am in agreement with Mike. Ryan Ellis is the most talented player in this Flyers’ defense, and I think he will easily take control on the blue line, and therefore win this award.
Kyle: Part of me wants to take Rasmus Ristolainen to rile everyone up, but I gotta agree with Mike and Drew here and pick Ellis. Even in preseason he’s shown to be as advertised, and I have zero reason to doubt he won’t continue it in the regular season.
Kelly: Mike stole my idea, which is rude, but yeah. Ryan Ellis will far and away be the best defenseman on this team.
Maddie: I picked Ellis for the last one and I’m picking Ellis again. Ryan Ellis, thx.
Kurt: Part of me could totally see Risto getting a ton of media attention for just not being actively terrible and he could relive Andrej Meszaros’ Ashbee Trophy from 2011 (a season in which the Flyers had Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Matt Carle, and Braydon Coburn playing regular minutes) on a team with others who deserve it more, but I think they’re gonna pick someone good, and I don’t think it’ll go to Provorov for the third year in a row. Let’s go with Ellis.
Yanick Dupre Memorial — Class Guy (2020-21 winner: James van Riemsdyk)
Mike: This is the easiest one yet — Keith Yandle. He’s very likely going to set the NHL ironman streak and says “thank you” when goalies stop the puck behind the net for him. No-brainer here.
Drew: It will either be given to Keith Yandle or Cam Atkinson, and I’ll make the case for the latter. Atkinson seems like such a genuine and nice person, and it’s simply impossible to dislike him. His impact on the Flyers’ locker room culture has already been felt, so much so that we wrote an article on it.
Kyle: Has to be Yandle. I agree with Drew that Atkinson will 100% be the top other option, but it just seems too obvious for it to be Yandle. Honestly though, I wouldn’t be surprised if JVR were to take the award again, because he’s truly a fantastic human being.
Kelly: Going Cam here. He got the big PR push when he got here, he is absolutely beloved in Columbus, and he already seems intent on making Flyers fans love him just as much as Beej fans do. His vibe is like... premium ice cream with hot fudge and hand-whipped cream. You can’t not pick him for this award.
Maddie: Atkinson and Yandle both seem like absolute delights and I already want to break this trophy up Mean Girls style and give it to the both of them.
Kurt: Gonna go off the board on this one and take another new guy ... Rasmus Ristolainen. Whatever you may say about him on the ice, it seems like he’s a good dude who gives good answers to the media, which is like 90% of this award, and if he doesn’t play quite well enough to win an award for his play on the ice (/gestures to my answer in the Ashbee section) I could see the voters giving him this.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial — Most Improved (2020-21 winner: Joel Farabee)
Mike: This is a tougher one as the Flyers have filled their roster with more veterans than younger players who fit the category. That said, why not Carter Hart? He had a very bad season a year ago and only had 60+ NHL games to his belt prior — plenty of case to be made he still fits in the category due to his youth and general lack of games played.
Drew: You know who I think takes a massive step forward this coming season? Travis Sanheim. The additions on defense will alleviate the pressure that Sanheim has been saddled with in the past, and I think we could see him come out of his shell a bit. This being said, he is being paired with Rasmus Ristolainen, who is far from perfect. But, I still believe!
Kyle: It was not really a shock last season when Oskar Lindblom struggled, given all the time he had missed, and all he had been through. This season though? Oskar returning to form would not be surprising in the slightest. He looks up to speed again, and the last time he was, he was among the team leaders in points. Not necessarily expecting that specifically, but maybe a notch below. (Sleeper pick: Nicolas Aube-Kubel)
Kelly: On a team with a whole bunch of guys that need to improve, I’m gonna go with Travis Konecny. We learned the other day that the Flyers told him he was nearly traded and I’m thinking that lit a fire under him. If I’m right, he’ll be even better this year than he was the year he lead the team in points.
Maddie: I am... very much hoping that it’s gonna be Hart that takes this one. The bar for improving on last season is pretty low, so he has that going for him already, and he’s looked good in the preseason, to boot. He’s poised to bounce back in a big way, and man do they ever need it.
Kurt: On the one hand, no shortage of potential choices here. On the other hand, if Oskar Lindblom gets back to something even close to the level he was playing at in the early part of the 2019-20 season before his diagnosis, I have a hard time believing that locker room isn’t going to give it to him.
Toyota Cup — Game Star Selections (2020-21 winner: Claude Giroux)
Mike: Couturier has led the Flyers in game-winning goals in two of the past three seasons. Those are an easy way to rack up Toyota Cup selections, and there’s no reason to think that the Flyers’ best player won’t again be a difference maker with the game on the line.
Drew: I concur with Mike. Sean Couturier is the Flyers’ best overall player and he should be the one carrying the team in moments where he is needed.
Kyle: Just to be contrarian, I’ll go Farabee again here. With that said, Couturier is the Flyers’ best overall player and if he doesn’t win this I’ll be a bit surprised.
Kelly: Let’s get wild and go Carter Hart. So many game-breaking performances that he racks up the stars.
Maddie: I think Couturier is a great pick here, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Giroux pick this one up again.
Kurt: Almost went with Hart here, but it’s hard to win this particular award when you only play like two-thirds of the team’s games (at most). In which case this pretty much becomes a “who has the most points” award, which is probably going to be Sean Couturier.
Gene Hart Award — Work Ethic & Dedication (2020-21 winner: Sean Couturier)
Mike: Oskar Lindblom got after it this offseason after finally being able to work out enough to get his body back to his pre-diagnosis shape. His work ethic and determination on and off the ice continues to be both remarkable and a benchmark at the same time.
Drew: Oskar Lindblom. His story continues to be an inspiration league wide, and nobody is more deserving of such an award than he is.
Kyle: Has to be Oskar, just has to be.
Kelly: Gotta go with the group here.
Maddie: Oskar Lindblom, baby.
Kurt: What they said.
Philippe Myers Trophy — Team Least Valuable Player
Mike: I feel like it’s either going to be boom or bust for Rasmus Ristolainen this year. It’s either gonna work or it’s gonna be a disaster — given his historical data set...thinking this is the result unfortunately.
Drew: Martin Jones. He just looked awful in net.
Kyle: I don’t even mind him that much compared to others, but realistically it probably will be Nate Thompson.
Kelly: I’m hoping hard for that redemption project to pan out, but I’m with Drew. Martin Jones is going to make us suffer.
Maddie: Gonna go with Patrick Brown here. Sorry new guy.
Kurt: Christ, I did not open this up expecting to see this many former Flyers catching strays like this. Uh. Yeah, I’m not optimistic about Martin Jones. Which is fine, because if Carter Hart isn’t good none of this is going to matter anyways, but that’s the pick.
Nate Prosser Trophy — Worst Defenseman
Mike: Not going to dunk all over Ristolainen here because there’s a very good chance that Justin Braun — who wasn’t good last year — is cooked and will be even more dragged down by the probably bad at even strength Yandle.
Drew: I concur and will also vote for Justin Braun. He’s the weakest link on the blue line this year.
Kyle: Although I don’t think he’ll be bad this season, gonna agree on Braun.
Kelly: ...Rasmus. <runs away>
Maddie: Gotta go with Kelly here. I’d love to be wrong, but this one feels the most likely at this point.
Kurt: I, too, will take the Tall Guy.
Mark Friedman Memorial — Worst Guy
Mike: I’m sure he’s a fine guy, but I feel like Martin Jones is going to be insanely unlikeable as a result of his on-ice play. Is that fair? Probably not.
Drew: If Rasmus Ristolainen’s advanced statistical profile continues to trend similarly to his previous seasons in Philadelphia, he’ll quickly become disliked. I have some level of faith he can turn a new leaf, but if not, oh boy.
Kyle: No one can match how much of an absolute jackass Mark Friedman turned out to be. Have fun in Pittsburgh, Mark, you’re only playing because their entire roster keeps dying.
Kelly: Hmm... whomst will I end up hating this season... uuuhhh let’s go with NAK. Screw that guy.
Maddie: The whole vibe of this team sure does feel decidedly more likable, but because this is Philly, goalies are cursed, and there’s ire to be found everywhere, Jones feels like the best answer here.
Kurt: It’s still Mark Friedman. How lit do you think the Flyers’ team text chain was during that moment in the offseason when it looked like the Pens were protecting him in expansion only for it to shortly thereafter be revealed that he wasn’t? They can mail him the trophy.
Erik Gustafsson Memorial — Least Improved
Mike: Again, mostly a production of a more veteran roster, but we can’t see Nate Thompson improving in any capacity this season. Frankly, he should be supplanted by other younger and more effective options sooner rather than later.
Drew: Once again, it’s Martin Jones. I don’t see a scenario in which he gets any better.
Kyle: Even if Jones does slightly improve, I can’t see his save percentage being that much higher than .900. So for me, it’s Jones.
Kelly: I’m going to be hilariously funny and say Sean Couturier. He will not improve at all. He’s already Elite.
Maddie: Yeah, it’s gonna be Thompson for me as well. He wasn’t stellar with the Flyers this first time around, and I’m not really banking on things getting much better here.
Kurt: I’m going to go with an unironic glass-half-empty answer here and say that I am worried about James van Riemsdyk, who is 32 and (for as good as parts of his season were) showed some underlying potential signs of decline here, taking a step back that could become a problem. Sure hope I am wrong, because this team would be really fun if he’s doing what he did again on the third line.
Futile Cup — Least Game Star Selections
Mike: If Martin Jones registers even one selection throughout the season I am walking to California and paddling a row boat to Guam.
Drew: Patrick Brown. He just isn’t an impact player.
Kyle: Nate Thompson again, he is fun on mic’d up though.
Kelly: Yes if I had to bet, I’d bet many dollars that Nate Thompson doesn’t earn a single star this year. This isn’t a knock! He’s just not That Guy.
Maddie: ...Sorry Nate Thompson.
Kurt: Y’all are wildin’. It’s way more likely Nate Thompson (or, really, any forward) accidentally scores a goal and sneaks his way into the Three Stars than it is that Justin Braun does.
Nolan Patrick Memorial Award — Work Ethic & Dedication
Mike: Really can’t see anyone on this team mailing it in — GM Chuck Fletcher worked hard to rid the Flyers of any real or perceived negative energy this offseason.
Drew: I agree with Mike. The culture change in this organization is palpable, in a good way. There’s an energy around the team this year, and I’m all here for it.
Kyle: No one could work as little as Nolan Patrick did, it’s physically impossible.
Kelly: Can I take a second and acknowledge how hilarious these Anti-Awards are? Mike Dusak, folks. Anyway, Kyle is right, no one could ever care less than Nolan Patrick. And Mike is also right — this is not a team that will mail it in this season. Like Flyers fans watching their team pick #2 overall, there are no winners here.
Maddie: Let’s talk in January, I might be giving this one to myself by then.
Kurt: Michel Therrien. (I would HATE to feel super-owned here if Therrien comes up with some awesome power play scheme. Would just be devastated.)
Those are our picks — but what say you, gentle reader? Drop your picks in the comments below.