Mercifully, the Philadelphia Flyers’ 2021 season will come to a close later this evening. However, ahead of their contest with the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers will be handing out their team awards for the season. Here we’ll give out picks and/or predictions on who will be honored tonight.
Bobby Clarke Trophy - Team MVP
2020 winner: Sean Couturier
Brad: It’s been two years since he’s been named team MVP, but I think it’s going to go back to Claude Giroux this season. To me, he’s been their best player on the whole, and it’s a shame that he’s missing out on playoff hockey once again. He could be counted on every night, even as his team’s playoff chances drifted away.
Drew: In agreement with Brad, I also think Claude Giroux deserves to be named the team MVP. He’s put in some great performances this season and nearly willed the team into some victories along the way. There haven’t been many positive things to write about the Flyers’ 2020-21 campaign, but it is reassuring to see Giroux continue to unleash his elite talent on the league.
Kurt: Any player who is given this award for this season should throw it in the trash!!!!!
I’m kidding. I’ll take a minor upset here — give me Joel Farabee over the likes of Giroux or Couturier. I know that those two have probably been more impressive, but I think I’m taking Farabee because were it not for his development I’m not sure we’d have found anything redeeming long-term from this year. I’m sure that’s not how the voters will think, but that’s how I see it.
Maddie: Brad and Drew really nailed it, it’s Giroux for me as well.
Kelly: It is, without question, Claude Giroux. Over and over again this season he put this underperforming mess on to his bag and dragged them to an overtime or a win they had no business getting to. Let’s stop pretending he’s the problem, shall we?
Steph: You know, I love the point Kurt (sucks) made about Farabee and I think there could be an argument there for the voters. In his second season in the NHL, he really solidified his spot in the lineup and didn’t hit that sophomore slump, instead he took a big step forward. This all being said, it will be Claude Daddy and he deserves it. I find myself asking this just about every year, but what would this team be without Claude Giroux? I certainly don’t want to find out.
Kyle: It without question should go to Giroux on the sole basis of what this guy has put up with. He’s been the captain through one of the most frustrating periods in team history, and this season was the epitome of that. He seemed to be one of the few who really gave a damn this year, so thank you, Claude.
Jay: What the collective said above, Giroux has been THAT guy all season.
Eamon: It has to be Claude Giroux. By essentially every metric in the book, the captain has been an elite NHL presence the entire year, particularly with his improvements on defense. Add in the fact that he played a good chunk of his games at center and kept the team afloat in the span that Sean Couturier missed, as well as his solid (if not quite spectacular) production, and you have a recipe for the team MVP. Giroux is the only player on the roster who was given difficult minutes and challenging circumstances almost the entire year and still managed to perform consistently, and that’s why he’s a no-brainer here for me.
Thomas: I won’t beat a dead horse and repeat everything else other people said. It’s Claude Giroux.
Steve: It should be Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. Giroux has been the most reliable Flyer all season. Couturier showed us how valuable he was with his time away from the team (chess, not checkers, baby). However, I am here to be an agent of chaos and say James van Riemsdyk. Mr. Jam Riemsdyk’s resurgence was one of the key factors in the team’s early season success and quite a sight to see.
...but it should probably be Clode Jeroo, shouldn’t it?
Barry Ashbee Trophy - Best Defenseman
2020 winner: Ivan Provorov
Brad: The Ashbee is going to go to Ivan Provorov, but my pick would be Shayne Gostisbehere. After a truly terrible season, Gostisbehere bounced back and was in my eyes their most impactful blue-liner. Now, that doesn’t mean he had a great season ... maybe not even a good one ... but he had one of the better seasons among Flyers defensemen. Which, admittedly, is quite the low bar. Can I vote for Cam York?
Drew: Erik Gustaf...nah I won’t even joke here. I don’t think any particular defenseman deserves to win this award as none of them have stood out in a notable positive manner (other than Cam York in the handful of games he’s played so far). However, that being said, my nominee is Ivan Provorov, if only for how crucial he has been in big moments offensively for the Flyers. He’s proven to be a difference maker in overtime, and has improved his shot, at least from what I’ve noticed. Just please take him off the power-play. He isn’t that good offensively.
Kurt: Every single possible answer to the question of “who should win the Ashbee?” is extremely funny. All of these guys have had uneven seasons at best. But I will take ... uh ... cripes. Give me Ivan Provorov, I guess. No one’s been particularly impressive, so give me the guy who’s been asked to do the most whilst still being unimpressive.
Maddie: I’m going with Justin Braun because I’ve been the least mad at him this season, I think.
Kelly: As everyone has said, it’s going to be Provorov, but in my opinion he’s been garbage for nearly all of this season. Justin Braun and Shayne Gostisbehere are the only two guys with more “good” than “garbage” this year and I’d give it to Ghost on the back of the giant improvement he displayed this season, despite everything.
Jay: I like Maddie’s “guy I got least mad at”. That guy for me is Ghost, probably because my expectations were so low.
Steph: With only a hint of irony, I am going to say Samuel Morin. Ok, yes, he started the season as a forward. Ok, yes, he has played less than half the season. Ok, yes, he is not the best defenseman. HOWEVER, this whole defense is a mess and he is not the reason so I think that’s as successful of a season we could expect from someone who has only played 9 NHL games prior to this season. And he got his first ever NHL goal!
On a serious note, there is no good candidate here. I love the idea of giving it to Ghost after the nightmare of a season he had on a personal level, and because I really like him. I don’t think Provorov has earned it outside of eating minutes for breakfast-lunch.
Kyle: Robert Ha—I’M JOKING. For real though I think I gotta agree with Maddie and say Justin Braun. He’s been really solid for most of the year and one of the few steadying forces on this blue line. It would be extremely cool however if Ghost won it after all he’s been through the past two years.
Eamon: I’ll go with Shayne Gostisbehere here, although I feel like it’s a toss-up between him and Braun (just saying that makes me feel icky). The big difference maker between the two is the needs that they filled on the team, as well as production; Ghost had a solid scoring season and was among the best players on the team by most offensive metrics, while Braun was among the team’s best defensive players but had negligible to below replacement offensive results. Ghost being about break-even on defense this season is enough for me to name him the winner, especially considering that he’s the only regularly competent power play defenseman.
Thomas: Looking up and down the blue line, I honestly can’t pick. It’s been a season to forget for any Flyers defenseman, but maybe because of the hills and valleys, it’s Shayne Gostisbehere? Coming into the season, no one expected him to be anything and half of us were assuming a trade would be made to give some cap space. Hell, he went through waivers and is now a capable top-four defenseman (for this team). One of the rare feel-good stories.
Steve: The clear answer is no one, but let’s give it to future Seattle Kraken captain, Shayne Gostisbehere. The man certainly knows how to shooooooooooot.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy - Most Improved
2020 winner: Scott Laughton
Brad: It’s tough to argue against Joel Farabee being the most improved Flyer this season, so I won’t; it’s him.
Drew: Yeah it has to be Farabee. With the right minutes in the top six (I’m looking at you Alain) and consistent line-mates (ALAIN) Farabee is going to be a problem for other teams in the future.
Kurt: While I do kind of wonder if “second-year player who took a big step forward between his age-20 and age-21 seasons” really fits the spirit of the “most improved” award (isn’t this just what young players are supposed to do?), I don’t see how this doesn’t go to Joel Farabee.
Maddie: Gimme Farabee here. He definitely hasn’t been without his cold streaks, but he’s overall just been a real revelation this year.
Kelly: The Beez takes this easily.
Jay: Echo Chamber commence ... JOELLLLL
Kyle: Young Beezer and it’s really not close. I love this kid so much and he’s been one of the few reasons to watch games this season.
Steph: Ugh, god, you guys are really going to make me do this again aren’t you. Samuel Morin started the season as a forward! Also, Oskar Lindblom missed most of last season with cancer. Yes Frisbee took a big step forward in his development but I don’t think that was necessarily unexpected? I don’t know, I hate this award.
Eamon: In trying to mix things up a little bit, I’m going to define this as the player who showed the most progress in the way they read and anticipated the game, rather than the player who stepped up their production. For me, Farabee was mostly the same guy we saw last year, but with that little bit of extra strength and speed needed to win puck battles and have increased space to shoot. While he clearly had the biggest jump in tangible results and is the shoo-in for this award, I’d say Justin Braun should also be under consideration. Last season he was solid, but this year he moved up into top four minutes and didn’t handle them all that poorly, considering who he was surrounded by. I noticed him making better, more consistent decisions with outlet passes all year, and I think he’s worthy of recognition too.
Thomas: Joel. Farabee.
Steve: OH GOD YES THE BEES!
Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award - Class Guy
2020 winner: Scott Laughton
Brad: I’m going to go with Brian Elliott here. This could be Elliott’s final season with the Flyers, he just completed his 500th game in the NHL, and just seems like a good dude. As a potential send-off, Elliott is my choice.
Drew: I’ll pick James van Riemsdyk. Whenever there’s a league wide discussion to be had about anything, it’s more often than not that van Riemsdyk is representing the Flyers in some capacity, and he’s usually at the forefront of the Flyers’ inclusion efforts with Hockey is for Everyone. He also seems like a genuinely nice person to be around, so he has my vote.
Kurt: This is the “guy who’s nice to the media” award, right? As voted on by the media? Yeah, in that case, give me Brian Elliott. Feels like that dude has been sent up to the media after so many devastating losses this year, and the way they were talking to him after his 500th game the other day speaks to them thinking highly of him.
Maddie: Elliott does feel right here. He’s done all of the “being nice to the media” jazz that, like Kurt said, really seems to be what this award is all about. And I do like the idea of giving him this nod as a send off, if that sendoff is coming.
Kelly: I wasn’t sure about this one, but reading all of these extremely good points above, it’s hard to argue with giving it to BAMF. He did good here. Nice to send him off on a good note.
Jay: I’ll piggyback with Drew here and go JVR. He was visible with the team’s promotions whether it was Vaccinations or Pride Night. Vocal guy who had a very good season and felt like a team player in a tough, tough season.
Kyle: JVR and Brian are definitely the two best options, so if I had to be different, I’d say Ghost. He took being sent down as well as he could with being benched last year, and really put together a solid season.
Steph: My first thought was JVR, this just feels like a JVR award. But I could also see BAMF winning, or Oskar, or Carter Hart. There are a lot of good boys who play nice with the media, I feel like they’re really going to try to give Oskar a lot of awards, I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling in my gut.
Eamon: I’d probably give this one to one of Elliott, Giroux, or JVR. Not much else to say, they just seem like good dudes who have tried their hardest to be nice to the media.
Thomas: Brian Elliott seems like the lay-up here. Big veteran dude that just kind of just have to feel sorry for.
Steve: I am torn between Moose and JvR, but am leaning JvR here.
Gene Hart Memorial Award - Most Heart
2020 winner: Kevin Hayes
Drew: I’ll circle back to what I said for the team MVP conversation and pick Claude Giroux. At times, he’s been one of the only Flyers with heart, and he doesn’t just display with fired up body language and words, but with action, as he’s put the team on his back on multiple occasions.
Kurt: I will also take Claude Giroux here. Whatever you think of him as a leader, the guys on the team have stated out loud every chance they’ve had that he’s an inspiration to them, and he’s taken over a number of games this year to push the team to wins or standings points they absolutely couldn’t have got without him.
Brad: I think there are a handful of good candidates for this one, Giroux being one of them, but I’ll go with Oskar Lindblom here. It’s his first regular-season after beating Ewing's sarcoma and he certainly demonstrated heart and his dedication to hockey this season. Honorable mentions go to Samuel Morin, as well as Giroux, who would also be a great choice for all of the reasons listed above.
Maddie: No real breakdown to offer here, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s Oskar Lindblom for me.
Kelly: I would personally give it to Claude Giroux, but Lindblom seems like the play here. And for very good reason, too.
Jay: We had no idea if Oskar would even be playing this season or not. His recovery has been magnificent and he is an easy pick for me.
Kyle: #OskarStrong, all that needs to be said, really.
Steph: Yup, no brainer, it’s going to be Oskar. And not just because they’re going to try to give him a lot of awards, but because he has really surpassed all of the odds and has done so with a smile on his face. This guy is absolutely incredible and the strength and HEART he showed through his entire ordeal make him a perfect candidate for this award.
Eamon: C’mon, it’s gotta be Oskar Lindblom, right? After coming back from having cancer, Lindblom had an up and down year but managed to be a decently effective player with all things considered. He’s been through a whole lot and I’m sure the team will want to recognize him.
Thomas: Again, no point trying to say the same words in a different way. Oskar Lindblom.
Steve: OSKIE BOY!
Toyota Cup - Star of the Game Points
2020 winner: Travis Konecny
Brad: This is more of a guessing game than an opinion, and with that being said I’m going to go with Claude Giroux. As previously said, he had a lot of those “put the team your back” games this year, and that probably led to a good amount of star selections for the captain.
Drew: I have no idea who this would be but I’ll guess Sean Couturier.
Kurt: I’m gonna go off the board here and guess JVR. He had a ton of games early in the year where he was scoring and the Flyers were winning, and that seems to get guys into the Three Stars rankings.
Maddie: Oh god this one. Giroux??? I guess??? Sure.
Kelly: uh... let’s get weird and say Joel Beezy. I don’t think it is out of the realm!
Kyle: I feel like Couturier has been consistent enough to get this, so sure, why not.
Steph: I feel like Beez has a really good shot at winning here, I’m with Kelly.
Eamon: Gotta be Nate Prosser, if we’re being honest. He scored a goal that one time, so he’s probably on here.
Thomas: Mario Party ass award. Probably Claude?
Steve: The Toyota Cup goes to Claude Giroux, but the 1975 Gremlin Cup goes to Sam Morin for bringing that big hit energy.