Grading the Flyers at their break; like the team, many mediocre marks
Grading the Flyers at their break. Their grades reflect their 12-12-5 start.
The Flyers were at hockey .500 — a 12-12-5 record — as the league paused for the holiday/COVID break. Predictably, a 10-game losing streak has helped put them toward the bottom in most statistical categories, but they showed a glimpse of hope by getting points in their last five games.
For the Flyers to make marked improvement over the final 53 games, they need to get better in a lot of categories. They next play on Wednesday in Seattle.
Here’s a look at how they ranked at the pause:
Rank: 25th in goals per game (2.66); 16th in shots per game (31.5); 26th on PP (15.9%).
Claude Giroux, who has 11 goals and is on pace for a 31, which would be the second-best figure of his distinguished career, has shown no signs of aging. He leads the team with 25 points, but is minus-6.
Cam Atkinson has a team-high 12 goals (on pace for 34) and leads the team in shots (85) and with a plus-12 rating. The only drawback: He had a 16-game stretch in which he had just one goal and has been very streaky.
Joel Farabee, who missed seven games because of injuries, has eight goals and 11 points in just 22 games. He has a ridiculously high 22.2% shooting rate.
Scott Laughton (six goals, nine points, minus-5) has never been outworked, and he leads Flyers forwards with 61 hits, which is second on the team.
Derick Brassard, limited by a hip injury, has four goals, 11 points, and a plus-7 rating in 18 games. He has proved to be a good free-agent signing when healthy.
» READ MORE: Flyers ‘hopeful’ to get Derick Brassard back after NHL pause; Carter Hart rebuilding ‘energy level’ after non-COVID illness
Sean Couturier (six goals, 17 points, minus-6) has been slowed by injuries, and he is now on the COVID protocol list. Couturier has done great work on the team’s improved penalty kill. Offensively, his effort has been there but not the results.
Max Willman (two goals in 12 games), a late bloomer, was just starting to establish himself before going on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Travis Konecny has five goals and is on a pace for just 14. It’s not for a lack of effort because he is second on the team with 82 shots. He has contributed 12 assists — seven in the seven games since Mike Yeo was named the interim coach — and has a minus-8 rating.
Patrick Brown (one goal, four points in 14 games) has chipped in with some solid play and has been a good faceoff man on the fourth line.
Zack MacEwen’s numbers aren’t good — one goal, two points, minus-8 rating in 27 games — but he has supplied some much-needed physicality. He is third on the team with 57 hits despite averaging just 9:33 per game.
James van Riemsdyk was quiet for most of the season, but has thrived under Yeo (five points, including three goals, in his seven games). Overall, he has only 11 points (five goals, six assists) and a minus-11 rating.
Nate Thompson (one goal, minus-8 in 19 games), who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, averaged the most minutes among Flyers forwards on the penalty kill and contributed to the improvement.
Oskar Lindblom has just six points (three goals, three assists and a minus-7 rating), but the good news is that he has started to look like his old self since Yeo took over (five points, including three goals), and his grade could climb considerably.
Kevin Hayes hasn’t yet regained his form after returning from abdominal surgery, and he then was put in COVID-19 protocol. He has played in just 11 games and has six points (two goals, four assists) and a minus-6 rating.
Morgan Frost has been hindered by injuries and COVID and has played just 10 games (one goal, three assists, plus-1) after a call-up from the AHL’s Phantoms.
Jackson Cates has one goal over two games, and Connor Bunnaman had no points in four appearances.
Defense and Goaltending
Rank: 22nd in goals-against average (3.17); 31st in shots against (34.6 per game); 11th on PK (81.5%).
Carter Hart is back to his old self and has been much better than his 7-8-4 record. The 23-year-old goaltender has been very good, except for a tough four-game in which he allowed a combined 18 goals. Overall, he has a 2.74 GAA and .918 save percentage, a huge improvement over last season’s disaster (3.67, .877).
Travis Sanheim, like many of his teammates, has started to hit his stride under Yeo (six points in seven games). He leads the team’s defensemen with a plus-4 rating, and has chipped in with nine points (two goals, seven assists).
Justin Braun has played on the top pairing for most of the season because of Ryan Ellis’s injury, and he has done an admirable job. He leads the Flyers with 64 blocked shots. He has provided steady play (nine points, plus-1), but is more effective in a lesser role.
Ivan Provorov (11 points, minus-1) has had good and bad moments and has more to give. Provorov has blocked 61 shots (second on team) and has averaged a team-high 24:23 per game.
Rasmus Ristolainen (seven points, minus-9), like Provorov, has been up and down. He gets props for being the Flyers’ most physical player (89 hits) and for his 48 blocked shots.
Goalie Martin Jones has dipped after a hot start. Overall, he is 5-4-1 with a 3.33 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
Nick Seeler (0 points, minus-5), playing because of Ellis’s injury, gave the Flyers some decent games and some physical play before being replaced by Kevin Connauton.
Keith Yandle, who needs 14 more games to play the most consecutive games (965) in NHL history, has not been effective on the power play and has struggled mightily on defense. He has 10 assists and a team-worst minus-14 rating.
Ryan Ellis played very well in his four games (one goal, four assists, 22:48 per game) but he has missed 25 games with an undisclosed injury. He was close to returning before being placed on the COVID protocol list Sunday.
Kevin Connauton has a plus-3 rating and had been steady in five games since the Flyers claimed him off waivers from the Florida Panthers. The Flyers are 4-0-1 with him in the lineup.
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