The Stanley Cup playoffs have started. The Flyers are absent. Then again, they were pretty much absent over the last two-plus months of the regular season as they fell out of contention with a thud.
From the start of March until the end of the season, they won just 14 of their last 38 games (14-19-5), and they finished in sixth place in the East Division.
This is a team that had high expectations entering the season but didn’t come close to matching them.
Coronavirus infections, the lack of offseason training facilities for Canadian players, and the scarcity of in-season practices affected the Flyers. But they can’t be used as an excuse. The Flyers were far from the only team that had those obstacles.
In any event, here are the grades for the Flyers regulars, their coaches, and general manager for a shortened season that will not be remembered fondly.
The skaters’ stats prorated over 82 games are included, giving the 56-game totals more clarity.
Sean Couturier: 18 goals and 41 points = 26 goals and 60 points over 82 games.
He missed 11 games because of injuries, so his totals would be significantly higher. Couturier was the team’s most consistent player, never going more than three games without a point and leading the Flyers with four game-winning goals. Grade: B.
Joel Farabee: 20 goals and 38 points = 29 goals and 56 points over 82 games.
An aggressive player who goes to the net hard, Farabee had a breakthrough year as a sophomore, although he suffered through a one-goal-in-19-games drought late in the season. He led the team with a 16.4 shooting percentage and looks like a future cornerstone. Grade B.
Claude Giroux: 16 goals and 43 points = 23 goals and 63 points over 82 games.
Except for an eight-game stretch that started April 8, he had a fairly consistent season and, at 33, didn’t show signs of slowing down. He was among the NHL leaders in faceoff percentage. But as captain, he bears more responsibility for the team’s collapse than his teammates. Grade B.
James van Riemsdyk: 17 goals and 43 points = 25 goals and 63 points over 82 games.
His numbers look fine, but he went through a 17-game stretch without a goal that severely damaged the Flyers’ playoff hopes. Grade: B-minus.
Jake Voracek: 9 goals and 43 points = 13 goals and 63 points over 82 games.
His goals and defense were down, but he at least was one of the few point producers during the team’s March collapse. Grade: C-plus.
Scott Laughton: 9 goals and 20 points = 13 goals and 29 points over 82 games.
Laughton did a lot of little things well and was always relentless, but a 25-game drought without a goal came just when the Flyers needed him the most. He finished with a team-best plus-13 rating and led the Flyers with 141 hits. Grade: C-minus.
Travis Konecny: 11 goals and 34 points = 16 goals and 50 points over 82 games.
He had 24 goals in each of his previous three seasons and didn’t seem like his pestering self. Konecny had just two goals over a 25-game stretch that helped knock the Flyers out of the playoffs. Grade: D-plus.
Oskar Lindblom: 8 goals and 14 points = 12 goals and 21 points over 82 games.
The soft-spoken left winger made a heroic comeback. He deserves a pass after returning from a grueling battle with a rare bone cancer and not having a long offseason to get ready. Should be much improved after a longer break. Grade: D-plus.
Kevin Hayes: 12 goals and 31 points = 18 goals and 45 points over 82 games.
The 29-year-old center dropped in almost every facet of his game after a terrific first season with the Flyers. Playing through a core-muscle injury that will require surgery, he had two goals in a 27-game stretch toward the end of the season. Grade: D-plus.
Nic Aube-Kubel: 3 goals and 12 points = 4 goals and 18 points over 82 games.
His forechecking wasn’t as effective as last year, and his penalties were head-scratching. Aube-Kubel, who was second on the team with 120 hits, will have to battle hard for a spot in camp in September. Grade: D.
Nolan Patrick: 4 goals and 9 points = 6 goals and 13 points over 82 games.
The Flyers said he was healthy after missing a year because of migraines, but he lost his aggressiveness and seemed lost on the ice. His minus-30 rating was second-worst in the NHL. The coming season looms large for him regardless of whether he returns to Philly. Grade: D-minus.
Shayne Gostisbehere: 9 goals and 20 points = 13 goals and 29 points over 82 games.
He finished with a minus-2 rating, and his defense was far from perfect. But his offense returned to a high level, and he exceeded expectations after an injury-plagued 2019-20 season. “Ghost” finished tied for seventh in goals among NHL defensemen even though he played only 41 games. Grade: B-minus.
Ivan Provorov: 7 goals and 27 points = 10 goals and 40 points over 82 games.
He missed his former defensive partner, the retired Mat Niskanen, more than anyone. He was the Flyers’ best defenseman. His plus-4 rating topped their blue-liners, and he led the team in minutes (25 per game) and blocked shots (106). But he fell short of matching his 2019-20 performance. Grade: C-plus.
Justin Braun: 1 goal and 6 points = 1 goal and 9 points over 82 games.
He was steady and dependable, though he was used out of place on the top pairing for much of the season’s second half. Braun, who finished with an “even” rating, is a solid third-pairing player and a respected leader. Grade: C-plus.
Robert Hagg: 2 goals and 5 points = 3 goals and 7 points over 82 games.
He wasn’t as effective as in the past — injuries played a part — but had reliable stretches. Hagg finished at minus-3 and, despite limited playing time, was third on the team with 100 hits. Grade: C-minus.
Travis Sanheim: 3 goals and 15 points = 4 goals and 22 points over 82 games.
He regressed terribly, especially in the first half of the season, and finished at minus-22. He did start to look like his old self late in the season, joining the rush more frequently. Grade: D-plus.
Phil Myers: 1 goal and 11 points = 1 goal and 16 points over 82 games.
The regression of Myers (minus-10, including minus-16 in March ) and Sanheim made the loss of Niskanen sting even more. Myers needs to get more physicality into his game. Grade: D.
Brian Elliott: 15-9-2 record, 3.06 GAA, .889 save percentage.
After a good first part of the season, his game dipped as he was used more frequently, though he had a few high-quality performances. The player they call Moose is an unrestricted free agent and isn’t expected back. Grade: C-minus.
Carter Hart: 9-11-5 record, 3.67 GAA, .877 save percentage.
He barely escaped an F, but only because his numbers were greatly affected by the play in front of him. Still, he needs to reset in the offseason and forget about a year in which he was 45th in the NHL in GAA among goalies who played in at least 20 games, and 47th in save percentage. Grade: D-minus.
Coach Alain Vigneault. He never found the right lines and pairings and, until late in the season, scrambled them way too much in an attempt to find chemistry. His team was flat in too many starts to games, and he never came up with a system to offset the loss of Niskanen. Grade: D.
Assistant Mike Yeo. He directed the defense, which contributed greatly to the team’s last-in-the league stats (3.52 goals allowed per game), and the penalty kill (30th in the NHL). Grade: F.
Assistant Michel Therrien. His grade may be generous. His power play was tied for 18th in the league and rarely produced in big moments. Grade: D-plus.
Goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh. He never got Hart straightened out, and Elliott faded with an increased workload. Grade: D-minus.
GM Chuck Fletcher. He was passive in last year’s offseason, when he made the puzzling signing of offensive-minded defenseman Erik Gustafsson, and let valuable right winger Tyler Pitlick go to Arizona as a free agent. He also didn’t add depth, relying too much on Patrick and Lindblom making strong comebacks from major medical issues. In his defense, Morgan Frost would have supplied some of that depth if he hadn’t suffered a shoulder injury. Grade: D-minus.
Stats got worse
Compared to last season, the Flyers were worse in almost every category this year: