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Grading the Flyers: Mixed bag of reviews for defense and goalies

The Flyers' defense and goaltending was respectable in the regular season and awful in most of the playoff series vs. Pittsburgh.

Flyers defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere (left) and Ivan Provorov had outstanding regular seasons but dipped in the playoffs. A separated left shoulder limited Provorov’s effectiveness in the Game 6 loss to the Penguins.
Flyers defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere (left) and Ivan Provorov had outstanding regular seasons but dipped in the playoffs. A separated left shoulder limited Provorov’s effectiveness in the Game 6 loss to the Penguins.Read moreYong Kim / Staff Photographer

The Flyers defense and goaltending were respectable in the regular season and awful in four of their six playoff games against Pittsburgh.

In the playoffs, they allowed a league-worst average of 4.67 goals, including six per game in their four playoff losses. The Flyers surrendered 2.88 goals per game in the regular season, tied for 14th in the 31-team league.

Here are the regular-season and playoff grades for their defensemen and goaltenders. And if you missed them, here are the grades for the forwards, published yesterday.

D Ivan Provorov

Regular season: A-

The second-year defenseman tied for the NHL lead among D-men with 17 goals and finished tied for 10th with 169 blocked shots. Provorov averaged a team-high 24 minutes, 9 seconds of ice time, collected 41 points, and finished at plus-17 after a minus-7 season as a rookie.

Playoffs: C+

Through no fault of his own, Provorov struggled in Game 6 (minus-4, two turnovers that led to goals) because the Flyers somehow allowed him to play 20:31 despite a separated left shoulder he suffered in the previous game. In the series, Provorov had three assists and was minus-6.

D Shayne Gostisbehere

Regular season: A-

He finished fourth among NHL defensemen with 65 points (13 goals, 52 assists) – the fourth-highest total in franchise history for a defenseman. He also made great strides on defense and finished at plus-10, a marked improvement from the previous season (minus-21).

Playoffs: D

Gostisbehere was outmuscled and frequently caught out of position in the playoffs and was dropped to the second pairing. He finished the series with one goal and a minus-8 rating.

D Andrew MacDonald

Regular season: B-

Playing on the first or second pairing, MacDonald had six goals, 21 points, and a plus-8 rating in 66 games. He finished with 131 blocked shots, second on the team.

Playoffs: B

MacDonald contributed a pair of goals and was steady in the six playoff games, finishing with an "even" rating.

D Robert Hagg

Regular season: B-

Hagg finished seventh in the league in hits (238) and first among rookies in blocked shots (100) despite being unexpectedly benched for 12 games late in the season. He finished with three goals and a plus-5 rating.

Playoffs: B

He played in only the last two games, led the Flyers in blocked shots in both, and finished the series as one of the team's few "plus" players (plus-1).

D Travis Sanheim

Regular season: D+

After struggling and being sent to the Phantoms on Jan 22, the rookie played much better when recalled on March 9. Overall, he had two goals, 10 points, and a minus-6 rating in 49 games with the Flyers. A good puck mover, but he needs to play with more grit.

Playoffs: C+

Sanheim contributed a goal and was mostly solid in four playoff games. He averaged 15:30 per game and finished at minus-1.

D Brandon Manning

Regular season: C

Manning chipped in with seven goals and provided some physicality, but he and defensive partner Radko Gudas struggled mightily in the last couple of months. He finished with an "even" rating.

Playoffs: D

He was one of the most physical Flyers in the playoffs, but he was beaten badly at key times and finished minus-5 in the series.

D Radko Gudas

Regular season: C-

He didn't play with as much physicality after an early-season 10-game suspension, and that reduced his effectiveness. He had two goals, 16 points, and an "even" rating.

Playoffs: D+

Gudas had some good moments earlier in the series, but his turnovers led to consecutive goals that turned a 4-2 second-period lead into a 4-4 tie in Game 6. Pittsburgh won the game, 8-5, and eliminated the Flyers.

G Brian Elliott

Regular season: B-

His numbers – a 2.66 goals-against average and .909 save percentage – are ordinary,. But Elliott provided stability and was the Flyers' most dependable goalie before needing core-muscle surgery in February and missing almost two months. He finished with a 23-11-7 record and made 16 straight starts (10-5-1) from Dec. 2 to Jan. 6.

Playoffs: D

The Flyers rushed Elliott back too soon from his surgery, and it showed. He went 1-3 against the Penguins, was pulled in two games, and finished with a 4.74 goals-against average and .856 save percentage.

G Michal Neuvirth

Regular season: C+

Because of injuries, Neuvirth was able to play in only 22 games. He went 9-7-3 with a 2.60 GAA and .915 save percentage but never got into a rhythm.

Playoffs: D+

Neuvirth stopped 30 of 32 shots as the Flyers won Game 5, but he was shelled for seven goals – a porous defense didn't help – in Game 6. He played in three games in the series, compiling a 4.40 GAA and .847 save percentage.

G Alex Lyon

Regular season: C+

The rookie was thrown into a difficult situation, but he showed poise and helped the Flyers stay on course despite injuries to their two best goalies. He went 4-2-1 with a 2.75 GAA and .905 save percentage.

Playoffs: Did not play

G Petr Mrazek

Regular season: D+

Acquired from Detroit on Feb. 19, Mrazek helped the Flyers earn a playoff berth by filling in after Elliott and Neuvirth were injured, but he was very inconsistent. With the Flyers, he went 6-6-3 with a 3.22 GAA and .891 save percentage. He won his first three games with the Flyers.

Playoffs: Incomplete

Mrazek played in just one playoff game, relieving Elliott midway through Game 1 and allowing two goals on 14 shots for a 3.87 GAA and .857 save percentage.