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Philadelphia Flyers Team Awards: And the nominees are . . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

According to this morning’s news, the Flyers plan to announce the 2008-09 season team award winners prior to tonight’s home game against the Florida Panthers.

For those unfamiliar with the Flyers’ team awards, there are three: the Bobby Clarke Trophy (team MVP), the Barry Ashbee Trophy (most outstanding defenseman), and the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (most improved). The Clarke and Ashbee Trophies are selected by the sportscasters and sportswriters; the Lindbergh Trophy is voted on by the team. In 2007-08, the award winners were Mike Richards for team MVP, Kimmo Timonen for best defenseman, and Braydon Coburn and Riley Cote were co-recipients of the Lindbergh trophy.

I don’t expect that we’ll see much change in those first two awards for the 2008-09 season. Mike Richards may not be the leading scorer this year, but he is the foundation on which the current Flyers squad is built. He not only plays in all game situations—he excels in all situations. He’s on the ice for the first minute and the last minute of pivotal games. He’s the first forward chosen to defend in 5-on-3 situations, and he’s also the most likely to score shorthanded. Jeff Carter is the flashy choice because of his goal totals, but Richards provides a greater overall value to his team.

Kimmo Timonen is the undisputed heart and soul of the Flyers blueline. His absence during the Flyers’ flu epidemic of 2009 left the team unable to produce points on the power play and unable to keep pucks out of the net in almost any situation. Luca Sbisa referred to him as a father figure in a recent interview, and that is exactly the type of leadership the young Flyers defense corps needs to be successful in the playoffs. I see no reason to aware the Barry Ashbee to anyone else.

That leaves us with the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy for the most improved player, as voted by his teammates. Jeff Carter is the obvious candidate for this award. A broken stick shy of 30 goals in 2007-08, Carter reached the 40-goal plateau this season and is among the league’s top goal scorers as well, behind only scoring phenom Alexander Ovechkin and tied with New Jersey’s Zach Parise.

Most impressive, however, is Carter’s marked improvement in consistency. His prior seasons were marked by spurts of greatness interspersed with lackluster disappearing acts. This year, he’s been a scoring machine centering the Sky line with wingers Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul. Carter’s team-high 11 game-winning goals demonstrate his talent for clutch-scoring. He’s also been strong defensively, using his checking line experience from last season to catapult him towards his full potential. What should scare opponents is the fact that Carter has shown evidence of another gear in his repertoire, and I suspect he will continue to blossom as a power centerman over the next season or two.

A potential dark horse for the Pelle Lindbergh Trophy is Simon Gagne. While his 33 goals are not significant in comparison to his scoring totals during the Forsberg era, Gagne has returned from last year’s concussion with a vengeance. With 12 power play goals (top 16 in the NHL), 4 short-handed goals (top 6 in the NHL), and a plus-23 rating (top 25 in the NHL), Gagne ranks alongside Richards and Carter in importance to overall team success, No one could have predicted with certainty that he would rebound this strongly; similar injuries have ended the careers of other players. His success this season is overshadowed by commentators due to the emergence of Carter and Richards. Perhaps his teammates will choose to acknowledge him with the Lindbergh Trophy.

So now I turn it over to you. Who do you think should win these awards?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009 10:38 pm

    Well, the Flyers are officially in the Playoffs now. And the Avs are holding the Sharks in check so far.. Hopefully they can keep this up, but I’m feeling tired, so I’m going to call it a night.

  2. John permalink
    Wednesday, April 8, 2009 8:10 am

    Can’t really blame Budaj for a 1-0 shootout loss. *Sigh* If only Laperriere had been a little more accurate on that breakaway.. Oh well, at least it was a close contest.

    • Wednesday, April 8, 2009 9:30 am

      You know, I always thought Laperriere was destined for great scoring prowess. Too bad he can’t challenge the goalie to a fight instead of shooting on him.

      So are you hoping for Tavares or Hedman?

      • John permalink
        Wednesday, April 8, 2009 10:34 am

        Yeah, maybe if he had beat up Nabokov we could have scored a goal. :-)

        Hmm, like I’ve said before, I’m not really all that knowledgeable on the prospects. However, just by virtue of Hedman being a D-Man, I’ll go with him. While our offense has been pathetic of late, it’s not like we don’t have the talent up front to score.

  3. 1hockeychics permalink
    Wednesday, April 8, 2009 10:25 am

    Scott Hartnell won the Gene Hart Memorial Award voted on by the Flyers’ fan club recognizing the player with the most heart or is it the player with the most hair. :) Just caught the news on twitter on the awards. http://www.chicshockey.com

  4. John permalink
    Friday, April 10, 2009 9:32 am

    Okay, I’m lost here. The AP recap of last night’s Sharks-Coyotes game says San Jose was beaten by the “last-place Coyotes”. My question is, how is Phoenix in last place? The Kings are below them in the Pacific Division, The Avs and Kings are below them in the Western Conference Standings, and four teams are below them in the overall standings. So yeah, any help decoding that sentence is welcome. The only other mention of the Coyotes being last in the league was their Power Play, but that still doesn’t explain the part I’m referring to:
    “Montoya made 40 saves in the rookie’s third NHL victory, and the last-place Coyotes improbably prevented the league-leading Sharks from clinching the league’s best record and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a 4-1 victory Thursday night.”

  5. John permalink
    Saturday, April 11, 2009 9:58 am

    Stupid Stars, now the F*cks are in the Playoffs. :-(

  6. John permalink
    Monday, April 13, 2009 11:30 am

    Once again, can’t blame the goaltending for a trio of 1-0 losses to end the year. Where the heck did the offense go?! I know we have some guys out with injury and all, but there has to be /someone/ else on the team who can figure out how to put the puck in the net. At least there’s some good news on this day-after-the-season-ended: Giguere is out as GM in Denver! No replacement yet, but hopefully whoever gets the job shows Granato the door as well.

  7. Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:14 am

    Any idea who you’d like to see behind the Colorado bench next year? Tom Renney and Jacques Lemaire are available.

  8. John permalink
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:45 am

    I don’t know, but I’m not averse to the idea of Lemaire if he can institute a better defensive system than the one we’ve got.. I have more knowledge of Minny’s system than the {Renney era} Rangers’ though, so I can’t give you much of an opinion on him. But I don’t recall ever being overly impressed by NY outside of Lundqvist.

  9. John permalink
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:35 pm

    Great, so we only get the #3 pick and now I have to watch the Playoffs minus the Avs for the second time in 3 years.. But at least when Quenneville’s squad missed out we were at 95 points {I believe that set a record for most points by a non-Playoff club} and only a point back of the final seed. Oh well, hopefully they’ll be better next year because it doesn’t look very good for the Broncos this year. I’ve got idiot coaches on both of my teams. :-(

  10. John permalink
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:42 pm

    Oh, and good luck to Philly! While I’m not voting for the Eastern Conference unless someone like Detroit or Calgary wins the West, I’m definitely not pulling for the Malkin-Crosbys or Devils or Bruins. Probably not NY either, and Carolina isn’t up there on my list except for their Cup win over Edmonton. Washington I don’t really have any complaints about, but it’d suck to see Theodore win a Cup the year after he left Denver.. Not sure about Montreal, but if it came down to Chicago versus the Canadiens, I’d pick the Hawks without a second thought. Anyway, I’m going to predict a Caps-Blue Jackets Stanley Cup Final with Columbus winning. Why the Jackets? Not sure exactly, just a feeling.

  11. Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:12 am

    I’d love to see the Jackets win a Cup, provided it’s not over the Flyers :) It’s always fun to watch underdog teams make it big.

    I’m not so sure that Theodore is going to last as the Caps’ guy. If any rookie netminder could come in and steal playoff wins, it’s Simeon Varlamov. I’ve watched him in Washington and in Hershey, and he’s the real deal.

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  1. Philadelphia Flyers Team Awards: And the nominees are . . . | Flyers Fan Central

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