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Career assists for Flyers captain Claude Giroux

Flyers’ mid-term grades

Posted by Eric Fisher On January 7

Being in the midst of a losing streak that has reached six games isn’t the best time to receive mid-term grades, but the midpoint of the season is the midpoint of the season.

The Flyers reached the midpoint with 36 points, tied with the Blues for the second-wrost points total in the NHL, just one point ahead of Ottawa. As you might imagine, the grades for a team in that situation aren’t going to be very good.

The good news about mid-term grades is that they aren’t final grades. The Flyers still have half a season in which to improve.

Without further ado, here are the Flyers’ mid-term grades for the 2018-19 season:

Claude Giroux: A- The Flyers’ lone all-star, Giroux enters Monday’s game against the Blues with 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists), 14 more than his next-closest teammate. But the captain can’t get a solid “A” because he’s the leader of a team that seems to have repeated confidence issues. He’s also part of the NHL-worst power play (13.9 percent).

Sean Couturier: B+ After a slow start, perhaps caused by spending the preseason recovering from a knee injury, Couturier has bound his game. He leads the Flyers in goals with 15, but his overall game isn’t quite where it was last year during his breakout season.

Radko Gudas: B+ One of the overlooked stories with the Flyers this season is the improved play of Gudas. He’s still a physical presence, but he’s playing with more discipline. Gudas is tied for the team lead in plus/minus ratings (plus-7).

Robert Hagg: B+ Although most of the Flyers’ younger players have stagnated or regressed, the exception is Hagg. A solid body checker, Hagg has a plus-5 plus/minus rating and is even chipping in at the offensive end (4 goals, 8 assists).

Travis Sanheim: B Sanheim has displayed terrific skating ability. Mistakes in the defensive end are part of the normal growing pains for young defensemen.

Scott Laughton: B Shuffled up and down the lineup and moved from center to left wing, Laughton has been a steady presence, registering seven goals and eight assists while playing solid defense.

Travis Konecny: B- More consistency and attention to detail would be welcomed from this still-young player. Konecny just ended a streak of 13 games without a goal. His numbers (10 goals, 13 assists) aren’t bad, but they should be higher for someone playing primarily on the top line with Giroux and Couturier.

Jakub Voracek: C+ It’s difficult to put the second-highest Flyer in points (32) any lower, but Voracek is a minus-17 in plus/minus ranking on merit. The effort is there, but Voracek makes too many turnovers and coverage mistakes.

Ivan Provorov (left): C+ A third-year pro, Provorov has regressed this season. He seems unsure of himself at times in the defensive zone, which is a major change for a player whose greatest asset was his poise and reliability.

Dale Weise: C+ For a player many thought wouldn’t have a role with the Flyers, Weise has rebounded to become a solid contributor. He has five goals and six assists while adding some toughness.

Michael Raffl: C+ The versatile Raffl, who can be used from the first to fourth lines, plays consistently well, but that doesn’t seem to translate into points. He has just seven points (2 goals, 5 assists).

Wayne Simmonds: C Simmonds’ team-first attitude should be admired. He’s a stand-up guy who stands up for his teammates. But his minus-15 plus-minus rating reflects his difficulties in the neutral and defensive zones. He leads the Flyers in power play goals (4), but his inability to cash in more often is one reason the Flyers’ power play is the worst in the NHL.

Shayne Gostisbehere: C After bouncing back from a sub-par sophomore season, Gostisbehere has regressed. He makes far too many mistakes in the defensive zone, which is why he is a team-worst minus-19 in plus/minus rating. Gostisbehere has even struggled as quarterback of the power play, which should be wear his skills shine the brightest.

Jordan Weal: C With his speed, Weal provides a much-needed spark, especially in transition. On the other hand, his inconsistency and lapses in his own end – an area in which he’s improved recently – make it difficult for him to remain in the lineup.

Oskar Lindblom: C Linblom has gone 16 straight games without a point and 25 without a goal.

Andrew MacDonald: C Injuries have hindered MacDonald’s performance, but he makes too many mistakes in his own zone.

Christian Folin: C His plus-7 plus/minus rating is tied for the team lead, but if he’s so good, why can’t he break into the lineup except when MacDonald is injured?

James van Riemsdyk: C- Expected to be an impact player after signing a 5-year, $35 million contract, van Riemsdyk has been nearly invisible at times. Although he has missed games due to injury, JVR still only has three power play goals in 25 games.

Jori Lehtera: C- This veteran gives you what he’s got. That adds up to one goal and two assists.

Nolan Patrick: D The second overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Patrick has two points – both assists – in his last 20 games. Expected to takes major strides this season after a solid performance after the All-Star break, Patrick (5 goals, 6 assists) is behind the pace of his rookie campaign (13 goals, 17 assists for the entire season).

Goalies: D No individual goalie has played enough games to receive anything other than an incomplete, but the Flyers’ 3.61 goals-against average is the second-worst in the NHL. Some of that poor average is due to bad defense, but the lack of trust in the goaltending – and the Flyers set a dubious NHL record by using six starting goalies (Brian Elliott, Calvin Pickard, Michal Neuvirth, Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon and Carter Hart) in their first 35 games – has contributed to the Flyers’ lack of confidence. It’s unfair to lump Hart, with just six games played, into this mess, but he hasn’t played enough games to receive an individual grade.

Phil Varone, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Corban Knight, Tyrell Goulbourne: Incomplete None of these forwards has played enough games to get a grade, although Varone (12 games) is getting close.

COACH

Dave Hakstol: F Hakstol simply didn’t have any answers. The Flyers kept making the same mistakes games after game. The regression by many of the Flyers’ younger players and the horrendous special teams can also be partly blamed on Hakstol.

Scott Gordon: Incomplete The Flyers have been more competitive since Gordon became the interim head coach, but the current six-game losing streak (including two overtime ties) needs to end soon.

GENERAL MANAGER

Ron Hextall: D Based solely on this season, as opposed to the long-term future, Hextall was a disappointment. He made a mistake by entering the season with two veteran goalies coming off surgeries. The signing of James van Riemsdyk has, thus far, been a dud.

Chuck Fletcher: Incomplete We need more time to render a judgment on Fletcher.

*****

IRONMAN: Defenseman Ivan Provorov has played in every game during his two-and-a-half year NHL career. Entering Monday’s game against the Blues, Provorov’s streak stands at 205 consecutive games.

*****

DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD: What’s worse? The Flyers’ slow starts or their late-game collapses when they manage to build a lead?

*****

JACKSON EARNS AWARD: Congratulations to Flyers broadcaster Jim Jackson, who will receive the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s awards banquet on Mon., Jan. 21. Jackson has been broadcasting Flyers games since 1993, with two years on radio before becoming the team’s television play-by-play voice.

*****

BUSY WEEK: After hosting the Blues on Monday (7 p.m.), the Flyers visit the Capitals on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.). The Flyers will return home Thursday (7 p.m.) to host the Stars, then goa back on the road Saturday (1 p.m.) to face the Devils. Continuing the alternating home-and-away schedule, the Flyers will host the Wild next Monday (7 p.m.).

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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal