Philadelphia Flyers Midseason Awards 2022-23
The Philadelphia Flyers sit in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division with a 16-18-7 record through exactly half the 2022-23 season. It would take a monumental and unforeseen second-half surge to earn a playoff berth in their first season under head coach John Tortorella. The first year under the new coach was always supposed to be about deciding which players can be part of the solution in Philadelphia.
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The team awards handed out at the final home game of the regular season will give some indicators of the club’s future. The Flyers staff at The Hockey Writers gave their picks for the team awards at the official midway point of the regular season.
Bobby Clarke Trophy- Team MVP
Colin Newby: Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny has rebounded from two underwhelming seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22 with an outstanding effort in 2022-23. His scoring pace far exceeds his career high in goals and assists. He needs just four goals during the second half of the season to break his career high 24 set during the 69-game season in 2019-20. The scrappy winger has adjusted flawlessly to a role as a penalty killer and responded well to the demanding style of John Tortorella. He narrowly edges Carter Hart for the Bobby Clarke Trophy at the midway point of 2022-23.
Matt Grazel: Travis Konecny
Konecny has emerged as the Flyers’ most consistent offensive threat this season. Recently, he has been on another multi-game point streak that has helped them on offense. He is one of their top forwards in all of their primary offensive categories despite their lack of scoring through the first half of the year.
Aleena Aksenchuk: Carter Hart
Carter Hart has been exceptional this season, and from what we have seen with him on the ice and from the comments of teammates and coaching staff, Hart truly is the backbone of this team. His statistics also help with this argument as he still has a save percentage over the league average and continues to help the Flyers and John Tortorella recreate a new identity for this team.
Barry Ashbee Trophy- Best Defenseman
Colin Newby: Ivan Provorov
Ivan Provorov has been the workhorse of the Philadelphia blue line for the majority of the seven seasons since he made his NHL debut. His defensive game is more reliable than his top competition for the award, Tony DeAngelo. The Russian workhorse hasn’t played consistently on the power play. His game is far from perfect, especially when matched up against the top lines of Philadelphia’s opponents. This could very well change by the end of the season, and so could his uniform. However, Provorov has been the top performer out of a group that hasn’t impressed in 2022-23.
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Matt Grazel: Tony DeAngelo
The Tony DeAngelo signing, due to the injury to Ryan Ellis, has worked out well for the Flyers as he has been their top offensive defenseman during the first half of 2022-23. After his tumultuous final season with the New York Rangers two years ago, he rewarded the Carolina Hurricanes with a fine year which led to the Flyers trading for him last offseason and signing him to a two-year contract.
Aleena Aksenchuk: Tony DeAngelo
Tony DeAngelo has proven himself as a Flyer and shown that he wants to be a part of this team. The Flyers traded for him from the Carolina Hurricanes in July 2022, and in my opinion, it has been one of the most successful trades the Flyers made last year. In the 36 games DeAngelo has played, he’s managed 23 points.
Pelle Lindbergh Trophy- Most Improved Player
Colin Newby: Owen Tippett
The Flyers acquired Owen Tippett as part of the trade that sent franchise icon Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers in March 2022. Tippett showed flashes of a tremendous raw skill set in 21 games at the end of the 2021-22 season, but he also showed an inability to finish on the scoring chances he created. His career shooting percentage sat at just 7.9% entering 2022-23.
Tippett is shooting 15.2% this season. He has already set a career-high in goals with 12 in 36 games. While his play has been somewhat streaky, the Flyers would be incredibly pleased with a 23-year-old hot/cold goal-scorer who can play second-line minutes in the coming years.
Matt Grazel: Owen Tippett
Tippett has set a career-high in goals this year for a club that has been near the bottom of the league in goals per game and power-play percentage. The 23-year-old has emerged as one of their top goal-scorers and has been playing in their top six. He will aim to emerge further as a reliable goal-scorer for them during the second half of the 2022-23 season.
Aleena Aksenchuk: Owen Tippett
Tippett has struggled to find his place in the NHL since the Panthers drafted him back in 2017. He joined the Flyers in March 2022, and he has been working endlessly to meet the expectations of John Tortorella. Early on Tortorella commented that he wanted to see more from the 23-year-old forward, and Tippett is doing exactly that and has improved on a tremendous scale. In 36 games played, he has 12 goals and 9 assists for a total of 21 points.
Gene Hart Memorial Award- Player with the Most “Heart”
Colin Newby: Nicolas Deslauiers
When the Flyers signed Nicolas Deslauriers in July, the 31-year-old bruiser knew exactly what role he’d play. While the heart he’s shown doesn’t justify the four-year, $7 million contract Chuck Fletcher handed to him, Deslauriers has fit in well during his only season in Philadelphia. His eight fights lead the NHL, and he brings a physical presence on the forecheck that doesn’t go unnoticed.
The official team fan club votes for the Gene Hart winner. It’s a fan base that has endured nearly a half-century without a Stanley Cup and even bigger disappointments in the last decade with very little hope for the future. They deserve the chance to stand up and cheer an old-school guy who drops the gloves once in a while.
Matt Grazel: Carter Hart
Hart has done well despite the Flyers’ offensive struggles during the first half of the season. Despite the lack of goal support, he has done well according to his goals-against average and save percentage. Aside from Konecny, he has been their best player at the midway point of the season.
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Aleena Aksenchuk: Travis Konecny
I may be biased with Konecny as he happens to be my favorite Flyers player, but this year Konecny has shown that he has tremendous amounts of heart in his game. He has shown the city of Philadelphia that he wants this team to succeed and has been doing so himself with 43 points in 35 games played. Not only is this his best season yet, he is leading this team to help endure Tortorella’s goal to find a new identity.
Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award- Best Character Off the Ice
Colin Newby: Scott Laughton
Scott Laughton leads the NHL in shorthanded points. He is the only player that Tortorella chose as a team captain. Although Laughton only wears the “A” on his sweater this season, he is the likeliest choice to become the next full-time captain. You’d have a hard time finding anyone around the organization who doesn’t think highly of a player whose journey took him from a first-round pick to a supposed bust to a valuable bottom-six forward and possibly to the captaincy of the Flyers.
Matt Grazel: Scott Laughton
While he is not known for being one of the Flyers’ top offensive performers, Laughton is a consummate leader on and off the club’s ice. He was the winner of the award following the 2019-20 season and has represented them as their alternate captain this year. Tortorella thinks highly of his leadership skills. He should be on the shortlist to be named the Flyers’ next team captain.
Aleena Aksenchuk: Scott Laughton
It may have something to do with Laughton being the only guy to wear a letter, but Laughton has stepped up to help become a leader in the absence of key players, Tortorella also commented saying that no one else deserved to wear a letter and that it was “an easy choice”, back in October.
While the Flyers are a longshot to even sniff playoff contention, they’ve made the first steps of progress toward restoring themselves to respectability in the NHL again. The first half of the 2022-23 season had more downs than ups, but the organization will continue its lofty goal of rebuilding what used to be a proud image.
Colin Newby is a freelance writer from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.