We have officially surpassed the midway point of the season for the Philadelphia Flyers. After 44 games, they have maintained the pace I expected this season, as they are currently a bubble team sitting just inside the last wild card spot. Overall, the team has shown massive improvements from last season, but the Flyers are in desperate need of better performances from some players and an overall better save percentage at 5-on-5. Here are the midseason quarter two grades for each Flyers player heading into the second half of the season.
Carter Hart: C (Q1 Grade: C-)
Hart has had some really good games and some really bad ones. Consistency has been a big struggle this season, his first full in the NHL. While this shouldn’t necessarily be surprising, given his age and his lack of experience, the Flyers desperately need at least average goaltending at 5-on-5, and so far they have not gotten it. Hart improved his 5-on-5 save percentage by a few points, but he is still well below the league average. Hart needs to improve significantly at 5-on-5 for the Flyers to stay in the hunt.
Brian Elliott: C- (Q1 Grade: B-)
Elliott helped stabilize the Flyers’ goaltending in quarter one but struggled mightily in quarter two. Elliott’s save percentage is an abysmal .833% at even strength, well below the league average of .908%. His career average is .920%, so there is some hope that he could rebound in the third quarter of the season, but he is also in the back half of his career and he has had a lot of major injuries over the years. If Elliott can’t provide some extra stability, the Flyers may be in the market for some extra depth at the position.
Provorov: A- (Q1 Grade: B+)
Provorov is having an excellent season, and he ramped it up a notch in the second quarter. With 13 points, Provorov continued his pace to get around 50 points this season. His possession numbers continue to be great, and he is on pace for a career-high in shots. He is continuing to thrive in Vigneault’s system and hopefully can continue into the third quarter.
Justin Braun: B- (Q1 Grade: D+)
Braun looks to have settled in a bit in his third-pairing role for the Flyers. After a difficult first quarter transition, Braun improved in all areas of his game in the second quarter. He has seemingly stabilized the third pairing and is providing much-needed depth. Braun’s possession numbers have been excellent as of late.
Phil Myers: B- (Q1 Grade: B-)
Myers had an almost identical second quarter to first. While his underlying numbers leave much to be desired, he is continuing to provide offense from the blue-line, something that has been lacking outside of Provorov this season.
Matt Niskanen: C+ (Q1 Grade: C+)
Niskanen also had an almost identical second quarter to the first, though there was a bit of improvement in his possession metrics and offense. Overall, Niskanen continues to be a steady veteran defender who is filling in admirably.
Travis Sanheim: C (Q1 Grade: C-)
After a rough first quarter, Sanheim improved somewhat in the second. His contributions offensively improved, as did his possession numbers. He is on pace for around 30 points, but the Flyers were expecting more after a phenomenal season last year. Sanheim’s overall underlying numbers need improvement. Hopefully, he continues to adjust to the new Flyers’ system this year.
Shane Gostisbehere: C- (Q1 Grade: C+)
I defended Gostisbehere in the 1st quarter of the season, and while his offensive numbers and shooting percentage improved, his overall play has not. His possession metrics took a bit of a hit in the second quarter, and he is still playing low minutes under Vigneault. His name has been rumored as trade bait for a while, and his performance of late isn’t helping.
Travis Konecny: A (Q1 Grade: A+)
What else is there to say about Konecny? He has been the heart and soul of the Flyers this season and continues to do so. Konecny missed a few games due to injury, but it hasn’t seemed to slow him down. He is still in the conversation for the Flyers’ MVP.
Sean Couturier: A- (Q1 Grade: A-)
Couturier is Couturier. He continues to be the model of consistency. His offense went down a bit, but his overall game did not. He is also in the conversation for Flyers’ MVP.
Oskar Lindblom: A- (Q1 Grade: A-)
Lindblom was in the midst of a career year before his cancer diagnosis. The Flyers have been behind him every step of the way, and he has continued to be a source of motivation for the team even during his treatment.
Jakub Voracek: B (Q1 Grade: B)
Similar to other players on this list, Voracek had an almost identical second quarter. Voracek is providing excellent secondary scoring and is on pace for around 60 points once again.
Kevin Hayes: B (Q1 Grade: D+)
Hayes had a big second quarter. He has looked more and more comfortable with every passing week. Hayes has been dominant on the penalty kill and has scored some highlight-reel goals. He looks more comfortable as a Flyer and is set for a similar third quarter.
James Van Riemsdyk: B- (Q1 Grade: B-)
J.V.R.’s goal total increased, as did his shooting percentage after a difficult first quarter. He is on pace now for another 20 goal season. However, with a $7 million price tag and Vigneault frequently using him in the Flyers’ bottom six, the Flyers still need a bit more from J.V.R., especially on the power play.
Joel Farabee: B- (Q1 Grade: B-)
Farabee is a hard grade because of his age. As a 19-year-old, he looks like an NHL player. However, he also has looked like a 19-year-old at times. His offense took a hit in the second quarter, but he is still showing flashes of brilliance that made him a first-round pick last season. Playing in college last season, Farabee may have a more difficult quarter three, as he is approaching his games played total from last year already. If he continues to struggle to produce, he may need an AHL stint.
Claude Giroux: C+ (Q1 Grade: C+)
Like other players on the roster, Giroux had a better first quarter offensively. He’s the NHL’s best face-off winner this season. However, the Flyers are expecting more. He is on pace for one of his worst offensive seasons as of late. The Flyers need more production from Giroux this next quarter for them to remain in the playoff hunt.
Michael Raffl: C+ (Q1 Grade: B-)
Raffl spent some time off the ice with injuries, but that doesn’t influence this grade. Raffl has continued to be asked to do everything, in all positions, lines, and on-ice situations. His versatility is a huge positive for the Flyers. However, he has struggled to produce as of late, and his underlying numbers are pretty abysmal. Normally, Raffl is a solid third-fourth line player. Hopefully, he returns to that form overall in the new year.
Tyler Pitlick: C+ (Q1 Grade: D-)
Pitlick had a much better second quarter. He has settled into a solid bottom-six role. He isn’t a defensive liability and for $1 million a season, he is an excellent option.
Chris Stewart: C+ (Q1 Grade: D+)
While Stewart’s on-ice play hasn’t improved much, he is proving to be a solid contributor to the intangibles that help teams thrive. Stewart has made it his mission to care for the Flyers’ rookies and young players this season, and he has done it well. He has been a strong leader off the ice and a great example.
Overall, the Flyers have remained in the playoff hunt and many players have shown signs of improvement from last quarter. However, the Flyers need big third quarters from all their big guns and more consistent goaltending if they are to remain a playoff team.