PHILADELPHIA – Hall of Famers Mark Howe, Eric Lindros (four times) and Mark Recchi (three times) all won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as Flyers’ season most valuable players.
But no one had won the Clarke award five times, at least not until Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center when Claude Giroux achieved that distinction.
The Flyers’ captain, enjoying the finest season of his career, took home the Clarke honor, as well as the Toyota Cup for most “star of the game’’ points.
Other end of season award winners:
*Barry Ashbee Trophy (top defenseman):* Shayne Gostisbehere.
*Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (most improved player):* Sean Couturier.
*Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award (character, dignity, respect for hockey):* Couturier.
*Gene Hart Memorial Award (player to demonstrate the most heart):* Couturier.
Giroux entered Thursday night’s game with 97 points, the most by a Flyer since John LeClair’s 97-point season 20 years ago.
The Flyers’ captain has set career highs for goals (30), assists (67) and points.
Giroux represented the Flyers at the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa, making his fifth career All-Star appearance and third in the last four years, and was the NHL’s First Star for the week ending Feb. 11. From the start of that week (Feb. 5) until now, Giroux has 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 28 games.
Gostisbehere received the Ashbee Trophy for the second time in his career, the other coming as a rookie in 2015-16 when he became the youngest player in franchise history to receive the honor at the time; that record was eclipsed last year by Ivan Provorov.
Entering Thursday night’s game, Gostisbehere was tied for fourth in the NHL in scoring by a defenseman with 13 goals and 49 assists for 62 points. The 49 assists are tied with Garry Galley for the third-most in a season by a defenseman in franchise history.
Couturier was selected by his teammates as the Flyers’ most improved player from the previous season. Couturier has more than doubled his scoring totals from a year ago, going from 14-20-34 to 31-41-71 entering the Caroliina game.
He is only the fifth Flyer in franchise history to double his point total from one full season to the next when having at least 30 points in the first season.
The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) selected Couturier as this year’s recipient of the Dupre Award. The award honors the memory of Yanick Dupre, who died on Aug. 16, 1997 at the age of 24 after a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupre played parts of three seasons with the Flyers (1991-92, 1994-95 and 1995-96), recording two goals and 16 penalty minutes in 35 games.
Couturier also picked up Hart Award, as voted by the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club. This award is given to the player who demonstrated the most “Heart” during the season as voted on by members of the Fan Club at their monthly meetings.
The award honors the memory of longtime Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart. For 28 years, Hart called the organization’s most thrilling moments, and in the process, helped spawn generations of devoted fans. Hart’s contributions to the sport were recognized with his induction into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. The Flyers Fan Club will also donate $1,000 to the charity of Couturier’s choice.
Giroux won the Toyota Cup for the sixth time in the last seven years as the Flyer who accumulated the most points associated with being selected as a “star of the game.”