Good start means good grades for Flyers’ first quarter report card

Travis Konecny

Preseason prognostications were all over the map when it came to the Flyers.

Some publications had the Flyers – who played their 20th game Saturday night — making the playoffs (barely), while others had them on the outside looking in.

But few, if any, predicted the Philly gang would be hovering among the top three teams in the Metro Division a fourth of the way through the season.

With that in mind, it should be noted we are being rather generous with our grades for the first quarter report card.

Here goes:


**A+** — Travis Konecny: Not only is he leading the team in scoring, he’s a plus player most nights, a sign he’s playing, in his words, “the right way.’’

**A+** — Oskar Lindblom: In some respects, he actually should be rated a little higher than Konecny because this early burst was totally unexpected.

**A** — Sean Couturier: Getting back in the two-way form which made him a Selke Trophy finalist a couple years ago.

**A** — Matt Niskanen: We knew his Stanley Cup experience would be a positive influence on Flyers’ young D, but he’s been a calming factor for the whole team.

**A-** — Claude Giroux: Team’s perennial scoring leader starting to pick up the pace during Flyers’ current 5-1-2 streak.

**A-** — Carter Hart: A rough patch a few weeks ago dropped his save percentage below .900, but he’s bounced back nicely in past half-dozen games.

**A-** — Ivan Provorov: Fitting in nicely with Niskanen; draws the Crosbys, Ovechkins and McDavids all the time and manages to hold his own.

**A-** — Michael Raffl: Is there a more versatile player on the Flyers? Can play any forward position on any line. Tireless worker and growing favorite with coach Alain Vigneault.

**B+** — Brian Elliott: Flyers are fortunate to have a “back-up’’ with this much talent, experience. It’s important for him to stay healthy, play well so Hart doesn’t get overworked.

**B+ — Philippe Myers: Scored in three straight games, the first time a defenseman had pulled that off since 1987. Long reach, big shot – should be here to stay.

**B** — Carsen Twarynski: One of the big surprises of this season. Strong on the puck in the corners, good forechecker and kept a good attitude during brief demotion to Phantoms.

**B** — James van Riemsdyk: Got off to a slow start but now creating plenty of chances.

**B-** — Shayne Gostisbehere: Like Konecny, making improvements in his overall game. Not prone to as many turnovers this season.

**B-** — Travis Sanheim: He’s had his ups and downs but Flyers are hoping the Myers-Sanheim tandem can be a keeper.

**C+** — Jake Voracek: He’ll be the first to tell you he hasn’t been at his best. Does some of his best work on the power play, which has been an asset so far.

**C+** — Joel Farabee: He’s made some big contributions, including that shootout winner in Boston the other night. Playing above expectations for a 19-year-old

**C** — Kevin Hayes: Entering Saturday night’s game was mired in 10-game goal drought. Coach says he needs to relax and just play the game.

**C** — Scott Laughton: Difficult to grade because he’s been sidelined by a broken finger.

**C** — Tyler Pitlick: Scored his first goal in 15 games the other night in Ottawa. Adds some pizzazz to Flyers’ fourth line.

**C** — Chris Stewart: Willing to drop the gloves and stand up for teammates and you need at least one of those guys on your team.

**C-** — Justin Braun: Double-digit minus number jumps out at you. But he should get better as season progresses.

**C-** — Robert Hagg: Has only played in 10 games so another difficult one to mark.

**Incomplete:** — Andy Andreoff, German Rubtsov, Mikhail Vorobyev.


**A** — Alain Vigneault: Pushing all the right buttons and saying all the right things. But what else would you expect from a two-time Stanley Cup finalist?


**A-** Chuck Fletcher: Let’s see, hired Vigneault, signed free-agents Hayes and Elliott, traded for Niskanen and promoted Myers. Are we missing anything?


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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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