The Philadelphia Flyers 2021-22 season is almost upon us and the anticipation level has risen immensely. After a busy summer by Chuck Fletcher and plenty of positive questions surrounding the roster, the puck will soon drop on the most important season in recent Flyers’ history. Who will walk away with a successful season and top the charts or end up winning an award? These are our best guesses.
Team Record- 44-27-11 / 99 points / 3rd in Metro
The Flyers were well on they way to stomping this record in 2019-20, but wouldn’t have come anywhere close in 2021, so a safe bet of somewhere in the middle seems like a good place to put them. Over the last few full seasons, the threshold for top three teams in the division seems to be right around 100 points, with high 90s points fighting for a wild card spot. Given the uncertainty throughout the metro division, finishing third seems like a reasonable place to end up.
Goals- Joel Farabee
Farabee’s stock is rising and if his career trajectory continues there’s no reason to think he won’t lead the team in goals again this year. He was the only Flyer to break the 20-goal plateau in 2021 and will be given every opportunity to run it back this season.
Assists- Claude Giroux
Obviously a major question heading into the season will be how captain Claude Giroux is deployed. He’ll celebrate his 34th birthday in January and is well into the back nine of his career. Though he’s still the best pure playmaker on the team and will still surely see plenty of powerplay time, so even if his overall ice time dips, he should shouldn’t see too big a dip in his overall point totals. He’s consistently in the top three in assists on the team, so taking home the top spot one more time shouldn’t be out of the question.
Points- Sean Couturier
Couturier has finished second in points on the team for the last three years now and it’s about time he walks away with his first team scoring title. He’s consistently in the mix with all the top scorers on the team, it’ll just come down to his ability to stay healthy during the year to give him the best chance possible.
PIM- Scott Laughton
Laughton, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and Rasmus Ristolainen will probably be the three fighting, literally, for this title. But given NAK’s roster spot is anything but a sure thing, and Ristolainen will be counted on to not screw anything up, Laughton may be the guy to lead the team in PIM, although he has been a fairly responsible player in the past except for last season and the 2020 postseason. Will he rebound and be a saint or stay on the same path as a sinner?
PPP- Travis Konecny
There are only a couple reasonable options that may take home the scoring title on the powerplay, Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, James Van Riemsdyk or Sean Couturier. Going to give Konecny the benefit of the doubt and assume he’ll have a bounce back season and return to the threat on the powerplay that he was during the 2019-20 campaign when he scored 23 of his 61 points on the mad advantage.
SHP- Cam Atkinson
One of the highlights of Cam Atkinson’s arrival in Philadelphia is his penalty killing ability. He racked up four shorthanded goals last season alone and has 16 shorthanded points in his career. Kevin Hayes is another possibility for leading in shorthanded points like he did in 2019-20, but he has enough on his plate right now, so expect Atkinson to carry the load on the penalty kill this year.
TOI- Ivan Provorov
Since he entered the league in 2016-17 he has far and away led the team in time on ice every year. As the team’s number one defenseman relied upon in every situation, barring injury, don’t expect anything to change this season.
Hits- Scott Laughton
Laughton has consistently been in the top three our four in hits over the last few years and led the team last season. He will be challenged for his title by Nicolas Aube-Kubel and the new guy Rasmus Ristolainen, who threw 52 more hits than Laughton during the 2021 season.
Blocks- Ivan Provorov
Provorov has comfortably led the team in blocks during all five of his NHL seasons, beating out the likes of Robert Hagg and Andrew MacDonald for the title, so there’s no reason to think he won’t do it again this season.
SOG- Kevin Hayes
This is actually not a category Hayes has led in during his first two seasons in Philly, but he constantly put pressure on the player above him. In 2019-20 he finished third with 175 SOG, 23 behind first place, and finished second in 2021 with 127, just five behind JVR. He’ll be a guy counted on in all situations and clearly isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, so expect him to finish atop, or at least close to it yet again.
GAA- Carter Hart
Even if, for some reason, Hart doesn’t fully get back on the horse this season, there’s no reason to think he won’t at least be better than Jones when it comes to statistics. Worst case scenario he’s an average goalie who beats out Jones’ numbers by a hair.
SV%- Carter Hart
Saves- Carter Hart
This one’s pretty easy, whoever starts more games will have more saves, and barring something catastrophic, he’s the number one guy in Philly for the foreseeable future.
Barry Ashbee Trophy (best defeseman)- Ryan Ellis
Ivan Provorov has won this award three of his five NHL seasons, but it could be his new partner in crime that takes home the Ashbee Trophy during his first season as a Flyer.
Bobby Clarke Trophy (team MVP)- Joel Farabee
Sean Couturier has won the team MVP for three straight years, and Claude Giroux is a five-time winner in his own right, but this year it may go to someone else. Joel Farabee is expected to have a big season, and if he develops into the star that he’s teased over the last few years, this may be the first of many MVP awards Farabee will win in his career.
Yannick Dupre Memorial (class guy)- Cam Atkinson
The season hasn’t even started yet and if feels like this award is destined for Atkinson. Nobody has won this award twice, so the fact that Laughton and Van Riemsdyk, who are regarded as the most active guys on the team when it comes to off ice leadership, were the last two winners, it narrows the field immensely. Atkinson has already warmed the hearts of the fans as he tours Philadelphia, and based on his community work back in Columbus, it’s only a matter of time before he carries that over to Philly as well.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial (most improved)- Wade Allison
This is more a process of elimination when it comes to predicting the winner of the most improved award. Farabee won last season, Laughton, Sanheim and Couturier have won in the past, so it makes sense that the new guy Wade Allison secures the award if he makes the team out of camp. Maybe somebody like Travis Konecny could snag the award if he gets his game back on track.
Toyota Cup (game star)- Claude Giroux
Giroux is a seven-time winner of the Toyota Cup including last season. The award is based on the collection of star of the game awards and the player who collects the most wins. Given Giroux is still very much a focal point on this team when it comes to securing a big win, he will undoubtedly be in the running for his eighth award this year.
Gene Hart Award (work ethic/dedication)- Sean Couturier
Couturier has was this award three of the last four years, and there’s no reason to think he won’t take it home again.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com