Flyers

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Brian Elliott

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Brian Elliott

The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.

In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Taryn Hatcher, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.

Today we will be looking at veteran goaltender Brian Elliott. 

Destra

For years, the Flyers have struggled to find any form of consistency in net, their tipping point falling in the 2018-19 season after cycling through eight different goaltenders. That is now a distant memory after a solid year from the duo of Carter Hart and Elliott. 

When the Flyers brought the veteran goaltender back on a one-year deal, this became a season in which he needed to prove himself when it was time to step up — and he did just that. When Hart struggled in his first year, Elliott was able to make up for it, creating a balance that any team would be lucky to have. 

During his time as a Flyer, Elliott had never been utilized in a way that would benefit himself and the team for long stretches of time. He was often worked into the ground and injuries would follow suit. This most recent season showcased that he still has the potential to be a great goaltender, given all of the pressure didn’t just fall on him. 

Elliott posted a 16-7-4 record, with 12 of those wins coming on the road — and they weren’t easy matchups by any means. He dominated at the Capitals’ barn on two separate occasions, beat the defending Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues, but more importantly — he won the trap games. Games that are often labeled as easy wins, but then fall short. All of the small things were done right — and it made for a thrilling time. 

Moose earned a solid B+ this season. Not bad at all. 

Emmer

After dealing with injury last season, Elliott entered into his 13th NHL season in 2019-20 and third with the Flyers at the age of 34. With that came concerns about his ability to still have a solid game. It’s not that anyone thought he’d struggle, but he without a doubt exceeded any expectations this season.

One of the biggest strengths for the Flyers during the regular season was their strong goaltending tandem of Elliott and Hart. The goalie tandem made for one of the strongest in home/away splits.

Elliott on the road: 12-5-2
Hart at home: 20-3-2

Elliott came up clutch when Hart was hurt in mid-January. Elliott went 5-1-1 with a .916 save percentage during Hart’s absence. He has been consistently impressive all season long.

Without a doubt, you’re happy to see the Flyers not play a record-setting eight goaltenders in a single season again this year (which happened in 2018-19). Thankfully with the impressive performances from Hart and in this case, Elliott, you didn’t have to see that happen.

Elliott earns an A.

Hatcher

Elliott has been a such an underrated, sneaky-important part of the Flyers' success this year, especially during the second half of this season. While it’s clear Hart is the future for the Flyers, part of the coaching staff putting No. 79 in a position to succeed is allowing him breathing room as he runs into growing pains. Elliott has not only allowed that to happen, he’s also played some great hockey in the process.

With Hart struggling on the road, Elliott has stepped up and recorded some big performances away from the Wells Fargo Center. Since the start of 2020, he’s been between the pipes for wins at St. Louis and twice in D.C. He’s also recorded two shutouts since the start of the calendar year. He’s been exactly the goalie the Flyers have needed him to be this year. He’s played really well when the team’s needed him, too, and he’s been a great goalie partner for a young star like Hart.

B+/A-

Fordyce 

For Elliott, I’m going to give him a B+.  Elliott is about as good a backup goaltender as you will find in the NHL. A 16-7-4 record with a goals-against average of under three is more than you can expect from most backup goaltenders, but that is not the whole story with Elliott. The man they call “Moose” knows he is not the man for the Flyers. This is Hart’s team and Elliott has embraced the veteran role of mentor, even though, in reality, Elliott could likely start for a few teams in the NHL. 

The one knock on Elliott I would say is that he sometimes is susceptible to the soft goal, which definitely hurts in terms of relying on Elliott in bigger games. Elliott has also recently been injury prone, outside of this season, which is a dangerous proposition when discussing a backup goaltender. Overall though, his play on the ice as Hart’s backup and his veteran leadership make Elliott very valuable to this Flyers team.  

B+ for Moose. 

Hall

Elliott has done everything the Flyers hoped for when they re-signed him to a one-year contract last June.

He stayed healthy and spelled Hart during two important junctures.

In October, the 21-year-old Hart hit a rough patch, going 0-3-0 with a 5.92 goals-against average (12 goals on 43 shots). Hart was in the opening month of his first full NHL season and the Flyers were looking to finally start well in October under a new head coach.

Elliott came in and went 3-0-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .933 save percentage over a four-game stretch, surrendering only seven goals on 104 shots.

When Hart missed nine games because of a right lower abdominal strain from January into February, Elliott went 5-1-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and two shutouts.

The 35-year-old veteran deserves an A- for his timely work this regular season.

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2019-20 Flyers season grades: Travis Konecny

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Travis Konecny

The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October. 

In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances. 

Today we will be looking at Travis Konecny. 

Destra

The Flyers would have been a fraction of the team it was this season without Konecny. You can’t say enough good things about the player he’s becoming. Now, at the end of his fourth season with the Flyers, he’s finally found exactly where he belongs on this roster. 

No. 11 has always been the kind of player to get under the opposing team’s skin — luckily, he’s on the Flyers' side. There was a distinct shift in confidence throughout the 2019-20 season and it was noticeable in all aspects of his game. While it could have something to do with his shiny new six-year contract, he also had a fresh start with the new additions behind the bench. 

Konecny dressed for 66 games this season and posted a team best in points with 61 (24 goals, 37 assists). This is the third straight season he’s ended with 24 goals, but had play not been suspended because of the growing COVID-19 concerns, he would have most likely found himself with a new career high. 

A+ for Konecny — and expectations are most definitely going to be raised moving forward.  

Emmer

This one is an easy grade.

The 2019-20 season was hands down Konecny’s best of his career. He was showing a more confident style that we hadn’t seen before, making more risky plays with the puck, taking more chances and capitalizing — all of which was portrayed in his 61 points in 66 games, which led the team.

He also stepped up on the Flyers’ improved power play this season, recording five goals and 18 assists on the man advantage. He was a spark plug — he consistently brought energy to the bench and to the game, especially when he made it on the score sheet.

His confident play landed him his first All-Star selection and his improved shooting percentage was a major key to the Flyers' offense.

A for Konecny.

Fordyce 

Konecny is an easy grade for me — it’s an obvious A. When Konecny is playing well, it’s infectious and has an effect on the entire team. The energy and spark that No. 11 plays with on a nightly basis is one of the most valuable parts of T.K.'s game.

This was a big growth season for Konecny, too, as he played a more disciplined game and shed some of the bad habits which had cost him and the Flyers in previous seasons with penalties and so forth. That can’t be understated. 

Now let's look at the numbers. In 66 games this season, Konecny equaled his career high in goals and if it were a normal season, it’s a virtual lock that he would have a new career high. Konecny’s 61 points were a career high and while he maintained his status as a scoring threat, he became more of a playmaker, dishing out a career-high 37 assists, 12 more than his previous high. 

This is certainly a player the Flyers will rely on in the future and this season was a huge leap. 

A for Konecny. 

Hall

On the heels of signing a new six-year, $33 million deal, Konecny had six three-point performances in 2019-20 after having a combined two over his first three NHL seasons.

That's big-time growth from a 23-year-old foundation piece.

Konecny led the Flyers in goals (24) and points (61) through 66 games. His 37 assists were a career high and he was one marker away from a new personal best.

The Flyers went 31-9-2 when he recorded at least a point and 10-9-5 when he had gone scoreless.

Konecny deserves an A for taking huge strides and backing up his contract.

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2019-20 Flyers season grades: Kevin Hayes

2019-20 Flyers season grades: Kevin Hayes

The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.

In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.

Today we will be looking at Kevin Hayes. 

Destra

Man oh man am I thrilled to be giving Hayes the grade he’s getting today. This time last year, Flyers fans were beyond the point of disappointment at the signing of the center — it’s safe to say things have taken a turn for the best. The Hayes signing was instantly justified before the 2019-20 season was even in full swing because of the news about Nolan Patrick and his migraine disorder. Had he not been brought in, the lines down the middle would have been very weak. 

Hayes didn’t miss a single one of the 69 games the Flyers played this season. During that time, he racked up an impressive 41 points (23 goals, 18 assists). He also had a career best in shorthanded goals (four) and game-winning goals (five). 

On top of the player he has been on the ice, Hayes has also helped the Flyers in many other ways. He’s a big personality and jumped into a leadership role almost instantly. I’d say he exceeded expectations on the first year of his contract. 

A+ … not bad for a former ref

Emmer

Kevin “I used to ref” Hayes brought a lot of excitement in his first year with the orange and black.

Because of the shortened season, Hayes recorded 23 goals in under 70 games, just two markers short of his career high. His 200-foot style that was anticipated in the preseason thrived in many ways throughout the year, especially on the penalty kill.

Last season, the Flyers' PK ranked 26th in the league, operating at 78.5 percent. This season, the PK ranked 11th at 81.8 percent — Hayes had a lot to do with it. He also led the team with four shorthanded goals — the most in his career.

Offensively, you could argue his consistency could have been stronger. He had a stretch in early November during which he went 10 games without a point and another six-game drought in early February, but when he did end up making it on the score sheet, he was a game-changer. The Flyers were 19-0-1 when Hayes scored a goal during the regular season; he was a spark plug out there. He loved big-game situations, as well — five game-winning goals can attest to that.

Away from his skill, Hayes brought energy, fun off the ice and extremely creative nicknames (very important). 

A- for Hayes.

Fordyce 

Hayes began his Flyers tenure with a big contract and big expectations. Last offseason, Hayes signed a seven-year, $50 million deal, which raised some eyebrows. At that time, Hayes had eclipsed the 20-goal plateau only one time in his career. However, through 69 games this season he had 23 goals, just two short of his career high, and he almost certainly would have bested that if the Flyers had played a full 82 games. 

Hayes delivered the full package to a team that desperately needed that when it signed him after trading for his contractual rights ahead of free agency. His two-way game is his most valuable asset and this season we’ve seen Hayes single-handedly kill penalties by keeping possession of the puck. It’s one thing to sign a big-time deal, it’s another to deliver on the expectations set forth by said deal. Additionally, Hayes is an invaluable member of the team in terms of locker room chemistry.

Hayes gets an A.

Hall

During his first regular season with the Flyers, Hayes more than lived up to the hype and pressure of signing a seven-year, $50 million deal in this city.

While we tend to fixate on offensive production in this game, especially for higher-paid players, Hayes had an immeasurable impact on the Flyers in the locker room, which can be just as important as any statistic.

But statistically speaking, he also did plenty of good things. Not only did the 28-year-old center make the Flyers tougher to play against, but he was also on pace to break his career high of 25 goals (he finished with 23 in 69 games) and did wonders for the team's penalty kill. In fact, Hayes scored four shorthanded goals, the same number the Flyers put up as a team in 2018-19 over a full 82-game season.

An A- for Hayes because his impact has already been felt in a multitude of ways.

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