Flyers

Wayne Simmonds still has 'a lot more to prove' after winning Bobby Clarke Trophy

Wayne Simmonds still has 'a lot more to prove' after winning Bobby Clarke Trophy

There were no surprises on a couple of the Flyers' team awards given out on Saturday prior to their 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (see game story).

Wayne Simmonds won the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team MVP, while rookie Ivan Provorov won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, which is awarded to the club's best defenseman. Both awards are given by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"I'm a person who tries to get better every year, every day," said Simmonds, who leads the Flyers with 30 goals and has led the team in goal scoring four years now.

"I don't think I really had too many expectations, I just came into it, worked hard and tried to get as far as I could.
 
"I think I've done a pretty good job thus far and hopefully I can play well into my 30s, I've got a lot more improving to do and a lot more to prove and I look forward to it."

Simmonds made his first career appearance at the NHL All-Star Game this season and was named the game's MVP after scoring three goals, including the game-winner in the 3-on-3 final against the Pacific Division.

Simmonds also won the Toyota Cup for the most votes this season in the "Three Stars of the Game."
 
Provorov, 20 and just a rookie, leads the Flyers in average ice time with 21:56. He's the youngest Barry Ashbee winner in franchise history, eclipsing last season's winner, Shayne Gostisbehere.

This is the second consecutive year that a rookie has received the award.

"It means a lot," Provorov said of the honor. "It was a huge honor. Lots of good defensemen won this award in the past. I couldn't have done this alone without my teammates -- all the D partners I have played with.
 
"So just a huge thanks to them. We will keep getting better. I will keep getting better and we will see what happens."

Defenseman Radko Gudas won the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Award as the most improved Flyer, as voted by his teammates.

Gudas was often out of control a season ago on the ice, always looking to make a hit, even if it wasn't there, instead of making a hockey play.
 
He reduced his penalty minutes from 116 to 93, and his 23 points are nine more than last season in nine fewer games (67). He is currently sidelined with a concussion.

Goalie Steve Mason won the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award, as given by the PHWA to the athlete who best represents the club on and off the ice and with the media.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare won the Gene Hart Memorial Award, as voted by the Flyers' Fan Club. It goes to the player with the most "heart."
 
"Unbelievable," Bellemare said. "I wasn't expecting it. I was talking to G [Claude Giroux], talking about who was going to get it. He probably knew but didn't say anything. That was fun, real fun."

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

usa_ray_emery_flyers.jpg
USA Today Images

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers. 

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

usa_danick_martell_tyrell_goulbourne_taylor_leier.jpg
USA Today Images

Flyers' Danick Martel accepts qualifying offer; team re-signs Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne

Updated: 9:44 p.m.

Three young forwards will all be staying in the Flyers organization, at least for one more year.

Sunday, the team announced that Danick Martel accepted his qualifying offer on a one-year contract, and that restricted free agents Taylor Leier and Tyrell Goulbourne signed one-year deals.

Restricted free agent goalie Anthony Stolarz has also accepted his qualifying offer of $761,250, according to a report from John Hoven. Stolarz, 24, played in just one game for the Phantoms in the 2017-18 season after undergoing surgery on a meniscus tear last summer. A second-round pick by the Flyers in the 2012 draft, Stolarz went 18-9 and posted a 2.92 goals against average with Lehigh Valley in 2016-17.

Though the team didn't include any salary details, Martel's deal is reportedly a two-way contract worth $715,000.

The 23-year-old Martel made his NHL debut last season, finishing with no points and six shots over four games. He scored a career-best 25 goals for Lehigh Valley.

With Leier, the Flyers avoided a possible arbitration hearing. According to CapFriendly, Leier's contract is a one-way deal for $720,000. Leier's hearing was scheduled for Aug. 3. The team also earlier avoided a hearing with Alex Lyon, their other player who filed for arbitration, signing the goalie to a two-year deal.

A fourth-round selection in 2012, Leier had one goal and four assists in 39 regular-season games with the Flyers as a rookie.

Goulbourne, who made his NHL debut on Jan. 6, appeared in nine regular-season contests, with 15 hits.

If Stolarz is indeed back in the fold, Robert Hagg would be the team's only remaining restricted free agent. 

More on the Flyers