Grading the Flyers

Posted: May 06, 2014

Changes coming for the Flyers this summer because, well, even the Stanley Cup champions will have a different roster next season. Such is life in a salary-capped world. With a look back at the season and one eye on the future, here is a player-by-player view of the Flyers (listed in salary order):

FORWARDS

Claude Giroux

Age: 26

Key stat: 79 points in final 67 games

Yearly contract: $8.275 million through 2021-22

Grade: A

Scoop: The Flyers' first Hart Trophy

finalist since 1996 started slow but picked his team up and carried them to a playoff berth. He was checked tightly against the Rangers, didn't get a lot of help from teammates, but finished with a team-high six points in seven playoff games. Begins new, 8-year, $66.2 million deal this fall.

Scott Hartnell

Age: 32

Key stat: 9.7 percent - worst shooting percentage since 2009-10

Yearly contract: $4.75 million through 2018-19

Grade: C+

Scoop: Hartnell still managed 20 goals, but it was far from the 37-goal production he enjoyed in 2011-12, which earned him his 6-year extension. Very quiet in playoffs. Flyers need more production from first-line left winger.

Vinny Lecavalier

Age: 34

Key stat: 75 minutes played in seven playoff games

Yearly contract: $4.5 million through 2017-18

Grade: D

Scoop: Last summer's high-priced acquisition left a lot to be desired. Struggled at left wing, made it clear he preferred center, but didn't produce enough to warrant a top-6 role. Still netted 20 goals. Flyers need to put him in a position to succeed.

Jake Voracek

Age: 24

Key stat: Career-high 62 points, 39 assists

Yearly contract: $4.25 million through 2015-16

Grade: B

Scoop: Like Giroux, his linemate, Voracek was quiet to start, but put together an overall solid season. He is still just 24 and his most valuable asset to Craig Berube is his speed and ability to carry the puck into the zone to set up on power play. Finished with eight power-play goals.

Wayne Simmonds

Age: 25

Key stat: Career-high goals (29), assists (31) and points (60)

Yearly contract: $3.975 million through 2018-19

Grade: B+

Scoop: One of the league's most underrated players in the regular season. Exploded with his Game 6 hat trick, but was not able to establish his usual net-front presence against Rangers, leaving him with a sour taste for the summer.

Matt Read

Age: 27

Key stat: Four shorthanded goals

Yearly contract: $3.625 million through 2017-18

Grade: B

Scoop: Read still has not matched his rookie year (2011-12) totals of 24 goals and 23 assists, but he will garner interest this summer from teams. He played an ideal third-line role with Sean Couturier and the two were able to develop an important chemistry. Joining Canada at World Championships this week.

Steve Downie

Age: 27

Key stat: Three possible concussions

Yearly contract: Unrestricted free agent ($2.65 million)

Grade: Incomplete

Scoop: Refuse to judge Downie after Flyers' revelation he had zero hearing in one ear for most of the year, stemming from Nov. 1 fight that left him with a severe concussion and hospitalized. Never was completely healthy in his 51 games, but wanted to battle through it.

Sean Couturier

Age: 21

Key stat: Career-high 39 points

Yearly contract: $1.75 million through 2015-16

Grade: B-minus

Scoop: Averaged more than 19 minutes per game, up more than 3 minutes from his career high. Craig Berube sent him back to defense-first mentality after Peter Laviolette focused on offensive production.

Defensive stats were not superb but he played against high quality of competition.

Michael Raffl

Age: 25

Key stat: On ice for 69 more shot attempts than allowed

Yearly contract: $1.1 million through 2015-16

Grade: A

Scoop: Grade based on fact he was a complete unknown at this point last summer. Jumped from Sweden's second league all the way to NHL. Long year with Olympics, but used speed to make every line better and finished with Giroux and Voracek in Game 7.

Brayden Schenn

Age: 22

Key stat: 0.50 point-per-game average

Yearly contract: Restricted free agent ($870,000)

Grade: C+

Scoop: One of the Flyers' seven 20-goal scorers, Schenn was a streaky scorer who went cold in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This was still just his first full, 82-game season. Consistency will be key. Many teams will be checking with general manager Paul Holmgren this summer about Schenn's availability. Joining Canada at World Championships this week.

Zac Rinaldo

Age: 23

Key stat: Whistled for 42 minors, drew 28 penalties

Yearly contract: $750,000 through next season

Grade: C+

Scoop: Kept a lot of his aggression in check, but still took inopportune penalties at crippling times. Harnessed his speed to be a useful fourth-line player. Grew with puck possession and stickhandling. Craig Berube loves his energy and emotion.

Jason Akeson

Age: 23

Key stat: Two goals in seven playoff games

Yearly contract: Restricted free agent ($715,000)

Grade: B

Scoop: Found a spot in Craigt Berube's lineup with Steve Downie injured. His speed was a revelation in the playoffs. One of the few Flyers consistently generating shots and scoring chances. Knocked off the puck easily. Needs a big summer to solidify spot on the roster.

Jay Rosehill

Age: 28

Key stat: Career-high 10 fighting majors

Yearly contract: $675,000 through next season

Grade: C+

Scoop: Utilized by Craig Berube against tougher opponents, Rosehill served his role as enforcer admirably. Well-liked player in the locker room. True professional despite being scratched for 48 games. Likely to play same role next year, on as-needed basis.

Adam Hall

Age: 33

Key stat: Team-high 59.6 faceoff percentage

Yearly contract: Unrestricted free agent ($600,000)

Grade: B

Scoop: Earned himself an NHL contract next season, whether it is with the Flyers or elsewhere. Could be bumped by Scott Laughton if he is ready to make the jump to NHL. Struggled with plus/minus (-15) but was second on the team in shorthanded time on ice (238:13).

DEFENSE

Kimmo Timonen

Age: 39

Key stat: 19 power-play assists

Yearly contract: Unrestricted free agent ($6 million)

Grade: B

Scoop: Still the Flyers' overall best defender, Timonen definitely lost a step in his stride this season. Averaged 20:20 minutes per game, lowest since his rookie year in 1998-99. Flyers will have a spot for him if he wants to keep playing. Says he will decide in "2, 3, or 4 weeks.''

Mark Streit

Age: 36

Key stat: 44 points from the blue line

Yearly contract: $5.25 million through 2016-17

Grade: B+

Scoop: Adjusted quite well to the Flyers after a slow start. Used his smooth stride to join the rush, helping make Flyers dangerous team offensively. First "plus" season since 2008-09 with Islanders. Doesn't have a lot of miles on him and can chew up minutes if Timonen retires.

Andrew MacDonald

Age: 27

Key stat: NHL leader in blocked shots (242)

Yearly contract: $5 million through 2019-20

Grade: C+

Scoop: Struggled mightily in the playoffs, once the Flyers ramped up his minutes and responsibilities. Looked strong when they eased him in after March 4 trade from Islanders. All eyes will be on him as he begins 6-year, $30 million deal this fall following 26-game audition.

Braydon Coburn

Age: 29

Key stat: Minus-6 in playoffs

Yearly contract: $4.5 million through 2015-16

Grade: C

Scoop: The Flyers' best skater was far from his best during the first round of the playoffs. His decision-making is what keeps him from becoming an elite defender. Drew some interest last summer on trade market and could well be another target this year.

Luke Schenn

Age: 24

Key stat: Plus-4 since joining Flyers in 2012, including playoffs

Yearly contract: $3.6 million through 2015-16

Grade: B

Scoop: Grade is skewed toward a strong playoff series, when Schenn was calm and composed with the puck on his stick. Ramped up his play as the season went along. Finally broke a 436-game slump without playoff appearance. Hard worker and comfortable in his own game.

Nick Grossmann

Age: 29

Key stat: Career-high 14 points

Yearly contract: $3.5 million through 2015-16

Grade: B-minus

Scoop: Finished in the top 10 in league in blocked shots with 174 during the regular season. He struggled with turnovers at times, but helped himself with strong positioning. Improved in moving the puck quicker, even if his skating was not as fast. True warrior on the ice, will have to bounce back from right ankle tendon surgery.

Erik Gustafsson

Age: 25

Key stat: Career-high 31 games played

Yearly contract: Restricted free agent ($1 million)

Grade: C-minus

Scoop: Never broke through to beat out Andrej Meszaros for the Flyers' No. 6 defensive role. Struggled with consistency, though impressed in the playoffs. Likely to be on the same bubble on the roster next season - especially with Shayne Gostisbehere pressing for a spot.

Hal Gill

Age: 39

Key stat: 22 players mentored

Yearly contract: Unrestricted free agent ($750,000)

Grade: B+

Scoop: Big influence in the dressing room. Served in mentoring role for younger players, particularly on defense. Remained in meticulous shape and condition despite few games played. Serviceable in playoffs. Likely to retire after 1,108-game career.

GOALTENDERS

Steve Mason

Age: 25

Key stat: Career-best 33 wins

Yearly contract: $4.1 million through 2016-17

Grade: B+

Scoop: Training camp began with an open competition and Mason seized the moment, bouncing back with 2.50 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Earned 3-year contract extension. Excellent in postseason, outdueling Henrik Lundqvist in three of his four starts after concussion.

Ray Emery

Age: 31

Key stat: .903 save percentage

Yearly contract: Unrestricted free agent ($1.65 million)

Grade: B

Scoop: Battled every game he was in net, including against stiff competition over the last 6 weeks of the regular season to help Flyers to the playoffs, where he filled in three games for Mason. Unclear as to whether he will return next season. Paul Holmgren has held negotiations with Emery's agent.

NOTES

Next season's salary cap is expected to be between $69 million-$70 million, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, dependent upon the Canadian dollar . . . Frequent call-ups Chris VandeVelde, Tye McGinn, Kris Newbury not included. Andrej Meszaros and Max Talbot, traded during the season, were also not graded . . .

Contract buyouts paid this season include:

Ilya Bryzgalov ($1,642,857), Danny Briere ($833,333), Oskars Bartulis ($100,000).


On Twitter: @DNFlyers

Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers

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