The Philadelphia Flyers will be handing out their season awards before the team’s season finale with Ottawa on Saturday. Here are Metro’s picks for who should win the hardware.
Bobby Clarke Trophy (Most Valuable Player): Steve Mason
The Flyers goalie had the best season of his career. The win-loss totals (18-17-11 heading into Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes) don’t measure up but they are deceiving due to a lack of offensive support. Barring a poor finish in the final two games, Mason will finish with his best goal-against average and save percentage (.928) of his career, which ranks third in the league.
While this award could easily go to Jakub Voracek, who leads the NHL in assists and is two points off the scoring leaders, Mason was the reason the Flyers had any sniff at the playoffs in late March and on most nights even a chance to win.
Barry Ashbee Award (Outstanding defenseman): Nick Schultz
Originally signed as a seventh or eighth defenseman, the veteran stepped into the lineup in the second game of the year for an injured Braydon Coburn and never left. He didn’t bring much offense to the table (2 goals, 13 assists) but provided steady play as a stay-at-home defenseman. He is a plus-2 and has been the team’s most consistent blue liner. His reward was a two-year, $4.5 million contract extension in February.
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most improved): Michael Del Zotto
The Flyers defenseman spent almost the entire summer unsigned until Ron Hextall gave him a call in August. However, the prime reason the Flyers GM reached out was he desperately needed a puck-carrying defenseman after Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots.
The move has paid off as the former Ranger and Predator has resurrected his career in the second half of the season and went into Thursday’s game with 10 goals and 22 assists.
Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award (Character, dignity and respect on and fff the ice): Jakub Voracek
The first-time all-star should win this award for the second straight year. His does a ton of charitable work, especially with kids, and has earned the respect of teammates and opponents.
Gene Hart Memorial Award (Player with the most heart): Wayne Simmonds
The forward will probably finish as the team leader in goals for the second straight year but it’s not because he possesses sniper-like skills. Simmonds, who did show an uncanny knack for scoring in shootouts this season, earned his goals doing the dirty work in the trenches, especially on the power play. Had it not been for a late-season lower-body injury, he would have likely set a career high in goals.