Philadelphia Flyers: Couturier, Vigneault could take home NHL Awards

With award season underway, a few Flyers could be lucky enough to take home awards.

With the regular season deemed over, the league will begin to cast votes for the annual awards. There’s no word on when or how they will be given out. There are a few Flyers who are likely to be up for some awards.

And it’s possible a few of them could end up winning the award. Most recently, Oskar Lindblom was the Flyers nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy. All 31 teams have a representative for the award.

Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in December and has since been getting treatments in the Philadelphia area.

It’s tough saying who deserves the award because typically it means the player has gone through some type of hardship. But in Lindblom’s case, he has unfortunately gone through something that has tested him.

But he is planning to get back on the ice and has apparently been able to do some light cardio as he rehabs.

There are at least two other Flyers who can makes a great case. And a third who should have his name up there on the list.

The awards that the Flyers should have a good case on are the Selke Trophy, Jack Adams and possibly even General Manager of the Year.

And those would be Sean Couturier, Alain Vigneault and Chuck Fletcher as the potential nominees.

Selke Trophy

Out of the three, Couturier certainly has the best case to finally take home the Selke. Back in April, we wrote about how this was the best season for him to win the award.

He was recognized as the favorite back in January. The players usually looked at are Patrice Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly. There are others who will likely be included on the ballot as well.

The case for the Selke isn’t all about point totals, but Couturier’s performance there doesn’t hurt his case. He did finish lower that last season, but he appeared to be even better on the defensive end.

Not shocking, he was the Flyers best play-driver this season. He led the way at even strength with a 56.25 CF%. He was top five when you look at all situations.

Couturier also plays a significant role on both the power play and penalty kill. He averages just under 20 minutes-per-game and has played over 1,300 minutes total. That is by far the most among Flyers forwards.

He also has not missed a game this season. His durability has been a key factor to the Flyers last season resurgence. And it’s clear that he plays a big role for the team no matter what is asked of him.

O’Reilly will once again likely be his biggest competition for the award. The two grade out similarly in just about every category.

Jack Adams Award

Vigneaut is expected to be among the favorites to take home the Jack Adams Award. He came to Philadelphia with a goal of bringing the Flyers back to being a contending force in the league.

And they were looking just like that before the season was paused in March. Winners of nine of their last ten, this team was threatening to take over first in the Metro.

They earned themselves a top spot in the East and a bye going into the first round. They can finish no lower than fourth and can even climb to the top spot.

And Vigneault was able to do that while losing budding stars in Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom. He was able to get a career season out of Travis Konecny despite the young forward not being signed until the middle of training camp.

And he was able to guide the team out of a horrific West Coast road trip after the Flyers learned of Lindblom’s diagnosis. But Vigneault didn’t have to deal with a lengthy list of injuries or lost players like some of his competition.

John Tortorella is almost certainly the favorite to win the award. He lost Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene in free agency. No one was giving them a chance after failing to keep any of the three.

The Blue Jackets also saw themselves hit by injuries to key players. Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Josh Anderson and Cam Atkinson. And they had two goaltenders in net that were extremely unproven.

Despite all of that, the Blue Jackets were on the cusp of a playoff spot and will get a chance to make it to the first round.

Mike Sullivan and the Pittsburgh Penguins were hit extremely hard by injuries. Sidney Crosby was out of the lineup for months. They lost Jake Guentzel for the remainder of the season. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang also missed time.

And even though they were struggling towards the end of the season, they had built enough of a cushion to secure third place in the Metro. They do have to win a play-in round to move on, though.

But losing almost every key player in your lineup and still finishing that high in the division? Something is going right for you.

So while Vigneault doesn’t have that going for him, he took a team that was struggling to become relevant and turned them around in just one season.

It might be hard for him to win the award, but he certainly should be among the finalists.

General Manager of the Year

And lastly, Fletcher has made a case for GM of the Year with some of the moves he made this past offseason.

He sent Radko Gudas to the Washington Capitals and brought in veteran Matt Niskanen. And the move paid off right away for the Flyers. Niskanen seemed to develop chemistry immediately with Ivan Provorov. The two formed one of the best duos in the league.

He added in another veteran in Justin Braun. He isn’t a flashy player, but is able to get the job down. Braun helped sure down depth on the Flyers backend. His steady presence was noticeable, even if this could be his only season with the team.

Fletcher also added more depth to the team by bringing in Derek Grant and Nate Thompson at the trade deadline. Grant was in the midst of a career season and allowed the Flyers to move Scott Laughton back to wing. Thompson brought in more veteran leadership and postseason experience.

He also sured up some of the young talent on the team, signing Konecny and Provorov to lengthy deals. Not to mention bringing in Vigneaut as head coach along with Mike Yeo and Michel Therrien as assistants.

But Fletcher’s biggest move was bringing in Kevin Hayes on a lengthy deal. The move was initially criticized specifically for the amount of years on the deal. Signing a seven-year contract comes with lofty expectations.

And it took a little for Hayes to start living up to that. He had just one point in his first six games. And through 20 games? Hayes has just seven points. It would get better for him, though.

His biggest asset was his puck possession. It played a big role on the penalty kill especially. That’s where he seemed to do the most damage. Whether it was being able to kill time off the clock or even adding in a few shorthanded goals.

And he was very likely to earn a new career high in goals. He was three shy with 13 games to go. Hayes already had four goals in his last seven games.

Fletcher’s biggest competition for the award is likely to be Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche. Sakic took a team that was barely sneaking into the playoffs and turned them into a powerhouse in the Western Conference.

He also made his biggest moves during free agency. He brought in Andre Burakovsky and was part of a blockbuster trade that brought in Nazem Kadri. A deadline deal also gave the Avalanche Vladislav Namestnikov.

But Fletcher turned around a team that looked like they were declining fast. And the fact that he has done so in one season should be a big point in his favor.

No matter how any of these awards go, it’s impressive that the case can be made for these Flyers. The team has turned themselves around in just one season and look like they could be a true contender in the very near future.