With the season halfway over, it's time to assign some midseason grades to the Flyers. Which players are earning good grades, and which ones may need some extra credit to pass? Today, we'll look at the forwards.
Travis Konecny: This is an easy one. Konecny is showing that last year was no fluke. He's picked right up from where he left off and, as long as he stays healthy, should shatter all of the career highs he set last season. He leads the team with 39 points and has 21 goals already. He's been in the top 10 in several offensive categories for most of the season and leads the league in shorthanded goals. Let's hope Daniel Briere is working on his extension papers. He is the undisputed offensive leader this team needs.
Joel Farabee: Farabee is another guy who is on pace to shatter career records. He has 14 goals already, with his career high being 20. He is just seven points away from breaking his career high of 39. His two-goal performance the other night is showing he is growing into one of the Flyers' go-to guys. This kid's future is bright. He's just 23 years old.
Sean Couturier: If Konecny is the offensive leader, Couturier is the heart and soul of this team. After missing all of last year and half of the previous season, he hasn't missed a step. Couturier is easily entering himself into the Selke Trophy conversation. He is on pace for another 20-goal season. You can tell the Flyers missed him last year. All concerns about what he had left in the tank have been wiped away.
Owen Tippett: Every time Tippett steps onto the ice, the Flyers look as if they stole him away from Florida (and remember, we get their first-rounder this year too.) Only Konency has more goals than his 15. He is on pace to come close to a 30-goal season. He is thriving under John Tortorella and looks as if he is having fun here.
Bobby Brink: The kid missed a season due to injury. It was unclear if he would make the roster. After turning heads in offseason camps and training camp, he showed he had the stuff to play in Philly. He started hot, but it has come in streaks. He was recently scratched to give him a night off and rest himself. Still, he's been one of the top 10 rookies all season in the NHL. He's got a bright future ahead of him if he keeps developing like this. He's got guts and grit.
Tyson Foerster: Foerster is another rookie who amazed during camp and has been playing hard. He's been a pleasant surprise and has been contributing alongside some cagey vets. He's not scoring every night, nor is he an offensive juggernaut. However, he's a rookie who has stayed on the roster all season and missed just one game. He's impressing the people who matter.
Cam Atkinson: Much like Couturier, he's coming back from being injured the entire previous season. And just like Couturier, nobody knew what he had left in the tank. He started this year on fire. He's cooled down as of late, but he is still extremely valuable to this team. He's a great team leader, and his hockey intelligence is unquestioned.
Scott Laughton: He's not putting up the offensive numbers he had last year, but a lot of that was due to him playing on the top two lines. He's spent most of this season on the third line. He's behind in goals scored, but his assists are on pace for a career-high. He's also been a great mentor for the younger players.
Morgan Frost: He's the big enigma this season. He's been a healthy scratch in 10 games. He has yet to show the promise he showed when he was selected in the first round in 2017. Frost is not a bad player, but he's not a great one either. However, if he doesn't get a chance to play, how can he get better? He has spurts where it looks like he is going to break out. Then he disappears for a few. Everyone wants to see Frost succeed. When you are a first round pick, more is asked of you.
Ryan Poehling: Poehling is the third man on the powerful fourth line for Philly. Last year, the fourth line was where rookies and castaways were dumped. This year, they have been quite effective. Poehling has also spent time on the penalty kill unit, where he has a shorthanded goal this year. He may have a career year here in points if he keeps at this pace. He's been a solid pickup this year.
Nicolas Deslauriers: Last season, he was the toughest of NHL tough guys. He made it fun for Flyers fans to watch games. He ended up being among the league leaders in fights and penalty minutes. Deslauriers is currently second in the league with six fights, but he has amassed only 46 penalty minutes. He brings a physical presence to this team, and he is part of a strong fourth line.
Garnet Hathaway: He was kind of a throwaway pick-up during the offseason. What can he do? Along with Deslauriers, he's part of a very competent fourth-line unit. He's played very physically and is in the top five in penalty minutes in the league. He's been a pretty good offseason acquisition this season. He's not here to score but to punish opposing players. He's good at that.
Noah Cates: He's missed most of this season due to a broken foot. Even when he was playing, it's like he's taken a step back. Maybe it is because he wasn't forced to play top-line minutes due to injuries to centers like Couturier and Laughton. Last year, he looked like the next great center for the franchise. He's still young, but he's been better.
Incomplete Grades: Olle Lycksel (1 game), Rhett Gardner (1 game)
Overall Forward Score: B --- The Flyers' forwards have been playing well. While they are not lighting the lamp as much as they could (or should), outside of Konecny, this is a strong unit. Depth wise, they are just about as good as anyone in the NHL when you consider their age.