With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League’s 31 teams.
Today, the award-worthy candidates for the Philadelphia Flyers at the pause:
The Philadelphia Flyers have persevered, going from an inconsistent start to the season to second place in the Metropolitan Division when the NHL paused the season.
An inspired 19-6-1 run since Jan. 8 has them one point behind the first-place Washington Capitals.
Alain Vigneault, in his first season as Flyers coach, has implemented his preferred playing style and figured out successful line combinations and defense pairs. The players have bought in and contributions have come from the entire lineup.
To showcase the best performances this season, here are the top players in various categories:
Sean Couturier is the Flyers’ most indispensable and valuable player. There isn’t a situation during a game when the center won’t be used, whether it’s 5-on-5, the first power play or at the start of a penalty kill. He’s on the ice when the Flyers need a goal or are defending a lead late in a game. He’s second on the Flyers with 59 points (Travis Konecny, 61), third with 22 goals (Konecny, 24; Kevin Hayes, 23) and first with a plus-21 rating, and his average of 19:50 of ice time per game is first among their forwards.
Forward Joel Farabee is one of six Flyers to make his NHL debut this season, but the 20-year-old has by far had the biggest impact. The No. 14 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft has played a top-six role for much of the season and has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 52 games.
Ivan Provorov has become a franchise defenseman at age 23. After an inconsistent 2018-19 when he finished with a minus-14 even-strength goal differential and an NHL career-low 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists), he’s rebounded with a plus-11 goal differential and 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists). He is averaging a Flyers-high 24:50 of ice time per game and is a big reason why Philadelphia is allowing the fewest shots on goal per game in the NHL (28.7).
Couturier plays against every team’s best line and more than holds his own. Among players to take more than 700 face-offs, he leads the NHL with a winning percentage of 59.6 percent. He’s won 53.5 percent of shorthanded face-offs and 60.4 percent of defensive-zone face-offs. Couturier is plus-23 in even-strength goal differential, 13th among NHL forwards.
Goalie Brian Elliott missed three months last season recovering from a lower-body injury and had 11 wins in 26 games. Healthy this season, he’s been a solid backup to Carter Hart, going 16-7-4 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 31 games.