Flyers Finally Flirting with NHL Awards

The success of the Philadelphia Flyers this season is obvious and apparent. It’s real, it’s unavoidable, and frankly, it’s a lot of fun to watch. There’s a multitude of things behind the Flyers’ newfound secret to success and they’ve all helped create one of the best Flyers teams we’ve seen in recent memory.

Although the Flyers wouldn’t be here without the complete success of the team, their season has been marked by several individual success stories as well.

Sean Couturier Oskar Lindblom Philippe Myers
Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Couturier celebrates with Philippe Myers and Oskar Lindblom (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It’s been quite some time since any member of the Flyers brought home any kind of NHL hardware. This season, they have a chance to not only put an end to an extensive period free of awarded individual success but do so while ending an even longer streak since multiple team members simultaneously enjoyed that type of recognition for their efforts.

Awards Drought

Although it feels like someone should’ve been awarded some kind of individual trophy more recently, the Flyers are on the brink of a decade without any individual awards. The last person to win an NHL award wasn’t Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, or Simon Gagne, but actually now-assistant coach Ian Laperriere.

“Lappy” was awarded the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy Back in the 2010-11 season for his perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport. However, that was the only individual recognition the Flyers received over the past decade.

Flyers’ assistant coach Ian Laperriere (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Even last season, the Flyers technically didn’t win any awards, although Wayne Simmonds was awarded the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. Wherever you look, Simmonds is credited as being a member of the Nashville Predators when he won the award, and thus the drought persisted. The drought is even more astonishing when you look back to the last time a Flyer won an award recognizing their success at their position in the form of awards like the Hart, Norris, or Vezina Trophies.

It’s been much longer since multiple Flyers earned individual awards, dating all the way back to 1974-75 season when Bobby Clarke won the Hart Memorial Trophy and Bernie Parent brought home the Vezina Trophy. However, the current Flyers team offers an opportunity to break that agonizing streak and put all those years behind them.

Potential Winners

Even with all of the success, the Flyers have had this season, don’t expect this to be the year that they finally bring home another Hart or Vezina Trophy.

The potential winners this year aren’t necessarily going to bring home the flashiest of awards, but that doesn’t mean a few members of the squad aren’t favorites to bring home some hardware. So, let’s finally take a look at which members of the red hot Flyers are poised to end a long and award-less drought in Philadelphia.

Alain Vigneault

There’s not much more that Flyers fans could ask out of the first-year skipper Alain Vigneault. Along with leading them to a much improved 38-20-7 record this season, Vigneault has also managed to unite a locker room that felt broken after such a disappointing finish in the 2018-19 season.

Related: Jack Adams, the Man and the Award

The life that he’s brought to the team was something that was certainly missing towards the end of the Dave Hakstol era and something the team desperately needed. All the players are clearly behind him and can agree on the fact that he’s earned a nomination for the Jack Adams Award for the league’s top head coach.

Alain Vigneault Chuck Fletcher Philadelphi Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and general manager Chuck Fletcher (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

As they currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division in a year based around improvement, the Flyers have struck gold in Vigneault. While he’s already entered his name into the Jack Adams discussion, he still acknowledges the growth and improvements his team still has to make to succeed in the postseason.

If Vigneault were to bring home the Jack Adams Trophy, he’d be the first Flyers bench boss to do so since Bill Barber in the 2000-01 season. As award discussions heat up towards the end of the regular season, don’t be surprised to see Alain Vigneault’s name amongst the favorites for best coach.

Sean Couturier

For a long time, it seemed like Flyers’ forward Sean Couturier hadn’t found his bearings in the NHL which had a large contingent of Flyers fans calling for him to be traded. Now, it’s clear that that couldn’t be further from the truth and Couturier has emerged as one of the best two-way centers in the entire NHL.

Over the past couple of years, Couturier’s name has been a constant in the discussion for the Frank J. Selke Trophy. Awarded to the forward who best demonstrates skill on the defensive end of the play, the Selke perfectly fits everything Couturier does.

Couturier’s season, highlighted with 21 goals, 37 assists, and a plus-20 rating, has once again wrapped his name in the discussion for the Selke. Back in January, he was even deemed the mid-season favorite for the award by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Related: Flyers’ Couturier Remains Well-Kept Secret

Perhaps this year is finally the year for Couturier to bring home some personal hardware. With the Flyers playing as well as they are, the added attention around the team has earned him even more recognition than usual. A Selke award is long overdue for the 27-year-old center and anyone familiar with Couturier’s style of play can agree he’s more than worthy of a win.

Finishing Strong

The potential for Vigneault and Couturier to actually win the Jack Adams and Selke Trophies is entirely dependent on how the Flyers finish the regular season. At the moment, they’re playing the best hockey we’ve seen all season and are a serious threat to overtake the Metro Division crown.

Carter Hart Sean Couturier Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart and Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Although both are certainly more focused on getting back to the playoffs, their success up to this point clearly earns them consideration for either award.

They’ve both helped pull the Flyers out of what felt like a mediocre couple of years, and have exceeded the expectations everyone had for this season. If one of them, if not both, were also able to bring home some hardware to complement such a fantastically improved season, well that’d just be the cherry on top.