2013-14 Grades for Philadelphia Flyers Stars Ahead of the Olympic Break
The Philadelphia Flyers are a heck of a difficult team to figure out. They look great one night and awful the next.
It makes it hard to give players grades with such inconsistent performances, and it's difficult to quantify more than half of a season's worth of play into one number, but that's what I'll attempt here.
With the Olympic break coming up, it'll be a time to reflect on how the season has gone so far and assess what needs to improve heading forward.
Here are 2013-14 grades for Philadelphia Flyers stars ahead of the Olympic break.
After his insane goal drought to start the season, Claude Giroux has certainly made up for it over the past couple months with his stellar play.
He's now back to averaging nearly a point-per-game and has looked a lot more confident. If he had played at his recent pace all season, he would have a much better grade.
But as it stands, his first half of the 2013-14 was just about average for Giroux. Flyers fans will hope he takes more steps forwards in the future and avoids droughts like the one that plagued him early on.
Vincent Lecavalier has been hampered by injuries this season, which should make everyone nervous considering his health issues in the past and the fact that his contract runs for five years, until he's 38.
With 22 points in 44 games, Lecavalier is scoring this season at roughly the same pace as fellow free-agent acquisition Mark Streit, and although the defenseman has been good this season, that's still not what Lecavalier (or the Flyers) want.
He actually started off pretty hot, but then slowed down once he got hurt. He has just eight points since Dec. 21 when he came back from injury.
I even mentioned his recent disappearance from the stat sheet in my last article, because he's that important to Philadelphia. Lecavalier has to figure out his spot in the lineup and start contributing more regularly.
Who would have guessed that Wayne Simmonds would be second on the team in points and tied for the team lead in goals at this stage in the season?
He's got 18 tallies to go along with 22 assists and has been on multiple hot streaks so far this season. He scored seven goals in five games at the end of December and had 26 points in December and January combined.
Despite all the scoring, Simmonds has still been his usual physical self, battling in front of the net and scrapping when need be.
Jakub Voracek had a breakout campaign in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring 46 points in 48 games and carrying the team at times.
He suffered through a scoring drought (like everyone else) at the beginning of the season, and his scoring pace this season is significantly less than last year's, with 39 points in 57 games.
I asked the question on Monday if Voracek could elevate his game after the Olympic break, and for the Flyers' sake, they better hope he does.
He hasn't necessarily been bad, but he just hasn't been anywhere near as dominant as he was last season. Everyone was hoping for another step forward, but instead he has plateaued.
This may seem a bit harsh of a grade, as Brayden Schenn is fifth on the team in points. But 31 points in 57 games is hardly outstanding, and Schenn has been really inconsistent.
Unlike Sean Couturier, who has a ton of value outside the stat sheet, Schenn is supposed to make his biggest contributions by creating scoring chances.
While Schenn does bring energy a lot of the time, there are periods where he's been really invisible on the ice. His tendency to disappear for stretches is concerning.
He has just one point in his last nine games. We're all waiting for that breakthrough, that explosion, and it just hasn't happened yet.
Look at Sean Couturier's stats sheet, and this grade may seem extremely high. Twenty-six points in 57 games isn't bad, but it isn't exactly awe-inspiring.
But Couturier's value doesn't just come from scoring, which is hard for some fans to accept, but is just a fact. His game just isn't a flashy one.
He's also still just 21 years old. He's had a very good season and is still improving all the time.
What to make of Scott Hartnell? At the end of November, when he had just eight points in 22 games and looked completely helpless at times, I was ready to give him away for a bag of pucks.
But then he suddenly revived his game, and he now has 36 points in 53 games. After an unbelievable assist drought extending back into next year, he's registered 22 assists this season, which is an encouraging sign.
Hartnell still takes way too many dumb penalties, however, and is a turnover machine. But he's a big body who is a huge part of the locker room, and when he's scoring like he has been recently then he definitely has some value.
Hopefully he continues scoring. If he tails back off, then he may get run out of town this summer. But for now, his offense gets him a favorable grade.