Flyers First Half Report Card: Grading the Flyers 41 games in

The first half of the season has come and gone for the Flyers and they are both in a good spot and still in some trouble.

On the positive side, the Flyers do not have a steep climb to the final playoff spot, sitting just two points back of the Boston Bruins after Wednesday's win in the game that marked the halfway point.

On the other hand, the Flyers still sit seventh in the Metropolitan Division and are ahead of only three teams in the Eastern Conference. Again, on the plus side, the Flyers have games at hand on every team ahead of them in the standings, but those games at hand only matter if you take advantage of the available points.

Still, there has been a noticeable improvement in the Flyers overall this season, and a lot of it can be contributed to new faces and some of the usual suspects who have the Flyers in a position to make a second-half run.

Before the Flyers get the second half started on Saturday, here are grades for all Flyers players from the first half of the season.


Claude Giroux – In a year where his point production hasn't come on a night-in, night-out basis, but he still leads the team with 33 points and has grown even further in his role as a leader. A

Jake Voracek – A down year points-wise given his slow start, but he has turned the corner on the points production and looks rejuvenated having returned to the top line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. B+

Wayne Simmonds – Possibly the most consistent Flyer this season, Simmonds has been a force in several games, particularly when the Flyers needed it most. A

Sean Couturier – Once he settled in to the second-line role and found consistent linemates in Brayden Schenn and Michael Raffl, Couturier is starting to show his potential as one of the best two-way centers in the game. A-

Brayden Schenn – He's still a streaky scorer, but he's taken strides in becoming a little more consistent. B

Michael Raffl – At one point in time, he was regarded as a potential 25 to 30-goal scorer if he stayed on the top line with Giroux and Voracek. He's been bounced around the lineup and is just now settling in with the second line. But it took a long time to get that figured out. C+

Scott Laughton – Laughton's 12 points look good when stacked up against the rest of the Flyers — good for eighth on the team — but the former first-round pick of the Flyers hasn't been able to shake a fourth-line role and might be better off if he got top-line minutes in the minors. C

Matt Read – Again, another guy who had to bounce around and go in and out of the lineup to find his place. He's started to heat up after a benching, but it's important to remember what got him a night off in the first place. C

R.J. Umberger – Umberger's days with the Flyers are numbered. They probably won't be able to trade him given his contract, but he's almost a sure buy out at the end of the season. Umberger also hasn't scored in 43 games. D-

Ryan White – The Flyers probably have more goals out of White than they would expect, but he's had an up-and-down year with penalties. He fits a role the Flyers need, but he's had his share of struggles. C+

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – As a role player, he's grown into one of the better defensive forwards on the team. That said, one of his best attributes last season was on the penalty kill, which has collectively struggled all season. C+

Chris VandeVelde – After serving as part of a successful penalty-killing tandem last season and netting nine goals, perhaps the addition of his former college coach Dave Hakstol would help him take his game to another level. It's been a very disappointing year from VandeVelde. D

Sam Gagner – Gagner got off to a decent start, but ultimately never had a place with the Flyers while they were finding ways to open up cap space. Now that Ron Hextall has moved some contracts, Gagner will rejoin the team soon after playing in just 18 of the team's first 41 games. C-

Colin McDonald – In the only stretch of games where the Flyers were battered by injuries, McDonald played in five games and scored a crucial goal in a Flyers win over Nashville in November. Not bad for a fill-in. C

Taylor Leier – He has just six NHL games under his belt and certainly looked like he was fitting in, but he still has to work on some things at the minor-league level. There's nothing wrong with giving him a taste of the NHL. C

Nick Cousins – Like Leier, Cousins probably needs more time in the minors to keep getting minutes and form his game. That said, he's the prime candidate for an emergency call-up. C

Vincent Lecavalier – The Flyers finally were able to trade his contract after he suited up for the team in just seven games with no production. N/A

Jordan Weal – The newest Flyers forward has yet to crack the lineup just yet. A winning streak will do that to you. N/A


Mark Streit – Streit played in roughly half of the Flyers game, 22 total, having to deal with a lower-body injury for six weeks. That said, when he's been on the ice, he's remained a steady part of the blue line. If the Flyers are looking to move another veteran player that may look to contend, Streit could be next in line. B-

Michael Del Zotto – Offensively, Del Zotto hasn't approached his production from a season ago, but he has rounded his game to become a solid two-way defenseman. The Flyers are going to have a wave of youth coming in the next few seasons. Del Zotto could easily become the veteran of that group. B+

Shayne Gostisbehere – The rookie phenom has been just that, a sensation since his debut on Nov. 14. The Flyers season changed with his call-up and Ghost is among the top point producers for rookie defensemen and established his place with the team for good in just about a month's time. A

Radko Gudas – As the physical presence on the blue line, Gudas has turned out to be a pretty solid pickup for Hextall. The Flyers wrecking ball defenseman has displayed strong play in his own zone. B-

Evgeny Medvedev – It took some time for the Russian defenseman to adjust to the North American game, but once he did, he has become a good pickup and a serviceable member of the Flyers blue line. B-

Nick Schultz – Of the Flyers defenseman, Schultz is starting to run his course. Originally signed a seventh defenseman, Schultz proved to be of value as the Flyers dealt with injuries last season. One of the only blemishes of Hextall's GM career was giving Schultz a two-year extension. C-

Brandon Manning – When called upon, especially of late, Manning has been very serviceable. The problem is his sporadic use and lack of true playing time. The Flyers need to make a decision on Manning soon, especially with so much young talent on the way. C+

Luke Schenn – There's a reason the Flyers were able to make the deal they did with Los Angeles. Luke Schenn had actually turned in a pretty solid season to that point. It made him a moveable piece, especially in the final year of his contract. C+

Andrew MacDonald – After not making the cut for the Opening Night roster, MacDonald has played one game with the Flyers this season as an emergency call-up due to injury. N/A


Steve Mason – After a bit of a rough start to the season, Mason has returned to form and continues to be the Flyers No. 1 goalie. His three shutouts — all wins this time! — have been standout performances. B+

Michal Neuvirth – Quite possibly the Flyers MVP so far. When Mason wasn't totally up to form, Neuvirth stepped in and carried the Flyers through the first part of the season. While that didn't save the Flyers from a rough couple of weeks in late October, early November, it has the Flyers where they are at the halfway mark. A


Dave Hakstol – The first-year head coach has helped the Flyers climb back in the playoff race. His system required an adjustment period, but the Flyers are certainly on the right track with Hakstol behind the bench. B+

Ron Hextall – With every trade, Ron Hextall continues to establish himself as one of the best GMs in hockey. He inherited a messy situation that was clogged with massive contracts and aging veterans that didn't seem to belong. And with the future the Flyers are expected to have, Hextall has the Flyers on the track to becoming a contender soon. A

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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