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Old
01-08-2006, 01:00 PM
  #1
MountainHawk
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Midseason Grades

Goaltenders

Robert Esche - Inc (C): Injured too much to give an actual grade, but his play so far has been mediocre at best. He should get one more shot when he's fully healthy, but Hitch needs to have a quick hook with the way Nitty has been playing.

Antero Niittymaki - B+: Frank looked very inconsistent early on, but since the last Esche injury as stepped up his play tremendously, and has the most wins of any rookie goalie. If he continues at this level, he has a shot at finishing in the top 3-5 for the Calder.


Defenseman

Eric Desjardins - Inc (B-): He was producing on the offensive end, but was also making some mistakes in the defensive zone. Still, he'll be an upgrade for the defense after the Olympic break, and hopefully he can be fresh and in shape for the postseason.

Derian Hatcher - B+: Yes, he's slow. And you can see that it makes a difference when he gets out of position. But that's been relatively rare, especially over the last 25 games or so. He's been huge picking up some slack for Pitkanen in the defensive end.

Kim Johnsson - B-: His offense contribution has been slightly less than what I expect, and his defense hasn't been as solid as it can be, but he's giving 23 minutes of ice time, and certainly isn't a liability on the ice for most of those.

Freddy Meyer - Inc (C+): He's been a solid filling during the injuries. Personally, I think he deserves to hang on to the sixth spot over Seidenberg and Therien once Joni and Eric are back, but that's probably unlikely

Joni Pitkanen - A: Dominant force. He's going to be a Norris candidate for many years to come. Averaging nearly a PPG as a defender, and is STILL second on the team at +18, despite playing only 25 games. The Flyers defense upgrades huge once he gets back.

Mike Rathje - B+: Rathje hasn't been all that noticeable that often this year, and for a stay at home defenseman playing 20+ minutes a game, that's a good thing.

Dennis Seidenberg - D+: Seidenburg has been bad. Unlike Therien, I haven't seen any signs of even slight improvement. Certainly once Pitkanen and Desjardins are back, his run with the Flyers in 05-06 is over.

Chris Therien - C-: He's struggled this year. He and Seidenburg are both averaging 14 minutes a night, and both are -4. Either his game has to pick up, or his TOI has to go down. There are some signs of the game picking up, but not nearly fast enough for my tastes.

Forwards

Donald Brashear - C-: Some games he seems like he's out there to be a physical force, but those games are too few and far between right now. If Brashear isn't going to use his size and strength, he's fairly useless to the team.

Jeff Carter - B-: A bout with mono clearly slowed him down some, but he's bring a lot of energy to his minutes right now, and has shown flashes of the scoring touch we've all heard about. I don't see him as much more than a 12-15 minutes guy for the rest of the season, but he's going to grow into a great player.

Ben Eager - Inc (C+): He's been a solid callup for the Flyers, and has a terrific work rate. I don't think he can contribute much offensively on a regular basis though, so he a candidate to have his roster spot taken by a deadline acquistion.

Peter Forsberg - A: One of the top 2 players in the NHL with Jagr. He's a serious Hart candidate. He's elevated the game of Gagne tremendously, and as long as he stay healthy is going to be the type of guy that playoff teams have to game plan around.

Simon Gagne - A: With 29 goals, he should be in the Maurice Richard race this season with Kovalchuk. 60 is not out of the question for Simon, which is amazing when you consider where he was without Forsberg a couple of seasons ago. (Side note: My fiancee from Montreal tells me the Flyers announcers says his name wrong: Si-moan is the feminine pronunciation. The easiest way to explain the correct pronunciation is that the n is silent, but the o is sort of nasally.)

Michael Handzus - B+: Death to anyone that suggests trading Handzus. He's a terrific penalty killer, wins a ton of key faceoffs, and contributes points on a reasonably regular basis. These are the type of guys that win playoff series.

Sami Kapanen - A-: Flyers best penalty killer. He almost single handedly allowed the PK to turn around their woeful start, and you can see the number consistently improving since he's been back. All Flyers fans need to be thankful he didn't retire.

Mike Knuble - A-: He's been the perfect player on the GFK line. He does a lot of the work, getting the puck to Foppa and Gagne in dangerous scoring postions.

Keith Primeau - Inc (B+): Nothing much to say, as he's only played 10 games. If we have indeed seen the last of Keith on NHL ice, we all owe the man a huge for his contributions to the Flyers over the years.

Branko Radivojevic - C+: He plays his role as a defensive minded forward adequately, but he's only a +2 and hasn't chipped in offensive much at all.

Mike Richards - B+: Slow start, but averaging 15 minutes a night, and is a .5 PPG player right now. I'd expect that number to grow the rest of the year, but Richards is coming along very nicely.

Brian Savage - C+: He's done what he's needed to do, but I think the Flyers should try to upgrade this spot going into the playoffs. He's very inconsistent in his offensive contribution.

Jon Sim - D+: Not a great year for him, and he seems to be slipping down the depth chart. He can be a Radio type contributor in the defensive end in my opinion, but it hasn't been there this year.

R.J. Umberger - B+: A pleasant surprise for me. I hadn't heard much about him, but he's played his way into the top 9 on a regular basis. His long term future with the Flyers is probably as a winger, due to the insane depth of the Flyers at center.


Last edited by MountainHawk: 01-08-2006 at 02:37 PM.
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Old
01-08-2006, 01:25 PM
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk

Michael Handzus - B+: Death to anyone that suggests trading Handzus.
I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment.


Good grades. I haven't seen enough games to judge adequately.

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01-08-2006, 01:39 PM
  #3
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go home boy

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Old
01-08-2006, 01:53 PM
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For the most part, I agree. Here's where I have a differing opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Freddy Meyer - Inc (C+): He's been a solid filling during the injuries. Personally, I think he deserves to hang on to the sixth spot over Seidenberg and Therien once Joni and Eric are back, but that's probably unlikely.
I think that's a little low for a guy who you think should be the 6th d-man on the team. He's very good on the PP and probably should be more like a B or B-

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Mike Rathje - B+: Rathje hasn't been all that noticeable that often this year, and for a stay at home defenseman playing 20+ minutes a game, that's a good thing.
B+ might be a little high. Overall, he has played well, but there have been more than a couple of bad giveaways and general poor defensive play to give him that high of a grade. More like a B (at best) or B- or C+.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Chris Therien - C-: He's struggled this year. He and Seidenburg are both averaging 14 minutes a night, and both are -4. Either his game has to pick up, or his TOI has to go down. There are some signs of the game picking up, but not nearly fast enough for my tastes.
C- is too high for Therien, more like a D. He's just flat out bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Donald Brashear - C-: Some games he seems like he's out there to be a physical force, but those games are too few and far between right now. If Brashear isn't going to use his size and strength, he's fairly useless to the team.
If Brash isn't going to play physical every game and throw his weight around or drop the gloves every now and again, he's worthless to this team. D


Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Mike Knuble - A-: He's been the perfect player on the GFK line. He does a lot of the work, getting the puck to Foppa and Gagne in dangerous scoring postions.
Hardly the perfect player for this line, in fact, I think he is simply the beneficiary of playing on this line (after benefiting from being on a line with Joe Thornton). I've seen too many perfect setups by Forsberg blown by Knuble to give him anything higher than a B. He reminds me of Keith Jones being on the line with Lindros and LeClair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
Keith Primeau - Inc (B+): Nothing much to say, as he's only played 10 games. If we have indeed seen the last of Keith on NHL ice, we all owe the man a huge for his contributions to the Flyers over the years.
Is this grade based on his past contributions? Otherwise, how can you give a guy a B+ for playing in only 10 games? I'd give him an I (incomplete) if he cannot return.

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01-08-2006, 01:55 PM
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The 'Inc' is incomplete ... the B+ is just an estimate of his contribution in a limited appearances.

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01-08-2006, 01:57 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
The 'Inc' is incomplete ... the B+ is just an estimate of his contribution in a limited appearances.
I was wondering what the 'Inc" meant. Sorry about that.

That said, I think it's tough to give any grade based on 10 games.

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01-08-2006, 02:18 PM
  #7
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I'd bump Niitty from a B+ to a A-.

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01-08-2006, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainHawk
(Side note: My fiancee from Montreal tells me the Flyers announcers says his name wrong: Si-moan is the feminine pronunciation. The easiest way to explain the correct pronunciation is that the n and e are both silent, but the o is sort of nasally.)
I think that might be for Simone (hence the 'n' and 'e' being silent). Simon has no 'e'.

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01-08-2006, 02:29 PM
  #9
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Here are my grades. I'm too lazy to give an explanation so I'll just put them there.

Goaltenders

Robert Esche: C+
Antero Niittymaki: A-

Defensemen

Eric Desjardins: N/A
Derian Hatcher: B+
Kim Johnsson: B-
Freddy Meyer: B-
Joni Pitkanen: A+
Mike Rathje: B-
Dennis Seidenberg: D+
Chris Therien: F

Forwards

Donald Brashear: D+
Jeff Carter: B-
Ben Eager: C
Peter Forsberg: A+
Simon Gagne: A
Michal Handzus: A
Sami Kapanen: A
Mike Knuble: B
Keith Primeau: N/A
Branko Radivojevic: C
Mike Richards: B-
Brian Savage: C-
Jon Sim: D+
Turner Stevenson: N/A
R.J. Umberger: B


Last edited by Lupul*: 01-09-2006 at 04:03 PM.
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01-08-2006, 02:35 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battousai
I think that might be for Simone (hence the 'n' and 'e' being silent). Simon has no 'e'.
I don't know where the 'e' came from. ops:

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Old
01-08-2006, 10:22 PM
  #11
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Meyer has been fabulous in my estimation. The occasional giveaway, sure, but what defensemen doesn't give the puck away. I give him a B. Very sound. I love the guy.

Pitkanen gets a B+ at most. He is not a Norris candidate and has look downright awful at stretches. Lonnnnnnnnnnnnng way to go before this guy gets anointed.

I'd give Seidenberg a C+ at least but sometimes he just gives the puck away with bad no look passing or clears. Bizarre.

Brashear - ugh.

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01-09-2006, 01:36 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JXC
Pitkanen gets a B+ at most. He is not a Norris candidate and has look downright awful at stretches. Lonnnnnnnnnnnnng way to go before this guy gets anointed.
I don't think I've ever disagreed with anything as much as I disagree with this.

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01-09-2006, 07:52 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battousai
I don't think I've ever disagreed with anything as much as I disagree with this.
Not anything????



Pitkanen is still lazy mentally, not uncommon for a youngster. Many times he aimlessly shoots the puck around the boards in his own zone, sometimes turning it over. His outlet passes are at times lackadaisical and aimless. He is often outworked in the corners and is often indecisive at center ice.

He's not even in the vicinity of being considered for a Norris, and won't be until he becomes more consistent.

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01-09-2006, 07:57 AM
  #14
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Stealing Nicto's format here...

Goaltenders

Robert Esche: C-
Antero Niittymaki: B+

Defensemen

Eric Desjardins: A-
Derian Hatcher: A-
Kim Johnsson: B
Freddy Meyer: B-
Joni Pitkanen: A
Mike Rathje: B+
Dennis Seidenberg: C
Chris Therien: C-


Forwards

Donald Brashear: C
Jeff Carter: B
Ben Eager: B-
Peter Forsberg: A+
Simon Gagne: A
Michal Handzus: B+
Sami Kapanen: A-
Mike Knuble: A-
Keith Primeau: C+ (he never really made an impact when healthy)
Branko Radivojevic: C+
Mike Richards: B
Brian Savage: C-
Jon Sim: C+
R.J. Umberger: B
Turner Stevenson: B- (I've liked what I've seen when he's healthy)

Though I'm sure some will disagree, I dont hink anyone on this team has been bad enough to warrant anything less than a C-. Even our worst players have been adequate enough.

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01-09-2006, 08:31 AM
  #15
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Niittymaki A. Got to give him his props.
Seinderberg F (No improvement)
Hatcher A- I think he is the main reason this team doesn't give up.
Rico A
Pitkanen A+
Rathje B- (He plays with Therian now)
Johnsson B (our expectation of him are just too high he plays very well check Scotty Neidemaier stats) Spelling
Meyer C+ (I like him, he comes and he plays)
Therian C+ (he is what he is but he is trying he really does)

Handzus he get a fat A. He plays with anyone at any given time and plays well. I love this guy.
Forsberg A+
Gagne A
Knuble A+ (I didn't expect that much from him)
Kapanen A (solid solid)
Eager B -
Richards B- (solid)
Carter C + (expected a bit more from this guy)
Brashear (I will give him a C he elevated his game this month)
Radio C
Umberger - can not make up my mind yet
Savage D+ (where is that scoring)
Esche... (Hey Robert if you stay injured for another month we will forget your last name)
Stevenson (disappointed with his injuries)
Sim F


Last edited by greatwhite101: 01-09-2006 at 08:40 AM.
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01-09-2006, 10:19 AM
  #16
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From the Delaware Daily Times:

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...id=18170&rfi=6

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01-10-2006, 01:15 PM
  #17
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My grades:

2 - Derien Hatcher - (B+) - Took him a month to get up to speed, but since then he's been the Hatcher we remembered in Dallas. While Kapanen gets most of the credit for the improved PK, a large chunk of it should be directed at Hatcher, who has been an absolute beast since Pitkanen and Desjardins went down.

3 - Mike Rathje - (C) - Started off very stong and allowed Pitkanen to play his game. Since Pitkanen has been out with injury his play has suffered,, although a chunk of that is due to his partner on most nights (Therien)

5 - Kim Johnsson - (B-) - Only in the last fwe weeks has Johnsson played the kind of hickey we know he's capable of. Early on he battled groin trouble, and his skating was an issue. His legs have been back the last 2 months, and recently his hands and decision making have followed.

6 - Chris Therien - (D) - Started off the season strong, but his play has taken a complete nosedive. It seems as at least one goal a night is his fault be it directly or indirectly.

11 - Jon Sim - (C) - Started off the season strong, scoring and drawing penalties. Once his scoring dried up, he became a detriment and not an asset. If we ever get healthy he'll likely be placed on waivers.

12 - Simon Gagne - (A)- Started off red hot and has hardly cooled off. He is our best all-around player. Yes, it helps playing with Forsberg, but it's most often Gagne that gets that line going. His legs and strength along the wall force a ton of turnovers, which in forsberg's hands become deadly. Gagne's release is among the quickest in the NHL.

17 - Jeff Carter - (B-) - The mono he had over the summer really killed his momentum early in the year. He started off way behind and didn't catch up conditioning wise until November. Due to the early struggles he rarely gets to play with big time talent, which has hampered his numbers. Don't be surprised when his offensive number nearly double next year.

18 - Mike Richards - (B) - Started off great, then slumped for a month or so, but his game has returned. Ready willing and able to do it all for the team. He's been everything advertised.

19 - Brank Radivojevic - (B) - Gives the same effort everynight. Solid defensively, and a good penalty killer. Creates a bunch of turnovers, doesn't have the hands to finish what he starts. Early in the season he couldn't buy a goal, but the scoring ability he showed in Phoenix has seemed begin to reappear.

20 - R.J. Umberger - (B) - Deserverd a spot out of training camp, where he was one of the teams 3 or 4 best forwards. Has made a nce adjustment to the wing. Very strong along the boards and a very good skater. It's taken some time for his offense to adjust to playing the wing, but it has started to come.

21 - Peter Forsberg - (A-) - The stud center the team has lacked since Lindros was healthy. A brilliant playmaker and stickhandler. His skating suffered early due to his ankle surgery and lately he has lacked some explosiveness in his skating (likely the groin issue). As llong as he's healthy come playoff time the Flyers will always have a chance.

22 - Mike Knuble - (A-) - A better player than I thought. Very good along the wall, creates room for his linemates, and is always in the goalies face. The only thing keeping him from an (A) is the fact that he gets more good scoring chances than anyone in the NHL, and could have even more goals ... and the fact that he's good for at least one penalty a night, and often two.

24 - Sami Kapanen - (B) - Needs to stay healthy, otherwise he'd ben an (A). Brings great energy and speed everynight. Has been a big boost to the PK, and his speed created turnovers and room for his linemates. Needs to shoot the puck more while playing the point on the PP.

25 - Keith Primeau - (Inc.) - Wasn't playing great prior to the injury. With a healthy Primeau the Flyers become favorites to win the cup.

26 - Michael Handzus - (A-) - Plays everynight. An absolute beast along the wall. Excells in any role that we need him in (PP, PK, scoring line, defensive role). Continues to put up points while playing with a million different linemates.

27 - Turner Stevenson - (Inc) - Played well early, but the hip injuries are growing tiresome.

28 - Dennis Seidenberg - (C) - Has been injured as usual. Struggled early, then played very well, and then struggled late before getting injured again.

30 - Antero Niittymaki - (A-) - Struggled early but has really elevated his play since Esche began having his injury problems. Almost always in position and square to the shooter. Good rebound control. Only things he needs work on are his stickhandling, especially stopping wraparounds behind the net, and remembering to challenge on breakaways/shoot outs.

34 - Freddy Meyer - (B) - Has been very solid since his call-up and you can see his confidence growing with each game. Occasionally gets outmuscled, but usually uses his skating ability and intelligence to make up for his lack of ideal size.

37 - Eric Desjardins - (B) - Was our 2nd best defenseman prior to the injury, and his grade would have been higher if healthy. Excellent on both the PP and PK. His abscence has been felt. Hopefully this injury will leave his healthy, and rested for the playoff run.

42 - Robert Esche - (C) - Didn't look pretty early in the season, but the results were often better than it looked. Esche will never look great and will often make you nervous, but he gets the job done the majority of the time. Injuries have hurt his grade, and made it questionable whether or not he'll be the starter come April.

44 - Joni Pitkanen - (B+) - Would have been an A, and possibly an A+ without the injury. Once he was moved back to the left side, about 5 games into the season, he bacme absolutely dominant. Was often the best player on the ice. The PP misses him in a huge way. Based on his early season play, he should eventualy become the Flyers first ever Norris trophy winner and go down in history as the best Flyers defenseman ever.

49 - Brian Savage - (C) - Played well early, but couldn't buy a goal when he had a million chances. His soring touch has returned a bit since he returned from injury.

55 - Ben Eager - (B) - Has played very well since his callup. Provides energy every night and is better with the puck at this stage in his career than I expected. Is the best bodychecker we've had since a healthy Lindros. Made Fedoruk more than expendale, and will do the same to Brashear next year.

87 - Donald Brashear - (C-) - The changing of the game, (more speed, less fighting) has hurt Brashear in a big way. More penalties, less fighting and Ben Eager, assure that this will be his last season in orange and black.

Coach - Ken Hitchcock - (B+) - Has made some mistakes (not having Pitkanen on the PP early in the sesaon among others), but has kept an injury decimated team at the top of the standings.

GM - Bob Clarke - Due to the salary cap, he hasn't been busy during the season as of yet. He has to save the money to make a move near the deadline. Did a tremendous job remaking the team in the offseason. The team is an absolute Cup contender while still be well positioned for the future.

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01-10-2006, 01:26 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
Based on his early season play, he should eventualy become the Flyers first ever Norris trophy winner and go down in history as the best Flyers defenseman ever.
No pressure there

Good grades though.

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01-10-2006, 04:36 PM
  #19
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CBS Sportsline has midseason NHL awards (somewhat fits this thread). Anyway, Hitchcock is chosen Coach of the Year by the writer. The link:

http://www.sportsline.com/nhl/story/9154533

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