END OF SEASON AWARDS; FIRST FLYERS HEADED TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
PHILADELPHIA -- It’s the final home game of the season (wow, that flew by) so it’s time for the Flyers to hand out their end of season awards.
As is customary, there will be a pre-game ceremony to present the awards tonight and five different players will receive the six awards.
The big winner will be Jake Voracek, who will be recognized for his breakout season by winning two key awards.
He will be the recipient of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s Most Valuable Player, an award voted on by a select panel of broadcasters and members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA).
Voracek will also receive the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy as the most improved player from the previous season, as voted on by his teammates.
It’s not a surprise that Voracek takes home both titles as he has posted 45 points in 46 games, second-best on the team, and leads the team in goals scored with 21, which is a career high, despite the shortened season.
With two games remaining, Voracek has an outside shot to set a career best in points as well. That watermark is 50 points set in 2009-10 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, which he reached in 81 games.
Voracek, 23, had 49 points in his first season with the Flyers in 2011-12, in 78 games played.
Kimmo Timonen will again be the recipient of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s best defenseman, taking home the award for the second straight year and fourth time since joining the Flyers in 2007.
Timonen, 38, averaged .64 points per game this season, his best in six easons with the Flyers and third-best in his career. He finished with 29 points in 45 games before missing the final three games of the season with a fractured foot. He also finished plus-3 for the season, second best on the team and tops among defensemen.
Like the Clarke Trophy, the Ashbee Trophy is voted on by a select panel of Broadcasters and members of the PHWA.
Scott Hartnell was named the winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award presented annually by the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA to the Flyer who illustrates the most character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice.
Dating back to last summer, Hartnell was very involved with charity work off the ice both back home in Saskatchewan and here in the Philadelphia area through his golf tournament and also through the Hartnell Down Foundation.
This season, while a trying one for Hartnell, 31, who missed 16 games with a fractured foot, was one of perseverance, as he dealt with a difficult recovery from the injury.
The Gene Hart Memorial Award is presented annually by the Flyers Fan Club to the player that they judge to have the most “heart” on the ice.
This year’s recipient is Zac Rinaldo, whose growth as a checking forward resonated with Philadelphia fans.
Rinaldo, 22, led the NHL in hits per 60 minutes, averaging a whopping 32 hits every 60 minutes of ice time.
He finished with 143 hits in just 32 games, which still ranks 16th in the NHL despite having not played since April 3.
Finally, Claude Giroux is the winner of the Toyota Cup for the second season in a row.
The Toyota Cup is presented every year to the player who accrues the most points from being one of the three stars of the game throughout the season.
Giroux, 25, earned that honor again by leading the team in scoring with 47 points in 46 games this season.
Last year’s winner’s are listed below:
Bobby Clarke Trophy – Giroux
Barry Ashbee Trophy – Timonen
Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy – Hartnell
Gene Hart Memorial Award – Wayne Simmonds
Toyota Cup - Giroux
Two other organizational notes of congratulations are in order.
Adirondack Phantoms goalie Cal Heeter, who dressed for one game with the Flyers this season, but didn’t see any action, was named as one of two goalies for Team USA for the IIHF World Championships in Finland and Sweden beginning May 3.
Heeter will join Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop on the team, as the first 15 members of the squad were named earlier today by USA Hockey.
Heeter expressed his excitement earlier today with the following tweet from his account:
“So excited to represent USA at the World Championships in Finland! Truly an honor and a great opportunity. Can't wait for this experience!”
Heeter, 24, went 12-16-3 with a 2.92 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in 32 games with the Phantoms of the American Hockey League.
He also appeared in eight games with the now defunct Trenton Titans of the East Coast Hockey League, going 3-3-0 with a 3.18 GAA and a .900 save percentage.
Meanwhile, Adirondack Phantoms right wing Marcel Noebels will represent Team Germany at the Championships.
Noebels, 21, Had 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points in 43 games this season with the Phantoms. He joined the Phantoms at the midpoint of the season after playing the first half of the season with the Titans in the ECHL.
While at Trenton Noebels had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in 31 games.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37