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April 08, 2017

Flyers announce year-end award winners, including a first-time MVP

Prior to beating Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2, in their penultimate game of the 2016-17 season, the Philadelphia Flyers, who were eliminated last weekend from playoff contention, handed out their annual year-end awards recognizing the top contributors on the team. 

Here's a look at who won the six team awards, starting with the Flyers' Most Valuable Player:

Bobby Clarke Trophy (MVP) – Wayne Simmonds 

(as voted by a panel of sportswriters and sportscasters)

With two games remaining, the 28-year-old forward has already eclipsed the 30-goal mark for the second consecutive season and is currently third on the team with 53 points (30 goals, 21 assists), after adding an assist in Saturday's win. 

For Simmonds, this is his first Clarke Trophy, but it is not his first honor of the season – not only was he named to his first NHL All-Star Game, he was also named the event's MVP after his third goal of the night proved to be the game-winner in the final. 

Simmonds is also just one shy of the league lead in power-play goals (16) and is fourth in the league with 122 PIM. He also had four multi-goal games this season, four game-winning goals and a pair of shorthanded goals, the first of his career. 

Oh, and he can do this:

Last year's winner: Claude Giroux

Barry Ashbee Trophy (Top Defenseman) – Ivan Provorov

(as voted by a panel of sportswriters and sportscasters)

The name is different, but for the second straight year, a Flyers rookie will take home the honor of being named the team's most outstanding defenseman. And this one's even younger than the last – Provorov passed Shayne Gostisbehere as the youngest Ashbee winner in franchise history. 

Provorov, who scored in Saturday's win over the Blue Jackets, has now recorded seven goals and 22 assists this season, including an epic, two-goal performance against the Blackhawks that also saw him single-handedly save a goal from being scored. Furthermore, he's been incredibly reliable. Provorov has played in 81 games, the most by any rookie since Jeff Carter appeared in 81 games in 2005-06, and there is still one more to go. Making that more impressive is the fact that he entered play on Saturday averaging 21:56 of ice time per game (2nd among NHL rookies), and according to the Flyers, he'll establish a new franchise record for a rookie dating back to when the ice-time statistic started being kept in 1998.

Of the 18 games in which Provorov was on the ice for 24 or more minutes this season, two have been the highest single-game TOI for a Flyers rookie in a non-overtime game – 27:17 on March 15 vs. Penguins and 26:27 on March 30 vs. Islanders.

There's a reason the rookie found himself in the #PhillyRank Top 10 before the end of his first season with the Orange and Black.

Last year's winner: Shayne Gostisbehere

Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (Most Improved) – Radko Gudas 

(as voted by his Flyers teammates)

Radko Gudas, who was not in the Flyers lineup on Saturday, certainly has the numbers on his side for this one, so we'll just let them do the talking.

He played more often in even-strength situations, and despite nine fewer games so far, he's improved his point total by nine, reduced his penalty minutes, improved his plus-minus rating by 11, and increased his number of takeaways while reducing his giveaways.

'15-16 76 14 | 5G, 9A -3 116 16.58 11-57
'16-17 67 23 | 6G, 17A +8 93 17:19 18-40
*Even Strength

Last year's winner: Brayden Schenn

Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award – Steve Mason

(as voted by the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA)

Steve Mason, who picked up the win against Columbus, has always been pleasant in the locker room, as has pretty much anyone I've come in contact with on the Flyers, which makes this award is a little hard to quantify. Therefore, I'm just going to include what the Flyers said about this award in their press release:

This award is presented annually to the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice. The award honors the memory of Yanick Dupre, who died on August 16, 1997 at the age of 24 after a 16-month battle with leukemia. Dupre played parts of three seasons with the Flyers (1991-92, 1994-95 and 1995-96), recording two goals and 16 penalty minutes in 35 games. He was originally drafted by the Flyers in the third round (50th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

Last year's winner: Wayne Simmonds 

Gene Hart Memorial Award – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

(as voted by the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club)

Again, this one is tough to quantify, but P.E.B. seems like the kind of player who should win an award like this. It's the scrappy-guy award, right?

Anyway, here's what the Flyers said about Heart Hart Memorial Award, which is given to the player with the most Hart heart:

The Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club selected Pierre-Edouard Bellemare as the winner of the Gene Hart Memorial Award. This award is given to the player who demonstrated the most “Heart” during the season as voted on by members of the Fan Club at their monthly meetings. The award honors the memory of longtime Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart. For 28 years, Hart called the organization’s most thrilling moments, and in the process, helped spawn generations of devoted fans. Hart’s contributions to the sport were recognized with his induction into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. The Flyers Fan Club will also donate $2,000 to the charity of Bellemare’s choice.

Oh, and as a side note, Bellemere also picked up a point on Saturday, scoring a first-period goal against the Blue Jackets, his fourth of the year.

Last year's winner: Shayne Gostisbehere

Toyota Cup – Wayne Simmonds

This one, unlike the previous two, is a bit easier to quantify: it goes to the player with the most "Star of the Game" points. After each game, a member of the media selects the three best performers. Five points is given to the First Star, three to the Second Star, and one to the Third Star.

Simmonds earned a total of 46 points this season:

•  First: 5x
•  Second: 6x
•  Third: 3x

For winning, Toyota will make a $5,000 donation to the charity of Simmonds' choosing.

Last year's winner: Claude Giroux

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