Who was the most disappointing Flyer in the playoffs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall.
The question: Which Flyers player disappointed us most in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
I wanted nothing more than to see Travis Konecny transfer the chaotic and confident energy he possessed in the regular season to the playoffs. In fact, there were multiple games in which it felt like he was finally going to break the ice, score that first goal of the 2020 playoffs and become a force to be reckoned with.
... Yeah, that never happened.
At the start of the round-robin tournament, there were a ton of discussions about how some of the younger players would perform — Philippe Myers, Travis Sanheim, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Joel Farabee, to name a few — given they would be getting their first taste of playoff experience.
Who would've thought it was going to be Konecny who struggled the most? Someone who had a playoff series under his belt, not to mention he led the Flyers in goals and points before the league's hiatus in March. To go from that to collecting a mere seven assists through 16 games is really unacceptable.
Konecny often openly expressed his frustration on the ice, like many players do — but he looked as if he was stuck in his head at all times. Overthinking, sloppy passing, poor puck handling in every zone, constant hesitations before getting a shot off ... it truly made no sense.
By no means do I think it's an indication of the player he will be moving forward — if anything, this should be exactly what he needs to project himself forward in his career and as a leader.
The most disappointing Flyers player for me in the playoffs, as well as this season as a whole, has to be the captain. Just a few years ago, Claude Giroux was a candidate for the Hart Trophy, but since then his game has declined. While his numbers are concerning, it’s the eye test that is most noticeable. There are stretches in games and stretches of games that you don’t notice Giroux on the ice. A team with Stanley Cup aspirations cannot have a top-line player be invisible.
We’ve also seen the impact of Giroux’s lack of presence on the power play. When he’s at his best, he is parked in the circle ready to shoot or to make a pinpoint pass across the ice on the power play. In these playoffs, though, Giroux’s hesitancy to shoot the puck with any sort of vigor really stood out and it changed the way teams defended the Flyers' power play. Giroux rarely looked to shoot, and when he did shoot, it seemed he was shooting for a rebound chance as opposed to scoring a goal.
The playoffs have been a struggle for Giroux since the early part of his career and that storyline continued to play out in these playoffs.
Derek Grant was a smart, supplemental, cost-effective acquisition by the Flyers at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He came to Philadelphia on an expiring contract and with a cap hit of only $700,000. The 30-year-old center then had a real positive seven-game stint with the Flyers before the stoppage, putting up five points (one goal, four assists) during a stretch in which the club went 6-1-0.
But then Grant left much to be desired in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament. He finished with two assists and no goals over 15 games, while winning only 47.7 percent of his faceoffs and committing some costly penalties. It resulted in Grant being a healthy scratch for the 4-0 second-round Game 7 loss to the Islanders as the Flyers' season came to an end.
Between his time with the Ducks and Flyers this season, Grant had career highs in goals (15) and points (25). And the Flyers didn't bring him on board to light up the score sheet; they acquired him to pitch in, make them tougher to play against with his 6-foot-3, 206-pound frame, ability to win faceoffs and strengths on the penalty kill.
However, a much more impactful, noticeable postseason performance from Grant could have helped the Flyers make a deeper run, while he simultaneously could have won over the club for a new contract in 2020-21.
He did not help his case as Grant may end up being just a 22-game rental.