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Flyers’ MVP in miserable season? Atkinson, Sanheim, Hart, fans?

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Cam Atkinson, Philadelphia Flyers
Right winger Cam Atkinson, in his first year with the Philadelphia Flyers, is among the team's MVP candidates. Photo: Zack Hill.

When I asked fans on Twitter who should win the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s MVP this season, some of the responses — predictably — were sarcastic.

After all, it’s not like anyone has had a great season for a 25-44-11 team that will miss the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.

The choices listed were Cam Atkinson, Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim, and “other.”

“I voted ‘other,’ ” said @dagreatgazoo. “Other had a better season than anyone else.”

“The annual tallest midget contest,” said @Dointhehonors. “This only makes the franchise look like a bigger farce.”

Said @Raiderfrank65: “OK,….so every losing team needs to do away with their annual year-end awards….lol.”

One fan (@Intimidator21) voted for Noah Cates, who has nine points in 14 games since signing an entry-level contract.

Another fan (@freddycane4) simply said: “No one.”

@Muccisareflyin said: “The MVP of this season is the fact that it’s over.”

Atkinson won the poll, collecting 35% of the vote. Sanheim was second with 26%, followed by Hart with 24% of the nearly 2,000 votes.

Even “other” received a healthy 15%.

I’m on record as saying I would have voted for Claude Giroux, but the Flyers said he wasn’t eligible since he was traded to Florida last month.

For transparency: I voted this way: 1. Atkinson, 2. Sanheim, 3. Hart. The Philadelphia Flyers will announce the winner before Friday’s season finale.

Here is a look at the three leading candidates, alphabetically:

Atkinson: Until an undisclosed injury ended his season April 12, Atkinson was leading the Philadelphia Flyers in goals (23) and points (50). He is now the co-leader in goals with James van Riemsdyk, and behind only Travis Konecny (52) in points. Atkinson, 32, has been a strong leader in his first year as a Flyer, and he has a team-leading six game-winning goals.

Hart: The 23-year-old goalie was much better than his record (13-24-7) as he played behind a porous defense. A late-season slump dropped his GAA to 3.16 and his save percentage to .905. Still, Hart, whose season ended April 12 because of an injury, improved over last season (3.67, .877).

Sanheim: He has been the Flyers’ best defenseman, and has been outstanding over the last few months. Sanheim, 26, has 31 points (7-24) and leads the team with a plus-10 rating. His rating is even more impressive when you consider the Flyers’ goal differential is minus-81.

Getting back to the responses….

Sal Russomanno (@SalRussomanno1) probably said it best.

“The MVP award should go to the fans who endured this dismal season, with high hopes to a complete disaster.” #4thWorstTeamHockey

He had a good point.

Breakaways

Sean Couturier, who has missed most of the season because of a back injury, won the Clarke Trophy the last three years. … The Flyers play in Winnipeg on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., their final road game of the season, which ends with Friday’s matchup against Ottawa at the Wells Fargo Center. … The Flyers are 14-20-6 at home, 11-24-5 on the road. … Konecny has a six-game point streak, during which he has three goals and four assists.

PHN: Flyers’ MVP award tainted without Claude Giroux eligible

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