As Claude Giroux embarks on passing Bobby Clarke as the longest-tenured Captain in Philadelphia Flyers history, we will look back at some of his accomplishments and see what is ahead for the aging 33-year-old Flyers center/winger.
Dating back to the last time the Flyers made the Stanley Cup, Claude Giroux had a coming-out party with a huge overtime game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game three. With the Flyers losing the finals in six games, Giroux had a solid playoff/cup run, tallying 21 points.
In 2011, Giroux was named to his first All-Star Game with an excellent first half. After the season, he became the longest-tenured Flyer after Mike Richards and Jeff Carter’s departures. He then became the Philadelphia Flyers Captain, and the sky was the limit. He was in the Hart (MVP) Trophy talks, but Evgeni Malkin took home the hardware. Since that moment, Giroux has put up solid regular season numbers, no doubt, but the playoffs have haunted him and all of the Flyers fan base too. Since solid playoff performances in 2010-2011 and then again the following year, his playoff numbers have dramatically declined.
In 32 playoff games since then, Giroux has only tallied four playoff goals. Now I know well enough that he’s not a sniper like Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid, but the lack of goals scored in crucial playoff games is a glaring concern to me. I’m well aware of his excellent face-off abilities and PK play, but he needs to score more if the Flyers have any chance to go deep into the playoffs. It’s very frustrating at times seeing him even going a playoff game or two without a shot on net. He’s also losing battles in the corners rather easily at that. My father always taught me that board play (mucking and grinding) is key. The other key facet to a successful offense is the transition game between the blue lines, which Giroux is struggling in that part of the game.
This season I have seen a little fire in Claude Giroux versus the Penguins early on, but then it fizzled out the last few games. Giroux, in my opinion, has started slow once again. No goals in the first six games and four assists. Giroux absolutely needs to shoot the puck more. He has four shots on goal in the last five games, with two of those games being held shotless.
In final, this team is loaded with four solid lines when everyone is healthy. We need to start seeing our Captain step up more and lead by example. If Giroux doesn’t step up his play at the halfway point of the season, I can see coach Alain Vigneault demoting Giroux to the third line permanently as he sometimes did during last year’s playoff series vs. the New York Islanders.
Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire