A resurgent Claude Giroux has the Flyers in a good spot early on

USATSI_10366756_168382939_lowres

The Philadelphia Flyers are skating right along this season. This season is not a season of rebuild. It appears it’s a season of redemption. Redemption to make the playoffs. More importantly, Claude Giroux’s redemption of back to form. We should start singing a song, “Welcome Back Kotter,” by John Sebastian for Giroux. The resurgent Giroux is back, and he has the Flyers in a good spot early on.

At the ripe age of 18, Giroux was drafted 22nd overall by the Flyers in 2006. His hard-work and dedication finally paid off in a big way, as it was always his dream to play in the NHL. Moreover, it wasn’t until the 2009-10 season, that a star in Giroux was forming between our eyes. He had a lethal shot, and that was indicated in his stats for the season. Giroux finished the season with 16 goals, and 31 assists for a total of 47 points in 82 games played.

At age 23, Giroux enjoyed a career year with 93 points in 2011-12, thanks in large part to being paired with the “Ageless Wonder,” Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell. For his accomplishments, Giroux finished third in the league in point scoring.

Since then Giroux’s numbers have slowly dipped each season. For the 2015-16 season Giroux produced 67 points in 78 games played. Moreover, for the 2016-17 season Giroux produced 58 points in 82 games played, while only managing to score a measly 14 goals. Here’s a chart of Giroux’s stats. Games played are the first number indicated on the chart, followed by goals, assists, and then points.

2007-08 PHI  2 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
2008-09 PHI 42 9 18 27 10 0 0 2 4 0 0 0.6
2009-10 PHI 82 16 31 47 -9 2 0 8 13 0 0 0.6
2010-11 PHI 82 25 51 76 20 5 0 8 11 3 4 0.9
2011-12 PHI 77 28 65 93 6 5 2 6 32 0 2 1.2
2012-13 PHI 48 13 35 48 -7 2 0 6 15 1 0 1.0
2013-14 PHI 82 28 58 86 7 7 1 7 30 0 0 1.0
2014-15 PHI 81 25 48 73 -3 4 2 14 23 0 0 0.9
2015-16 PHI 78 22 45 67 -8 5 2 6 21 1 1 0.9
2016-17 PHI 82 14 44 58 -15 3 2 5 26 0 1 0.7

Unfortunately, Giroux had a tough off-season last year before the World Cup of Hockey. He went under the knife for hip surgery, as well as, surgery to repair a sports hernia. However, Giroux managed to come back before the World Cup of Hockey began in September. It became evident that Giroux was not 100% at the time the tournament began. Moreover, his off-season surgeries really showed throughout the course of the 2016-17 season. Giroux was definitely not Giroux.

It’s no secret that Giroux is the engine that runs the Flyers. As Giroux goes, so does the Flyers. He of course wanted to rebound from a down year, and prove to his critics that he is still a quality center in the NHL in 2017-18. Giroux is a team first guy, and that is evident with moving to the wing. For his sake he has been nothing short of fantastic. For the season, Giroux has registered 5 goals, 6 assists, and is a plus 2. The top line is clicking on all cylinders as Sean Couturier has 9 points and Jakub Voracek has 12 points. What’s even more impressive is the top line pairing is an astounding plus 15. They are just doing everything right. Giroux states it’s the conditioning that is fueling this team right now.

We talked about it. He told us it would be a hard camp. Not one guy was upset about it. We want to succeed and to be a good team you have to put in the work. I think guys were just tired of not making the playoffs. The guys did a good job this summer. Hopefully it keeps going well.”

The former Gatineau product, Giroux was familiar with playing on the wing, as he played on the wing at the junior level. While playing for the Gatineau Olympiques in 2005-06, Giroux registered 39 goals, and 64 assists for a total of a career high 103 points. Moving to the wing showed the Flyers top brass that Giroux was willing to do whatever is necessary to have this team excel. Giroux has always been a team first guy, and he proved that with embracing the move to the wing. Some people may not know that Giroux played on the wing in Junior hockey, but he also gives credit to his two linemates for their early success.

Half, I guess. It was obviously a little adjustment, but like I’ve said before, when you’re put in with two good players like that, it makes your job a lot easier. I played down low sometimes and sometimes Jake does. We kind of move around and communicate out there.”

With the recent resurgence of the top line that includes Giroux, Voracek, and Couturier it makes the orange and black that much tougher to beat. Most successful teams in the NHL have a dominant top line. Fortunately, the Flyers have just that and they are really fun to watch. Hopefully this early success continues for the rest of the season. One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites