He’s got some of the sickest hands in the league, and was a relative unknown until last seasons playoff run. Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers is budding star waiting to break out, giving the Flyers one of the most explosive group of centers in the league.
Career Stats: Games – Goals – Assists
- 2007-2008: 2 – 0 – 0
- 2008-2009: 42 – 9 – 18
- 2009-2010: 82 – 16 – 31
These aren’t superstar numbers, but let’s not forget that he’s playing behind Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Danny Briere. He shifts from center to wing, and contributes in many ways other than the score sheet.
Profile: After racking up 109 points in 69 games for the Gatineau Olympiques in is first season, the Philadelphia Flyers made him the 22nd pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. While he remained in the QMJHL, he lit everyone up for 17 goals and 34 assists in 19 playoff games en route to winning the title and being named playoff MVP. That’s a pretty clutch performance, when it mattered most. He played for Team Canada in the 2008 World Junior Championships, where his 6 points in 7 games helped the team win gold. When he arrived at training camp for the Flyers a few months later, he was a bit of a disappointment, and didn’t make the club right away. However, after he was called up a few months into the season, he earned a regular spot in the lineup. He’s yet to put up big numbers, but he’s noticeable almost every time that he’s on the ice. In his first playoff appearance, a 6 game loss to the Penguins, he registered 5 points, good for 2nd on the team. However, his 2nd time in the 2nd season was where he opened eyes around the league. Overtime goals, nice set-ups, and hard play lead to him notching 21 points in 23 games as the Flyers made a run to the Finals. Now that everyone knows who he is, and what he is capable of, expectations are high for the upcoming season.
What makes him special?: Speed? Check. Vision? Check. Toughness? check. Imagine a combination of Peter Forsberg’s passing and vision, some old school Jaromir Jagr stick work, and there you can see the talent that Claude Giroux possesses. When he’s got the puck, Giroux just loves cutting up anybody in his path. Even when defenders think they have him nailed, and he drops to the ground, he’s still looking to play the puck. He’s only 5’11″, 180lbs, but he’ll still go into the corners without fear, and will cycle behind the net. Most of the time when he’s got the disc, he’s looking to set somebody up for an easy one timer. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t just take it himself and beat the goalie. His shot is average, but he’s got good aim, and with his arsenal of dizzying moves, he usually ends up in close range anyway. Most guys that are this good offensively usually don’t go back on D. Not Giroux; when the rush heads the other way, so does he.
Jersey Worthy?: Yes, definitely. He’s young, he’s exciting, and the Flyers would be stupid to let him go. He should be a part of the core of this team for a long, long time.
Hate Factor: Pretty low. He doesn’t fight, doesn’t throw dirty hits, and mostly uses his strength and low center of gravity to hold onto the puck. Although a few orthopedic doctors might feel overloaded with work after he breaks some ankles.
- PK Subban
- Drew Doughty
- Carey Price
- John Tavares
- Steven Stamkos
- Dustin Byfuglien
- Tyler Myers
- Paul Stastny
- Niklas Backstrom
- Tuukka Rask
- Bobby Ryan
- Milan Lucic
- Brandon Dubinsky
- Jimmy Howard
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