NHL Rumors: Claude Giroux Taking A Step Back?
2011-2012 was the best season of Claude Giroux‘s NHL career. Giroux put up 93 points for a Philadelphia Flyers team that was potent on the offensive end. Giroux played 77 games due to an injury earlier in the season. Though he missed five games, he finished in the top 3 in total points at the end of the regular season. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Giroux made his presence known. In only 10 playoff games, Giroux totaled 17 points, which helped him finish 4th among all playoff participants. He was also tied for the playoff lead in goals with 8. What stands out from all of this is the fact that Giroux played 10 less games than the other statistic leaders.
The Flyers were eliminated in the second round by the New Jersey Devils. At the point of the playoff exit, many people were anointing Giroux as the best player in the NHL. Giroux benefited from playing on a line with future hall of-famer, Jaromir Jagr. Jagr was able to show Giroux the right way to play hockey and he helped Giroux step his game up to play on a whole other level. Now that Jagr is gone, Flyers’ fans are looking to Giroux with hope that he can continue to play at the level from a year ago.
Has the event of a possible lockout gotten to the heads Giroux and the rest of the NHL players? If the answer to the previous question was a “yes”, then there is a chance that some players could not be ready for the NHL season. Just look at what happened in the NBA this season. Players were not healthy, some were still playing over seas. With the chance of a lockout happening, players could be preparing themselves to play over seas instead of preparing to play a possibly shortened regular season schedule.
So what happens if Giroux does struggle? Will Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek‘s play stay consistent to last season without Giroux playing at the top of his game? Will the young stars live up to the hype that was created after last season? These are all questions that could come up if Giroux struggles early and often. His statistics quickly can shoot down that possibility, due to the fact that Giroux has been improving in all four years he has played with the Flyers. His playoff numbers also indicate that he will still perform, even if slighted. Giroux has averaged 55 points in 50 career playoff games in just four seasons.
Giroux is the leader of the Flyers team this season. Will his play be affected by a possible lockout or injury? Or, will Giroux be able to play at the level that he showed the hockey world a year ago? These question, well, they will soon be answered.
Follow me on Twitter @DCattaiSports for all Flyers, Phillies, NHL, and MLB sports updates.