Does Claude Giroux just need to shoot more?
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux should consider taking more shots next season, but that won’t solve all of the issues behind his recent decline.
It would have been unfathomable a few short years ago to be concerned about Claude Giroux’s performance on the ice. Giroux has now been a Philadelphia Flyer for over a decade now, a decade that has seen his rise into the upper echelon of forwards in the NHL. Twice he’s finished in the top five in voting for the Hart Trophy.
And yet now, improbably, it seems as though Giroux may be closer to “overpaid former star” than “true stud center.” Giroux will likely never be the player he once was, but there are still ways for him to improve his game. Matt Mastrogiovanni at Sports Talk Philly thinks taking more shots could be one of those ways:
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In 2011-12, Giroux had an 11.6 shooting percentage and took 242 shots in 77 games. The next season, in 48 games, Giroux had a 9.5 shooting percentage and took 137 shots. He followed that up with a 12.6 shooting percentage and took 223 shots in 2013-14, a playoff year for the Flyers. The next season, despite taking a career-high 279 shots, Giroux had a 9.0 shooting percentage and the Flyers missed the playoffs. Giroux took fewer shots in 2015-16, a total of 241, but had a similar shooting percentage of 9.1 percent, and the Flyers did make the playoffs that season.
But last season, the numbers tailed off considerably. On just 199 shots, third lowest in his career for a full season, Giroux had a 7.0 shooting percentage, the worst of his career.
It could be as simple as that. Shoot more and obviously more shots may go in. It also could be a lot more complicated. Many things didn’t go right for the Flyers last season, mainly after their 10-game winning streak through the first half of December. It seems as if Giroux was caught in the lasting funk of the Flyers fall from grace.
What is certain is that in just a few weeks, we get to see Giroux and the Flyers with a clean slate. Perhaps just taking the shot and using more of a shoot-first mindset will be enough to bring Giroux back to the form that endeared him to Philadelphia as a rising star.
Shooting more would definitely help his counting stats, but goal-scoring was never what truly made Giroux the elite player he once was. Giroux was first and foremost a playmaker who created dangerous scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, while also being one of the most intimidating threats on the man advantage. The problem isn’t just that he’s not shooting enough- it’s that he no longer creates the same scoring chances he once did.
Charlie O’ Connor of Broad Street Hockey recently dove into Giroux’s stats last year. Some of the observations he came away with were that 1) Giroux is generating fewer shots which also come from less dangerous parts of the ice, and 2) His play-driving metrics at even strength have fallen off a cliff.
These are the underlying issues behind Giroux’s decline, not just an unwillingness to shoot. Whether Giroux’s struggles are due to injuries, Dave Hakstol’s system, or a true decrease in ability, he’ll need to find a solution in order to rebound this year.