Is Claude Giroux getting moved to the wing?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 09: Claude Giroux
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 09: Claude Giroux /

Claude Giroux will be playing on the wing in the Philadelphia Flyers’ preseason tilt against the Rangers. What does this mean for the team moving forward?

Monday night just got a lot more interesting.

Evaluating the bottom of the roster will no longer be the sole concern of the Philadelphia Flyers’ coaches and front office, with the news that Claude Giroux will be moved out of his natural center position and onto the wing for the team’s preseason game against the New York Rangers.

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Considering Giroux’s status as captain and leader, this has to come as a huge surprise. Giroux’s been the Flyers’ top-line center for ages, and despite his recent struggles, there was no indication that he would be anything else this upcoming year- until now. And the Flyers aren’t giving this a try just for the heck of it; as Dave Hakstol admitted himself, every action the team makes has purpose.

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So let’s take stock of the implications of this move. Firstly, putting Giroux on the wing really might help kick-start his offense. Wings have less defensive responsibility than centers do, so it’s not hard to imagine Giroux using his newfound freedom to rediscover the offensive dynamism which has characterized his play for so long.

Secondly, it opens up a center spot (obviously) for one of the other Flyers who are natural centers. Valtteri Filppula (and to a lesser extent, Mike Vecchione) would appear to benefit most from this move. Filppula has been pegged for the wing this entire offseason, but perhaps he won’t have to make the move after all. Likewise with Vecchione, who has also gotten some looks on the wing as a means of maximizing his roster chances.

Lastly, it creates the possibility for a devastating Giroux-Couturier-Voracek line, which is exactly how the Flyers’ starting forward line will look on Monday night. Pairing Sean Couturier with the two most skilled, creative forwards on the team seems on paper to be a match made in heaven. We’ll see if that turns out to be the case against the Rangers.

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It’s entirely possible that Giroux-on-the-wing is a one-day experiment, and that everything returns to normal by the time this week’s second preseason game rolls around. But if Giroux stands out against the Rangers, perhaps winger Giroux will become the new normal.