The Claude Giroux Hate Stops Here

May 1, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Claude Giroux is one of the best players on this team and has been since 2010. He will be entering his ninth year as captain of this Philadelphia Flyers team. And for the first time since he has been on this team since 2010, he has a complete team around him.

For everybody comparing him to other captains such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, this one is for you. For those who say Giroux is not a leader, this is for you. For those who say he is invisible night and out, this is for you.

Claude Giroux, a 6x All-Star,  from Hearst, Ontario has done nothing but play with his heart on his sleeve while wearing the colors brought here by Ed Snider that embodies a city and its work ethic. He has been one of the hardest working players on the ice and has given back to the community as well.

Giroux has played 943 games in the Flyers sweater. In that time, he has scored 273 goals and 585 assists. A lot of that comes while also playing for a team that was going through a “rebuild” for multiple seasons under Ron Hextall. And during that, he was still putting up numbers. He also has a career +/- of 39 and 46 GWGs.

Looking at the advanced stats, Giroux has a 55.5% FO win percentage. He also has a 58.3% Corsi for his career as well. Giroux has always been one of the better players in the NHL, especially over the last decade where he was top five in points from 2010-2019.

Giroux has been up for the Hart Trophy multiple seasons and has come close each time. He finished in fourth twice and third once. Giroux was nominated for the Hart Trophy most recently in the 17-18 season where he torched the whole league, putting up 102 points. He was voted behind Anze Kopitar, Nathan MacKinnon and the winner Taylor Hall.

That wasn’t the first year where Claude had to put the team on his back. This season is the first time since 2012 that the Flyers have more than just one solid defenseman on this roster. People discuss Crosby and Ovechkin leading their teams, but forget hockey is a team sport. I am 100% sure those rosters didn’t have an Andrew MacDonald or Brandon Manning on their team dragging them down. They also had Vezina Trophy winners in net.

The Flyers had Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, Steve Mason and oh yeah, a season with seven goalies in net. Philadelphia had more or less become a goalie graveyard. Until the 2016 Draft where the Flyers and Ron Hextall drafted a 17-year-old kid from Alberta, Canada who played for the Everett Silvertips. They also had Brian Elliot as a backup for this kid who led the way. It was the first time in a long time that the Flyers found their franchise goaltender.

This team, for the first time in a long time, has a competitive defensive core that will actually be able to protect their goaltender and make teams think twice about coming down the center of the offensive zone. It is a good build of skill, size and age. A lot of players will be able to relax a little more in the defensive zone, including Giroux who is one of the better defensive players on the offensive end. Being able to trust the defense is a big key to getting out on the break or giving it to them at the point.

Giroux has also been through multiple coaches and I think Alain Vigneault finally has the team he wants for the system he runs. For the majority of his career, Giroux has had to play under Dave Hakstol. It wasn’t until Hextall was fired and Hakstol continued to struggle. Under Scott Gordon, the team and Giroux had a renewed energy. The following season, Vigneault came in and it was one of the best seasons this team has had together. Last year was a really down year, but hopefully Vigneault can get everything back in order and coach this team to the cup.

The offensive ensemble around him is really good on paper. This may be one of the best teams I will see the Flyers ice in my lifetime. Fletcher made it his mission to upgrade this roster and make it better in every facet of the game. For the first time in his career, we do not have to expect Claude Giroux to have to carry this team.

This roster can actually be compared to a lot of Stanley Cup winning teams. Obviously everything needs to go the right way, but it’s easy to believe  Giroux will lead the way. When asked about him, opposing players have the upmost respect for him as well as coaches. Players pick their captain along with the coaching staff. He has always been picked to be the captain because of his work ethic, passion and ability to play and lead. Giroux will also be joined this year by multiple players who used to have letters on their sweaters as well.

One player can not win everything. Consider this similar to a quarterback. A QB needs a good offensive line, running back, tight end and wide outs. He alone can not win. It is a team game and that is what hockey is. Just because you may some highlight goals from Auston Matthews or Mika Zibanejed doesn’t mean that happens day in and day out. Basketball maybe the only sport where a player can takeover on a nightly basis and lead a team to victory.

As fans we have a voice. We have a right to voice our displeasure. There are Philadelphia athletes who absolutely deserve our disdain and anger currently, but Giroux has never deserved it. He bleeds orange and black like all of us do. He wants nothing more than to bring a cup to Philly. Being a contract year, this maybe the last season we see number 28 in orange with a C on the front.

If it is, I hope you all enjoy the time we had with one of the best players to have wear the Flyers logo on their chest. When the dust settles and clears, Giroux will be a top five player all time in the team’s franchise. He is a true Flyer and a true Philadelphian.