Flyers’ Claude Giroux is Underrated

Since breaking into the league over a decade ago, Claude Giroux hasn’t been treated like an elite player, when in reality, it’s praise he deserves.

Why Giroux doesn’t get the publicity he deserves at a national level and is at most times criticized in the town he plays in, is anyone’s guess. However, it’s time to change the narrative and give him his proper due.

After breaking into the league slowly, Giroux has posted impressive numbers over a long period of time while also cementing himself as an all-time Flyers great.

Giroux Was a Steal in the 2006 NHL Draft 

Highlighting the top of the 2006 NHL Draft was Erik Johnson, selected No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Blues. Johnson has gone on to have a respectable career, but like many players selected No. 1 in the draft in NHL history, he’s proven unworthy of that spot. 

Aside from the obvious hits picked ahead of the Flyers selection at No. 22 in the 2006 draft, like Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Jonathan Toews and, perhaps to a lesser degree, Jordan Staal and Bryan Little, there are a handful of teams who’d love a do-over.

Claude Giroux Flyers
Claude Giroux was one of the steals of the 2006 NHL Draft (Christopher Szagola/Icon SMI)

Just some of the names picked ahead of Giroux were Derick Brassard, Kyle Okposo, Peter Mueller, James Sheppard, Michael Frolik, Jiri Tlusty, Ty Wishart, Trevor Lewis, Chris Stewart and Bobby Sanguinetti, along with David Fischer and Mark Mitera who never played a game in the NHL.

Two goaltenders were also taken ahead of Giroux, including Jonathan Bernier, who has had an average career in the NHL, and Riku Helenius, who played one — that’s one game — in the NHL.

While some of the players mentioned above have found success at the pro level, none come close to Giroux’s production over his NHL career. 

Out of the 213 players drafted in 2006, only Kessel (No. 5, Boston Bruins) and Backstrom (No. 4, Washington Capitals) have more points than Giroux’s 762. 

Giroux’s 526 assists are second only to Backstrom (642) and only Kessel, Toews (No. 3, Chicago Blackhawks) and Brad Marchand (No. 71, Boston Bruins) have scored more goals than Giroux’s 236. 

Giroux is Among the NHL’s Elite

In 2011, the Flyers made two shocking trades, shipping off two of their superstars in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the same day. While surely a turning point in Flyers’ history, it was also a defining moment for Giroux.

The trades of Richards and Carter made Giroux an offensive focal point in Philadelphia. Since that time, he’s delivered strong numbers that rival some of the league’s elite.

Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Milestones, NHL, Los Angeles Kings
The blockbuster trades of both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards catapulted Claude Giroux to the top of the Flyers’ lineup (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Since the 2011-12 season, Claude Giroux has posted 612 points, bested by only Patrick Kane (635) and Sidney Crosby (644).

No player has more assists than Giroux (426) over that time period; Sidney Crosby is closest, trailing Giroux by 13 assists at 413 ahead of the upcoming 2019-20 season.

Also, his playmaking ability has stood out in a big way since 2011, as he’s finished in the top 10 in assists seven times between the 2011-12 and 2018-19 seasons.

  • 2010-11 8th in assists (51)
  • 2011-12 2nd in assists (65)
  • 2012-13 6th in assists (35)
  • 2013-14 4th in assists (58)
  • 2014-15 9th in assists (48)
  • 2017-18 1st in assists (68)
  • 2018-19 9th in assists (63)

Since 2011, Giroux has posted a Corsi CF percentage of 53.3%, the highest by any Flyer. Furthermore, only Milan Lucic (53.9%), Joe Pavalski (54.7%), Drew Doughty (54.8%) and Justin Williams (57.2%) have a higher Corsi CF % among players who’ve matched Giroux’s 612 games played or more between 2011 and 2019.

Giroux Is One of the NHL’s Most Durable Players

The quote, “the best ability is availability,” is a cliche, but like most commonplace phrases in sports, it’s extremely accurate.

In the case of Giroux, his availability over the years has rarely been in question and that availability has been one of the ingredients to his overall success. 

Claude Giroux Flyers
Since entering the league, Claude Giroux has been one of the NHL’s most durable players. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Since 2009, he has played in 776 of a possible 786 games; over that same period, only Blake Wheeler (779) and Andrew Cogliano (780) have played in more games.

In fact, the Flyers’ captain hasn’t missed a regular season game in three seasons, looking to play a full 82 games in a fourth straight year this upcoming season.

Giroux Is Already One of the Best Flyers Ever

Being a part of the first wave of NHL expansion back in 1967, the Flyers have built a rich history filled with historic moments and hall of fame players. 

Entering the 2019-20 season, where he’ll turn 32-years-old, Giroux has already supplanted himself as one of the best to wear an orange and black sweater. 

With some years left in his skates, he has left his mark in the Flyers’ record books and is likely to climb higher in certain categories.

Giroux sits at second all-time in assists by a Flyer with 526, behind only Philly legend Bobby Clarke (852). Also impressive are the names Giroux has already surpassed in that stat, sitting ahead of Brian Propp (480), Bill Barber (463), Mark Recchi (395), Eric Lindros (369), Rich MacLeish (369) and Rod Brind’Amour (366). 

Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux
With an already impressive resume, Claude Giroux has cemented himself as an all-time great Philadelphia Flyer. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Still far away from retirement, Giroux is already third all-time in games played in Flyers’ history. He has played 820 games as a Flyer, trailing only Barber (903) and Clarke (1,144).

With 762 points in a Flyers uniform, that’s good enough for fourth all-time. The only names ahead of Giroux in points on the Flyers’ all-time list are Propp (849), Barber (883) and Clarke (1,210).

Another category Giroux should continue to climb in is goals. Giroux will enter the upcoming season with 236 goals, 10th all-time in Flyers’ history behind Simon Gagne (264), Lindros (290), Reggie Leach (306), MacLeish (328), John LeClair (333), Clarke (358), Tim Kerr (363), Propp (369) and Barber (420). 

Giroux’s path toward becoming one of the NHL’s best and most consistent players is a success story of sorts. He’s gone from a player who made his junior team, the Gatineau Olympiques, on a try-out to years later having a junior team in his hometown rocking his likeness as their logo

“When I went to Gatineau, I just wanted to play hockey,” Giroux recalled. “My dream was to play in the NHL, but I didn’t think I had a chance.”

source – ‘Claude Giroux a Little Big Man,’ The Globe and Mail, 02/14/12

Not bad for an undersized 5-foot-11, 185 pounder. 

Back in January of 2018, the Flyers retired Lindros’ No. 88, lifting it up to the rafters along with the numbers of Bernie Parent, Mark Howe, Barry Ashbee, Barber and Clarke’s.

Someday in the future, Giroux’s No. 28 should join them.