It’d be an understatement to say that Claude Giroux is the heartbeat of the Philadelphia Flyers.
He will also be the reason that the Flyers do or don’t make the playoffs this season.
Giroux has been up and down constantly over the past 3 seasons. He has stretches where he puts on his cape and is Superman, and he has stretches where he will be relatively quiet. Giroux’s name is almost synonymous with the Flyers succeeding. This past season, his point total decreased from the 86 he had in 2013-14. That 86 doesn’t tell the full story, Giroux started out the season struggling to score a single goal, and then kicked it into a whole different gear for the remainder of the season.
So just how crucial is Claude Giroux to the success of the Flyers?
The graph above shows Claude Giroux’s points per game against the Flyers winning percentage. As you can see, the winning percentage line nearly mirrors the line for Giroux’s point production. That’s no coincidence.
Think back to the start of the 2013-14 season, aside from the Flyers historically bad start, Giroux didn’t even score a goal until mid-November. As soon as Giroux found his groove the Flyers got things straightened out. That trend was very definitive during the 2013-14 season, coincidentally the Flyers made the playoffs that season. Move to this past season, and both lines fluctuate. Of course, Giroux was still one of the Flyers best players this past season, but there wasn’t really a stretch where I can look back and say he put the team on his back.
So if the Flyers want to find themselves back in the post-season, Giroux is going to need to be consistent and produce at the levels he didwhen the team was in the playoffs.
As I said before, it’s no secret that he is the lifeblood of this team. Even back to 2012, when he leveled Sidney Crosby and the fired a rocket past Marc-Andre Fleury, the team followed his lead and never looked back. And the next series when Giroux lost his cool and earned himself a suspension? The team looked lost and was bounced. There are so many examples that it would be almost pointless to list them all.
That just further exemplifies why this year is Giroux’s time to shine.
The Flyers are going through a transitional period. New guys are coming in, and young guys are getting their shots at the bigs. If Giroux can produce at that steady pace, the team will follow, and young guys will feel more comfortable easing in. It’s already happened before. Voracek became a Flyer right before Giroux’s best season yet, that is no doubt a crucial piece to Voracek’s development into the player he is becoming.
Giroux is a guy you want with the ‘C’ on his jersey, if he finds his offensive groove again, look out, because the rest of the Flyers will most likely follow suit.
Matt is a contributor for the Philadelphia Flyers at The Hockey Writers. He has previously covered the Flyers for GrandstandU. He enjoys playing hockey and making music in his spare time.