The True Even-Strength Story of Claude Giroux

It is a bit strange that Claude Giroux has yet to score a home goal at even-strength this season. But if this random coincidence is being used to reduce the captain’s effectiveness for the Flyers, the whole story isn’t being accurately considered. What exactly does the 27-year-old forward’s five-on-five numbers say?

The Breakdown

With a 17-8-5 home record, 61 percent of Philadelphia’s 65 total points have been collected at home. The Flyers have eight more wins at the Wells Fargo Center than on the road, and have scored 11 more even-strength goals at home there as well.

Philly’s 49.8 percent SAT percentage* at home is 0.2 percent lower than their overall 49.10 percent mark, the difference between a league-wide rank of 23rd and 22nd.

This small collection of statistics confirms what we already know: the Flyers are better at home than they are on the road.

But despite Giroux’s 57 points, which ties him with Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf for 13th in the NHL, much of the attention appears to be locked in on the captain’s goose egg at home in the even-strength goal department.

Sure, it’s perplexing. But is it more of an odd occurrence – or lack thereof – than anything else?

The Giroux-Voracek pairing has been together since 2012-13 and was an effective pair, with both sitting among the NHL’s scoring leaders all season.

Yet the two of them have hit the skids — just two even-strength goals since the Christmas break as a tandem. — Tim Panaccio, CSN Philly

While Claude Giroux has yet to find the back of the net at home in five-on-five settings, the captain has arguably been better on Broad Street.

Of the Philadelphia forwards who have skated in 20 games or more, Giroux’s even-strength 54.1 percent home SAT percentage trails only Michael Raffl’s 56.2 percent. Keep in mind that Giroux has not only played nine more games than the Flyers’ young Austrian, but skates against tough competition, trailing only Sean Couturier and Matt Read’s time on ice competition percentage.

Giroux’s SAT percentage on the road, however, dips to 52.4 percent – not a drastic drop off, but a decline nonetheless. Compared to Raffl’s 59.5 percent, and Jakub Voracek’s 54.6 percent five-on-five SAT percentage, it’s evident that Giroux is more aggressive on the offensive side of the ice at home than on in another team’s building.

“We’re not playing bad right now,” said Giroux last week of he and Jake Voracek’s recent struggles. “It’s just not going in.”

That’s where the PDO factor comes into play. Giroux’s even-strength home PDO of 99.6 percent trails eight other forwards in orange and black with 20 or more games, including Scott Laughton, who has a total of two goals and four assists in 31 games.

On the road, however, Giroux’s PDO jumps to 101.1 percent, trailing only Couturier, Voracek, and surprisingly, R.J. Umberger.

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This better explains Giroux’s five-on-five goal drought at home, although it remains a bit of an anomaly. Last season, it took the star forward 18 games to net his first goal of the season. And while much of that can be dumped on an offseason injury suffered on the golf course, Giroux’s overall production hasn’t suffered since.

As the Flyers sit six points out of a playoff spot through Feb. 22’s action, the Flyers’ second leading scorer would much rather lead his team to the playoffs than acquire personal accolades anyway.

“Play smart,” Giroux recently said. “Play for each other.”

Other Contributions

Aside from leading the NHL in points since his first season as the team’s top line center, Claude Giroux has improved his overall game with each passing year. Currently in his seventh full season, the Hearst, Ontario native has been leaned on more than ever this season as the team he leads fights for a playoff spot.

“I think he leads by example every night on the ice,” said Flyers coach Craig Berube of his star captain. “That’s what captains are supposed to do, and he does it. And he is producing. He’s had a real good year. I think his game is really more rounded than it was last year. He is a better defensive player than he was last year in my opinion.”

Giroux’s 29 power play points leads the league, which has pushed the Flyers’ power play to their third ranked 23.6 percent power play percentage. So while number 28 hasn’t lit the lamp at home at five-on-five this season, seven of his 17 goals scored through Feb. 22 have been potted at home via the man advantage.

Over the past three seasons, no player in the NHL has more power-play points than Giroux, who has piled up a whopping 120 points with the man advantage in that span. Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin, who is next on this list, trails Giroux by 14 points. It’s not even close. — Brady Trettenero, Flyers Nation

While those numbers are not updated through Feb. 22’s action, the main point remains – Giroux is dominant on the power play. Impressive as it is by itself, Giroux’s value doesn’t dry up there.

Used in all situations, Giroux is Philadelphia’s true work horse. The right handed stick handler sees an average increase of 4:20 to his five-on-five average ice time per 60 minutes thanks to his special teams deployment, while his 20:49 of total time on ice trails only Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto for the team lead in average playing time.

Because of his skill to score, defend, and win faceoffs, the face of the Flyers organization has also racked up a proportionate amount of offensive and defensive zone starts. Through Feb. 22, Giroux has seen 645 offensive zone starts, 362 neutral zone starts, and 489 defensive starts, while leading the NHL with 772 faceoff wins.

With 434 points in 474 NHL regular season games, Giroux’s home goalless drought at even-strength shouldn’t be an issue. Especially with his 61 points in 57 career playoff games added to the equation. Six of those points, of course, came in setting a franchise record in Game 2 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Based on his complete past body of work, Claude Giroux doesn’t have to score a single five-on-five home goal to be validated. Then again, based on what he’s accomplished, that’s what makes this scenario so strange.

Perhaps that is why this is being discussed in the first place.

 

*SAT percentage can be found on NHL.com under the new “enhanced” setting under statistics. SAT stands for “shot attempts for,” otherwise known as “Corsi for.” Further information can be found here.

*Home/Away and PDO statistics gathered from War-on-Ice.