The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at the captain Claude Giroux.
I hope Giroux’s back finally healed a bit during the 2019-20 season, since this was the first time in a long time that he didn’t have to single-handedly carry the team on it. Many might have viewed this season as a decline in play from the captain, but he never left his team out to dry – always finding ways to step up when others could not, and of course, being an incredible leader and face for the franchise.
This was also a season where he continued to climb the rankings in Flyers history – and one of the biggest came on an unexpected night where all eyes were on the opposing team. Let’s flash back to Feb. 8, when the Flyers visited the Capitals and everyone was on Alex Ovechkin watch, as he was just two goals away from reaching the 700 club. Instead of that milestone being reached, the Flyers delivered a 7-2 beatdown, with the help of Giroux and his 800th career NHL point.
He is now fourth overall in Flyers franchise history in points (815) and is one of only 16 active players in the league to have over 800 or more career points. It’s important on this day and every day to understand the skill set of No. 28 – even after being in the league for 12 years.
So, let’s appreciate a strong season from Giroux (21 goals, 32 assists, 53 points) and appreciate even more that he now has help throughout the roster.
B+ for the captain.
The start of the 2019-20 wasn’t Giroux’s strongest offensively, but his consistent speed and skill, especially on the power play, was a steady force for the Flyers in getting them where they ended up at the end of the regular season.
The offense got going more in the second half of the season for Giroux, though it could have still been more consistent. He suffered through a 13-game goal-scoring drought in January, but found a way out of it and went to have eight-10 – 18 points in the 15 following games on the schedule.
The captain also set career milestones in 2019-20, breaking 800 career points and passing Flyers record 235 career power play assists (currently has 236).
The Flyers had a huge turnaround year; there’s no doubt Giroux was a reason for it.
He gets an A-.
While Giroux’s stats dropped off this season, his goal scoring did not. In fact, he was on pace to score more goals than last season. However, in the playmaking category, Giroux had just about half of the assists he registered last season. Despite Giroux’s decline on the stat sheet, No. 28 did make up for it in other ways. Giroux has played wing for the better part of two seasons and has moved to the middle at times, moving back and forth seamlessly.
The other area where Giroux excelled is in the clutch department. When the Flyers need their captain to come through, he’s there. Big goals, as we saw during the hot streak prior to the NHL pause, shows that Giroux still has that ability to take the team on his back at times. The only knock on Giroux this season is that during the middle stretch of the season he had the tendency to disappear for stretches of games.
Overall, I give Giroux a B+ for the season.
A hugely important statistic to highlight on Giroux’s sheet: 18:59 time on ice per game.
It marked his fewest minutes per night since his first full NHL season in 2009-10, when he played 16:37 a game as a 22-year-old.
Alain Vigneault’s system is augmented by balance within the forwards. The deeper 2019-20 Flyers were able to pace and help the 32-year-old Giroux, who has missed only 10 games over the last 11 seasons.
Since 2009-10, the year of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Final run, Claude Giroux has played in 845 of a possible 855 games and has scored 788 points.
He's the only NHL player to rank in the top 5 of both categories over that stretch.
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) May 14, 2020
The Flyers were better with Giroux not having to do as much. They won 16 games in which Giroux went scoreless, signaling a much different tune from years past.
And Giroux was still very effective, scoring 21 goals and 53 points, having his best faceoff season ever (and he’s had some good ones), while being one of the club’s top players in shots per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and elite on the power play.
A real solid B+ for Giroux, who is still in his prime.