Philadelphia Flyers: Will Claude Giroux return to past playoff form?

Claude Giroux #28, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Claude Giroux #28, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

With the Philadelphia Flyers returning to relevancy, will Claude Giroux return to past playoff form?

As most Philadelphia Flyers fans know, June 9, 2020 made it a decade since their beloved orange and black fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. What some fans seem to have forgotten is during the 2010 playoffs we saw the emergence of a star in Claude Giroux.

During postseason play, Giroux was able to contribute with 10 goals and 21 points in 23 playoff games, recording nearly half his regular-season total of 47 points while helping lead the seventh seed Flyers to an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Giroux also happened to score the overtime goal to give the Flyers their first victory in the series versus Chicago.

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In each of the next two seasons, Giroux carried his playoff success into the regular season as he went on to tally 169 points in 159 games while also totaling 29 points in 21 playoff games in those two years.

It’s also worth mentioning that he was nominated for the Hart Trophy for the first time in 2011, finishing fourth behind only Evgeni Malkin, who scored 50 goals, Steven Stamkos, who scored 60 times, and Henrik Lundqvist, who finished the regular season with an insane 1.97 GAA.

Fast forward to 2020 and the Flyers have only been to the playoffs three times since the 2011-12 season and have failed to make it out of the first round, and this I assume is where the “G haters” chime in. During those three playoff series, Giroux has failed to produce like he had in the past, contributing with just three goals and 10 points in 19 games.

There are a few factors for why the point totals are so different, but one must consider how he may not have been 100% in 2015. It’s also worth pointing out the talent and depth on the rosters in 2015 and 2017 were far inferior to those back in 2008 to 2011. Yet Giroux still managed 10 points in 19 playoff games. Having said that, here’s why I believe Giroux will return to past playoff form.

“G” was on fire from February 8 to March 7, racking up 18 points in 14 games while scoring 8 times during that stretch of play and the Flyers went 12-2-0 and beat team like the Caps, Rangers, and Blue Jackets twice with Giroux registering 4 goals and 9 points against them.

The Flyers were seemingly on their way to the top of the Metro division when play stopped, answering all questions and doubts along the way and doing it without young stars in Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick.

This Flyers team has an experienced coach in Alain Vigneault, revamped special teams, a phenom goaltender, and depth up and down the lineup. Obviously the coach plays a huge role but in the playoffs roster depth is so important to have and the Flyers have it.

This season, we saw Giroux play some center when needed but he’s been used primarily on the left-wing and centered by Selke Trophy candidate, Sean Couturier. On line two, opposing teams will have to deal with prize offseason acquisition Kevin Hayes, providing one of the top 1-2 center tandems in the NHL in terms of defensive forwards.

The Flyers also iced two of the best bottom six lines in the NHL with players like Scott Laughton, James Van Riemsdyk, and Michael  Raffl leading the charge while also having younger players like Joel Farabee and Nicolas Aube-Kubel making important contributions.

I’d also be remised if I were to leave out one of the most underrated off-season acquisitions in Tyler Pitlick and possibly the most underrated trade deadline pick-up in Derek Grant, who quickly recorded 5 points in 7 games for the Flyers.

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One could argue this current Flyers team actually has more depth and potentially a better mix of talent and skill on the roster than those Flyer playoff teams of the past. With Claude Giroux returned to form and the incredible talent and determination up and down the roster I can’t help but believe we will see the Flyers long time captain absolutely light up the opposition in this years playoffs and for years to come.