Philadelphia Flyers: Can Claude Giroux help bring the Stanley Cup to the City of Brotherly Love?

Is Claude Giroux the next most deserving of his generation’s All-Stars?

Now that the Stanley Cup celebration dust has settled, and (most of) the city of Washington D.C. has sobered up, the question is… who is next? There were many elite players drafted between 2004-2007. Many have won the coveted trophy, but several have not. Claude Giroux is one of the latter. And also one of the most deserving.

Who else is deserving?

Which players you consider “elite” are up to personal opinion.  My view here is choosing players who have been NHL all-stars, and continue to contribute greatly to their organizations. From Giroux’s “draft generation”, I’ve included players from his draft, and up to two years prior and after. I am also not including goalies, because comparing their candidacy with an offensive player is quite difficult.

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Coming out of the draft in 2004, some of the top-notch players have been Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and arguably Blake Wheeler. Ovechkin and Malkin have both hoisted the Cup, with Wheeler still chasing that dream. 2005 had a much deeper draft. Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, T.J. Oshie, Kris Letang are the names that stick out (besides a cluster of fantastic goaltenders). Every one of these players has a ring on their finger already.

In the 2006 NHL draft, at pick number 22, Bobby Clarke infamously forgot Giroux’s name, though chose him nonetheless. Other world-class players selected that year were Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, and Brad Marchand. Once again, all players but Giroux have won an NHL championship.

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Those who came after

Once Giroux started his career in the pros, the two following drafts also yielded some fantastic players. In the 2007 draft, Patrick Kane was selected first overall (still a sore subject to Flyers fans). P.K. Subban and Jamie Benn were also drafted that year, and have both had tremendous careers thus far.

Lastly, in the 2008 NHL draft, great players such as Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, and Roman Josi got drafted. Doughty is the only one in the group who has won a championship. That leaves us with Stamkos, Karlsson, and Josi still fighting to earn the chance at holding the Cup.

In my opinion, not including goalies, that leaves the NHL with seven elite players in these five drafts still hoping to see their name engraved. Needless to say Giroux is amongst the most deserving to be the next one up, and hopefully, the Flyers organization can help him make that happen.

Comparing statistics

In 738 career games in the NHL, Giroux has a total of 677 points. That is good for .917 points per game in non-lockout seasons. This past season, the Ontario native recorded 102 points in 82 games, good for 1.24 points per game. Of the other players mentioned, Wheeler was close with 1.12 points per game, and Stamkos right behind him at 1.1.

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In the last ten seasons, Giroux is ninth overall in points. The only non-Stanley Cup winner ahead of him is Henrik Sedin, with 15 more points than Giroux. In the last five seasons, the Flyers captain is fifth in points. The only non-Cup winner ahead of him would be Jamie Benn, who impressively only missed one game between the 2013-14 season and 2015-16.

Don’t forget about the blue line

With defenseman, it is a little tougher to gauge a players impact on their team. Scoring points, though helpful, isn’t always what is asked of these players. Karlsson clearly has the edge when it comes to getting the puck in the net, leading all defenseman in points in both the last five and ten years. With trade rumors whirling, it is unknown where Karlsson will end up before the trade deadline.

Don’t sleep on Subban and Josi, however. With .65 and .61 points per game, respectively, they both still manage to help their team put points on the board. Both playing in Nashville, the Predators are lucky to have two defensemen of their caliber playing for their club.

After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2016-17 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Predators remained a threat in 2017-18. A second-round loss to the Winnipeg Jets will give them the motivation to continue to attempt to win the Western Conference in the coming seasons.

Giroux’s tenure in Philadelphia

Giroux is now Philadelphia’s longest-tenured athlete and has had a great career. But one thing has been missing; the ever-evasive Stanley Cup. Getting married this past weekend, Giroux finally has a ring on his finger. Flyers fans, however, would like to see a different kind of ring. The one earned for winning the Stanley Cup.

Though last season fans saw he still has a lot in his tank, Giroux is now 30 years old. It is up to him and the rest of the Flyers organization to bring a championship parade to Broad Street. Many guys from his draft generation deserve to hoist the cup, but Giroux might be the most deserving.

The East isn’t getting any easier to win anytime soon. But with the talent coming up, help in between the pipes, and a resurgence at left wing, the dominos could fall in line sooner than we think. And if they do, the Flyers captain will certainly have a lot to do with it.

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Featured image credit @dmark44 via Flickr.