Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
An all-time great "that guy" in the background
Claude Giroux has improved his play and point totals each year of his NHL career.
During the build-up to the 2012 Winter Classic the NHL Network replayed the 2010 Classic in Boston, and watching the Giroux of two seasons ago and being able to compare it with what has transpired this season the overall improvement, beyond his point production, is supremely evident.
Giroux is stronger on the puck, tougher in corners and on faceoffs and more confident in his game and these qualities have landed him in the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophy Races.
Quite a bit of credit has been given to Giroux's tutelage under Jaromir Jagr- his sharing the secrets of NHL superstardom with young Claude.
But on the ice it seems Giroux is actually carrying Jagr.
Yes, Jagr has the third most points (31) on the team despite missing six games, but really most of the credit can go to Giroux.
Of Jagr's 12 goals Giroux has the assist on seven of them.
Furthermore, Jagr's shooting percentage is also concerning.
Despite being 11th all-time in goals and ninth all-time in points Jagr has actually struggled to find the back of the net this season, shooting only 13.8%- fifth on the Flyers, trailing Matt Read (14%), Max Talbot (17.2%), Scott Hartnell (17.6%) and Claude Giroux (17.8%).
My point is another player in Jagr's position, playing alongside Giroux, arguably the best player in the league, as well as Mike Knuble 2.0- Scott Hartnell, would be similarly productive.
Hartnell, despite lacking Jagr's passing ability, has as many assists (19) as his future hall of fame linemate.
Despite not playing with Giroux for a majority of the season both Danny Briere and Matt Read have put up 13 goals, and James van Riemsdyk, having a disappointing season so far, has put 11 pucks in the net, only one fewer than Jagr's 12.
And the fact that a youngster could be outperforming Jagr brings me to my next point...