When Can We Stop Calling Claude Giroux a Role Player?

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IApril 25, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 21:  Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs  at the Wachovia Center on April 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 3-1 to take a three games to one lead in the series.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

What is a role player?

A team athlete who plays mainly in specific situations.

The importance of role players is widely underrated.

Fact:  You can't win a championship with a team full of superstars.

Fiction:  The Detroit Red Wings have no role players.

When you take a glance at the Wings roster, you'll come across lots of big name players.  Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Ralfalski to name a few.

What makes the Wings so good is that they have the role players.  The Danny Clearlys of the world, the Kirk Maltbys of the world, the Mikael Samuelssons of the world.

The Red Wings have the correct mixture of skill and grit.

Now lets get back to the topic at hand.

When can you stop calling Claude Giroux a role player?

Lately a lot of people have been calling Giroux a role player.

It's time to remove that label.

Since the return of Danny Briere, there is an argument that the Philadelphia Flyers best player has been the 21-year-old hybrid forward.

Giroux naturally plays the right wing, however the Flyers don't have him playing wing.  Instead, John Stevens has him playing center.

It was a move that took a lot of guts to make; switching a highly touted prospect to center on the fly, but the move has been paying dividends.

Not many Flyers' fans were aware that Giroux was responsible on both sides of the puck; the buzz surrounding the kid was his offensive showing in QMJHL playoffs last year.

The man is simply a magician with the puck and he's a pickpocket without the puck.

His vision has been compared to Peter Forsberg; just look at this pass to Simon Gagne against the New Jersey Devils, does that remind you of Forsberg?

Giroux is no longer a role player for the Flyers.

If he is, what role does he play?

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