Claude Giroux is entering his third full season in the NHL, and his remarkably well-rounded style of play already has the most optimistic of scouts and fans describing him as a soon-to-be Peter Forsberg. That’s a comparison that any hockey player would find exciting.
Giroux’s greatest strength is the fact that he has no greatest strength. He has 50 career goals in two-plus seasons, indicating that he has a scoring touch. He also has 100 career assists, meaning that he’s every bit as good a setup man as he is a shooter.
At 23 years old, Giroux is already a mainstay on the power play and the penalty kill, and fans regularly witness him kill 20-30 seconds of penalty time by himself in the opponent’s offensive zone, using his crafty maneuvering and great hockey sense.
The smallest player on the roster doesn’t play like the smallest player on the roster; a hit from Giroux, at 172 lbs, might be less painful than a hit from Chris Pronger, but Giroux was a miniature wrecking ball in 2010-11 with 117 hits in 82 games.
On top of it all, Giroux is a playoff performer. During the Flyers’ Stanley Cup run in 2009-10, Giroux amassed 21 points in 23 games, and in the Flyers’ twelve playoff games in 2010-11 Giroux was good for more than a point per game.
With Mike Richards and Jeff Carter gone, the Flyers are looking for players to exhibit the kind of versatility that the departed players brought to the table. Claude Giroux appears capable of not only matching that standard, but taking it to an even more impressive level.