Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux Is Captain Material
The 2011 Philadelphia Flyers will look very different from the team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago. The team was able to add one of the premier goaltenders in the NHL in Ilya Bryzgalov, while keeping their elite defensive corps intact.
Mike Richards wore the "C" for the Flyers but now will be taking his leadership (partying?) qualities to Los Angeles. Chris Pronger is the logical choice as the next captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, but he will not be around forever.
Here are five reasons why Claude Giroux will be a captain of the Flyers someday.
The 23-year-old Claude Giroux has already shown the City of Brotherly Love that he is one of the most skilled players in the Eastern Conference. He tallied 25 goals and 51 assists for 76 points while spending time at wing and center.
It became quite apparent in 2010 that Giroux is the Flyers' best offensive player. He looked unstoppable at times and he now will have the opportunity to log a ton of ice time with the moves the front office has made.
Giroux quite simply possesses some of the best hands in the game. Opposing teams knew that Giroux could dangle with anyone in the NHL, but he has worked extremely hard on his shot and can finish now as well.
Do you really think GM Paul Holmgren would trade both Mike Richards and Jeff Carter if he wasn't 100% positive that Claude Giroux is a superstar?
Claude Giroux might be missing some teeth, but that sure as heck won't keep him out of the lineup. "Geno" is a true warrior on the ice who never backs down from anyone—qualities that certainly endear an athlete to the blue-collar town of Philadelphia.
Giroux played every game in 2010 (regular season and playoffs) and showed that he is willing to play through bumps and bruises. The Flyers had a lot of players go down in 2010, but Claude Giroux was a staple of their lineup.
Claude Giroux will not back down from anyone, which is a huge reason why he will be captain of the Philadelphia Flyers someday. Giroux may only be 5"11' and 180 lbs, but he has incredibly strong legs and the ability to shield the puck from defenders in the corners.
It almost reminds you of another great player who was terrific at shielding the puck, Jaromir Jagr. OK I will stop right there with the Giroux/Jagr comparisons, but Giroux flies around the ice with a reckless abandon that is not often seen by a player with such skill.
If you want to be captain of a team that once featured the "Broad Street Bullies," you'd better be tough. Flyers fans can put a check mark next to that category for Claude Giroux.
2. Vocal Leader/ Passion
The Philadelphia Flyers were due for a major shakeup this offseason as there was constant speculation that the team was divided in the locker room. Mike Richards often played like a captain, but he very rarely acted like a captain off the ice.
He was a very quiet guy and obviously was not comfortable talking with the media. He even went an extended period of time without talking to the Philadelphia media during the 2010 season.
That is a big no-no in a city with the most loyal fans in the sport who follow their team religiously 365 days a year. Claude Giroux plays with a passion and fire that is contagious to his team, but he also has shown that he will speak up when necessary.
Philadelphia needs more than a leader-by-example out of their captain.
1. Two-Way Player
Claude Giroux may have made the All-Star game for his dazzle and skill, but he is much more than an offensive talent. He was a plus-20 on the season in 2010 and is able to play in any situation.
He scored five game-winning goals and three short-handed goals in 2010. He added eight power-play goals and seemed like a threat to score almost every time he was on the ice.
He is a true two-way player that will be the face of this franchise for at least the next decade. Chris Pronger deserves to be the captain of this team for the foreseeable future, but Claude Giroux will get his chance soon.
He has all of the qualities that Philadelphia wants from their captain.