Claude Giroux is an emotional guy bordering reactionary. He stewed all summer after his statistically worst season in seven years as critic after critic questioned whether he’s over the hockey hill. The Flyers’ captain knew he’d have to answer those questions in person and even after preparing for it, he reluctantly stood in front of a couple reporters while his eyes wandered to the doorframe as if they could walk him out of the locker room and down the hall. “For sure it bothers me,” Giroux said. “That’s not the player I want to be. I put that behind me. Everybody in this room, we’re all looking forward.” There might not be as many questions if last season looked like an outlier. In terms of points per game, he’s been in a decline for three straight seasons. At even strength last season, his shot-attempt percentage was ninth on the team among players who suited up for at least 15 games. As a team, the Flyers scored the fourth fewest goals at 5-on-5 in the NHL. The captain could be the biggest question of the Flyers’ upcoming season with training camp a week away: Has Claude Giroux lost it? Is the decline of the last three seasons indicative of whatever the rest of his career holds for him? “I knew all those questions were going to come in camp,” he said. “For me I’m putting it in the past. I’m looking forward. I’m really working hard to be good and for me I think I put myself in a good spot to have a good season. We can keep talking about the last few years, but it’s not going to make me a better player.” This season will be the fourth in an eight-year deal for Giroux that holds a salary-cap hit of $8.275 million per season, the highest on the team. He’s their top center and, for his shortcomings elsewhere, was excellent on the power play. He was fourth in the league with 31 points on the man advantage.
Claude Giroux reports early with the spotlight brighter than ever
Courier-Post | Sep 7