After Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux had NHL career lows in goals and points last season, general manager Ron Hextall was asked about the captain's future during his final press conference of 2016-17. "I'll be shocked next year if you guys don't ask me in January how has [Giroux] turned this around," Hextall said in April. January has seen Giroux continue to play some of the best hockey of his 11-season NHL career. With the Flyers on their mandated five-day break, his 52 points (14 goals, 38 assists) in 42 games are tied for second with Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, and eight behind Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (60). He was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the fifth time on Wednesday. Giroux is on pace for 102 points, which would be an NHL career high, surpassing the 93 he had in 2011-12. He had 58 points (14 goals, 44 assists) in 82 games last season. Those numbers earned him a spot on the Metropolitan Division All-Star team. "You don't want to overthink it too much, just want to go out there and play well for your team," Giroux said. "Just try to do what you do best." Though some might be surprised at Giroux's resurgence, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol isn't. "I'm not surprised at anything [Giroux] does," he said. "You guys know the hockey player and the person a little bit. But to know the person, to know the competitiveness that burns inside of him, I'm not surprised." So how has Giroux done it? Better health and a position change are the biggest reasons. Giroux's health issues date to the 2015-16 season. He had surgery to repair hip and abdominal muscle injuries May 17, 2016, but the after-effects lingered. Though he was healthy enough to play for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and all 82 games last season, he never felt or skated like himself.
Giroux enjoying resurgent season with Flyers
NHL.com | Jan 10