Claude Giroux has a different energy this season
Going into this season, I made a big deal of Giroux pulling the trigger when speaking with Chuck Fletcher. When they spoke, Giroux gave the green light to ship out integral core pieces to build a different team around him and Couturier.
Claude Giroux has always been an important voice in the organization. However, in his exit interviews last season I noted a different urgency and tone in his voice when he said he will meet with Fletcher in the offseason. Something about it felt different, like he WILL meet with Chuck and important decisions WILL be made.
Alas, shortly after the cup was handed out Chuck Fletcher got right to work making necessary decisions and transactions to get back into competing. Players like Michael Raffl (trade deadline), Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere we’re all important to the team and had great relationships with Giroux. It just felt like the ship had sailed and a fresh supporting cast would be needed to get back into contention.
With new additions like Ryan Ellis, Cam Atkinson, Derick Brassard, and Keith Yandle there is no shortage of leaders and a plethora of playoff mileage. It finally seems like the team is properly built around the core pieces, and you can see it clearly on Claude Giroux.
Claude Giroux has had an excellent start to the season scoring 3 goals in 4 games, a feat he has not accomplished since the 2011-12 season. Giroux has always been one of those players to start a little slow and then pick it up exponentially as the season plays out; this is definitely not the case this year.
The shoot first mentality the team seems to have now has rubbed off on Claude Giroux, who now has the talent and IQ around him to play freely. Being on a line with familiar faces Couturier and Konecny allows him to know what to expect. And with Konecny having a bounce back season himself, that helps a lot as well.
Keith Yandle is now the quarterback of the first powerplay unit and he prefers distributing the puck and setting someone else up instead of shooting. This is such a big difference from Shayne Gostisbehere who would take any opportunity to use his rocket of a shot. Yandle has and will not hesitate to give Claude Giroux every golden opportunity he can.
The Flyers are without a doubt in win-now mode and you know players like Giroux and Couturier are starving for some winning. 2021-22 could very well be an important season in the legacy of Claude Giroux, and it will remain to be seen how much of a shot they have at going on a run, but the urgency is visible.
Turning 34 in January, the clock is ticking for Claude Giroux to get his Stanley Cup and cement one of the best Flyers careers of all time. I can sit around and complain about how the team never gave him a chance in his peak years, but the fact is everything this regime has done, points to win-now.
It has all built to this. It’s time for the Giroux led Flyers to finally take that next step and show the league they mean business. After all the hardships throughout the years, it would be poetic for one of the most under-appreciated athletes in Philadelphia to finally receive his flowers.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Flyers