The Price is Right for Giroux and the Flyers

In the summer of 2011, I had a pretty good gig. I’d intern a few days every week, and the others I’d wake up at 2, have some cereal, and watch the Price is Right and Fresh Prince reruns on DVR until I could go play open hockey.

Basically, living the life.

I’m pretty sure I was halfway through a bowl of Cocoa Rice Krispies when I found out the Flyers traded Jeff Carter. I don’t think I made any progress on finishing it by the time I found out Mike Richards was gone, too.

When Paul Holmgren reinvented the Flyers, I spent the rest of that night sorting through questions.

My biggest inquiry was “How the hell is this team was going to score enough goals to matter without two of its most important offensive players?”

I don’t really think I was alone in asking that, either.

Less than a year later, I was toting Claude Giroux as an MVP candidate and the Flyers had no problems with their attack. Yesterday’s news officially gives closure to the Richards and Carter trades.

Now the 25-year-old Giroux is going to be a Flyer for a long time (don’t worry, he was smart enough to include a no-movement clause).

The deal is good for a well-deserved eight years and $66.2 million ($8.275 million cap hit).

I guess the reason I described it as well deserved is because of how much he did over the last two seasons in addition to the numbers.

Going into the 2011-12 season, the Flyers could best be described as an uncertainty. Really, the torch was supposed to be passed to James van Riemsdyk who just signed an extension after an outstanding playoff performance, but we all know how that turned out (oh hey Luke Schenn!).

From start to finish, Giroux was outstanding. He had a career-high 93 points, got his mug on a video game, and grew into a much-needed face of the franchise.

He provided stability and drove results for a team that seemed to be in chaos through the Bryzaster ©. He even emerged as the no-doubt choice as the team’s captain.

Giroux was always a fan favorite, but he became a Philadelphia sports legend with the way he helped the Flyers eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.

Much like the way fans viewed the team and its potential scoring woes after the Carter/Richards trades, the situation of Giroux’s Game 6 shift has been lost in the shuffle.

The Flyers won the first three games of that series in what can be described as hockey-on-crack fashion.

Pittsburgh, which entered the playoffs as Cup favorites, responded by winning the next two games including a 10-3 embarrassment at the Wells Fargo Center without James Neal.

The Flyers looked poised to choke, plain and simple, and everybody was ready for it.

Five seconds into the game 6 (5 SECONDS!), Giroux plowed Sidney Crosby. Twenty-seven seconds later, Giroux pounced on a loose puck as if he was working with some kind of hockey ESP, stopped to avoid Steve Sullivan and sent the smooth-skating winger out of control and into the left corner, and sniped a wrist shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker, off the left post and into the back of the net.

That shift was a microcosm of the entire season. On a team in flux, Giroux provided confidence and stability, and in incredible fashion.

He even had a legendary story to go along with the shift.

I found it comical that Giroux’s lock-out shortened season was viewed as a disappointment when he posted 48 points in 48 games. Really, that just goes to show how far he’s come.

I really haven’t thought back on Giroux’s career before today.

When he came up, I always thought he would be an exciting addition to a nucleus that felt capable of winning a Cup.

He didn’t arrive with too much fanfare. He wasn’t a particularly high draft pick and, originally slated to play wing, seemed like he would complement Jeff Carter, a rare shoot-first center.

After a couple nice playoff runs, including 21 points in 23 playoff games when the Flyers made it to the Cup finals, maybe Giroux’s stock rose a bit. Maybe it was me, history (and college) can be blurry, but Giroux never felt like a franchise guy. We knew he was good, but maybe not that good.

That’s probably why the Carter/Richards trades felt like Roster Apocalypse.

I really questioned whether Giroux could handle the top-line responsibilities. Previously, he was considered the third center behind Richards and Carter, who both were very solid in their own zone.

Giroux would have to take on tougher assignments. He would also become the focal point of opposing teams and face top-pairing defensemen every night.

At the time of the trade, Giroux and Danny Briere became the team’s top two centers. Briere needs to be protected. I figured Giroux would take the hit, and I had serious questions whether he could produce at similar levels (76 points in 2010-11) with all of these factors.

That was only two seasons ago.

Giroux seized the moment, actually upping his point totals and fulfilling every role as a top-line player.

If I knew then what I know now, I’m sure I would have finished my Cocoa Rice Krispies and plowed through my Price is Right marathon. Giroux has had no problem carrying the Flyers and will continue to do so for a long time.

Statistically Speaking:

Here’s a little chart I drew up on why Giroux statistically deserves the deal. It covers the last three seasons. Keep in mind that Giroux’s deal covers ages 26-35 (he’s currently 25, but the contract kicks in after the season) and Corey Perry’s and Ryan Getzlaf’s deals cover ages 28-36 (I used those guys because they aren’t loaded with back-diving years like deals before the lockout).

Games Goals Assists Points Contract
Claude Giroux 207 66 151 217 8 years, 62.2 mil ($8.275 avg)
Corey Perry 206 102 92 194 8 years, $69 mil ($8.625 avg)
Ryan Getzlaf 193 45 137 182 8 years, $66 mil (8.25 mil)

Getzlaf had a strange shooting percentage season two years ago that screw up his goal totals and Perry’s assists numbers, but you get the point. Considering Giroux is a bit younger, you have to like this deal. Also, 78 of Giroux points came on the power play. Anyone who watched this team knew how bad the Flyers’ second unit was, and Giroux helped them finish third in the NHL at 21.6 percent.

This is important because age has a smaller impact on power play results.

(Also noteworthy, this is good for Vinny Lecavalier)

Snap Shots:

-The Flyers re-signed Adam Hall for one year and $600k. Hall won over 56 percent of his faceoffs last season and can kill penalties. Between Giroux, Lecavalier, and Hall, the Flyers have three guys who can really win draws, something that hurt the team last season. Furthermore, Hall could keep 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton in the AHL next season. I think that’s a good thing. Laughton would play limited minutes on the fourth line in the NHL. In the minors, he can work on more aspects of his game and play in some more games. That said, the Flyers could deal one of their other centers and this could change.

-According to Tim Panaccio, the Flyers are out on Tim Thomas and in on Ray Emery. Also, the door isn’t closed on a deal for Jaroslav Halak. By the time this is posted, shit could get real, but this makes me wonder if the Flyers are hesitant to invest in a goalie again.

Posted on July 5, 2013, in Flyers, Nick Carroll, Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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