Top 5: Times Claude Giroux was Underappreciated

Philadelphia is a notorious city when it comes to not giving athletes the proper respect they deserve. Taking frustrations out on certain players that aren’t at the root of the problem leads to some all-time greats having an otherwise awe-inspiring career tarnished. For Claude Giroux, it extends far beyond just fans in the city. He is rising up the all-time Flyers leaderboards, but has had a history of never getting the respect he deserves. From international snubs to a barren trophy case, these are the top five times Claude Giroux didn’t get the respect he deserved.

Number 5- 2011-12 Hart Trophy

The 2011-12 Flyers seasons was, objectively, the last time the team was fun for prolonged periods of time, and it was also the start of Claude Giroux not getting the proper respect he deserves. Centering a line flanked by Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr, Claude Giroux enjoyed the first real “breakout year” of his career. At that point, both his goal and point totals climbed for four straight years and crescendoed with a 28-goal, 93-point campaign in 2011-12. He finished third in the league in scoring behind Steven Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin, who had 60 and 50 goal seasons respectively. Because 65 of his 93 points came via assists, he didn’t have the flash to outshine the top goalscorers and finished fourth in voting being Malkin, Stamkos and Henrik Lundqvist. It would be the first, but not the last time he was snubbed from the Hart Trophy.

Number 4- Captain Claude

It’s pretty standard practice in the NHL to give the captain’s “C” to the young, up-and-coming star on your roster, and when Chris Pronger was lost to injury during the 2011-12 and stepped down as captain, Giroux got the “ready or not” treatment when he was handed the “C” on January 15, 2013. He has spent every day since fighting off the doubters. If you’re a regular on Flyers social media it’s almost a guarantee a day doesn’t go by where a “strip the C” take doesn’t float through the timeline. These people are what we like to call “idiots.” Giroux is now the longest tenured captain in Flyers’ history and is starting to close in on pretty much every team record. It’s hard to deny that this team goes the way the captain does and Giroux has been the key piece to any success the team has had over the last decade despite the overall lackluster state of the organization as a whole.

Number 3- Snubbed from Team Canada 2014 Olympics

When you’re a country as rich in hockey talent as Canada, when it comes time to narrow it down to just 25 players for your Olympic roster it can be a formidable task. There are plenty of surprising names left off that roster, but potentially the biggest at the time was Claude Giroux. Giroux, who would’ve just celebrated his 26th birthday a month before the Olympics, was two years removed from his 2011-12 season and was a point-per-game player during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. It’s theorized that a mix between a slow start, just seven assists and zero goals in the team’s first 15 games, mixed with a favoritism of older, more decorated players, like that of former Flyers teammate Jeff Carter or then-Penguin Chris Kunitz, led to Giroux ultimately being snubbed.

Number 2- 2013-14 Hart Trophy

It’s hard to believe someone who was left off Team Canada’s highly touted Olympic team was a Hart Trophy finalist just a few months later, but that’s exactly what happened with Claude Giroux. His slow start to the season (0 goals, 7 assists in 15 games) probably was a main factor in him not making the Olympics, but after his snub, Giroux played like a man possessed for the remainder of the season. From the time he found out he wasn’t making the team on January 7, 2014 to the last game of the year, April 13, 2014, Giroux posted 16 goals and 48 points in 40 games bringing his total to the season to 86 points in 82 games. He finished third in scoring, one point behind Ryan Getzlaf and 18 behind Sidney Crosby. The voting played out 1-2-3 in Crosby, Getzlaf and Giroux, with Crosby winning almost unanimously. Giroux’s late season explosion was a big reason why the Flyers overcame a slow start and grabbed a playoff spot as third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Number 1- 2017-18 Hart Trophy

Claude Giroux’s 2017-18 campaign was one for the history books. His 34 goals and 102 points were by far new personal bests and those 102 points put him second in the league in scoring behind only Connor McDavid and his 108 points. Giroux scored or assisted on 41% of the Flyers 244 goals that season. Unlike his previous two failed Hart Trophy bids when he lost to pure offensive talent, this time they actually voted on merit and selected players most valuable to their team, which meant that the three finalists were Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon and Anze Kopitar. Giroux did beat out McDavid for fourth place in voting, but it’s a minor consolation when he was once again robbed in the bigger picture.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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