Never mind Team Canada. What about Team Philadelphia Flyers? The man who made trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter possible is not living up to the hype he’s created for himself over the last several NHL seasons. Claude Giroux of the Flyers has gone iceberg cold offensively and it’s hurting his hockey club.
The Flyers are 4-10-1 through 15 games. Their record is good enough for last place in the Metropolitan Division. Giroux has 0 goals this season. The team isn’t winning and the Captain isn’t scoring. Whether it’s a bad start or a true depiction of the franchise’s current on-ice state, sitting 7 points out of a playoff spot does not bode well for a club that failed to qualify for the post season last year. What may have been considered a rare playoff miss in 2012-13 is beginning to resemble the first flop in what could be two straight Stanley Cup tournaments without the Flyers.
The New Jersey Devils defeated Philly 3-0 last night in their own building. The days of visiting the Wells Fargo Center with tail tucked between legs are temporarily over, and Giroux’s lack of goal scoring is partly to blame.
Sometimes, when a great hockey player isn’t finding the back of the net, he is still providing a solid two-way game. Giroux can be placed in this category. He’s a great hockey player – complete centreman. Number 28 is valuable even when he’s not electrifying crowds with a goal scorer’s touch. That being said, 15 games is a long slump for any top-six forward, let alone the captain and best player on a team that needs wins desperately.
Sometimes when it rains it pours. For Claude Giroux, life is like a hurricane right now. As is usually the case, once the righty recaptures his form with a cloud clearing goal, he’ll probably go on a streak and begin to bury more regularly. Until then, winning may continue to be scarce.
The Flyers have scored 22 goals this season. That is 7 less than the next worst offensive team – the New Jersey Devils. The seven lowest scoring teams in the NHL all belong to the Eastern Conference, and five of them play in the Metro along with the Flyers. It would be flattering to call this division tight-checking or low-scoring because the truth is there are more accurate descriptions for the worst statistical division in the league. The Metro is bad; below league average. The Flyers lay claim to distinction as worst of the worst.
Claude Giroux broke out in 2011-12, scoring 93 points in 77 games. In a playoff-less effort last season, his pace slowed a bit but remained point-per-game. Giroux tallied 48 points in 48 games through the short schedule of 2012-13. With only 7 points in 2013-14, he’s way off his pace.
Giroux isn’t the only offensively disappointing Flyer. Braydon Schenn has only tallied 3 times this season, whereas, Jacob Voracek, Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds have scored once, and Sean Couturier has no goals.
Until Giroux steps up and breaks out of his slump, the rest will likely remain low scoring, as well. The captain needs to lead by example. Giroux needs a big game to boost team morale and spark a winning streak before it’s way too late (if it isn’t already).