This will immediately be dismissed by almost all Philadelphia Flyers fans that read this, but it has to be written. While Claude Giroux is having a phenomenal season by almost all standards, he's falsely being made out to be the best player in the league, which he isn't.
Claude Giroux has had the benefit this year of playing with one of the greatest hockey players of all-time, Jaromir Jagr. Jagr chose to sign with Philadelphia this season primarily for the fact that the Flyers top two centers are right-handed shots, and he is a left-handed shot playing on the right wing, which makes this a perfect match for his style of play.
Before the luxury of playing with Jaromir Jagr, Giroux put up point totals of 27, 41, and 75. These are good solid numbers for a growing player in the NHL, but not numbers typically put up by a superstar, even that early in their career.
A player like Tyler Seguin in his first full NHL season, is on pace for exactly a point a game, and he has already surpassed Claude Giroux's rookie output. But of course, this superstar talk didn't start until this season, when Giroux was paired with Jaromir Jagr on the Flyers first line.
When the season started, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr clicked in their first game together, with Jagr sending Giroux on a breakaway against Boston Bruins netminder Tim Thomas; a breakaway that Giroux promptly turned into his first goal of the season. While the play was beautifully finished by Giroux, it is a prime example of how much of his success is derived from playing with the legendary Jaromir Jagr.
On the other side of things, a superstar like Sidney Crosby scored point totals of 103 and 109, in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 respectively, playing with linemates such as Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, and Bill Guerin. While these are all serviceable wingers, none of them come close to the status of Jaromir Jagr.
You could even make the case that none of them are as talented as Giroux's other winger, Scott Hartnell. This is just an example of what a true superstar is, and not a knock to Claude Giroux's talents in anyway.
In fact, I believe it is clear that Giroux is one of the top-ten players in the league currently. Of the top-ten leaders in the NHL in points, I would argue only Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos are better players. I would also argue that Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews are clearly better players, among a few select others.
Please let me know what you think of this because I struggle to think I am the only person out there who believes Claude Giroux isn't the best player in the league.
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