The captaincy has not been a stable position for the Philadelphia Flyers over the past few years.
Mike Richards, who was named the franchise's 17th captain in 2008, was thought to be the captain of the Flyers for a long time. When he was traded in the summer of 2011, the captaincy was handed to Chris Pronger. Pronger served as the Flyers captain for just 13 games last season, as he was sidelined for the season due to injury.
A return for Pronger, who is still the captain of the Flyers, seems very doubtful, as he continues to battle with post-concussion syndrome.
Now, it appears that the Flyers' management will again have to decide who will wear the "C" for their team. Candidates for the captaincy appear to be Kimmo Timonen and Daniel Briere, but neither are being discussed for the job as much as Claude Giroux has.
Giroux, 24, emerged as one of the elite players in the league this past season. In 77 games, he scored 28 goals and had 65 helpers. He finished the regular season with the third most points in the league with 93. His 65 assists were the second most in the NHL last season.
Not only did Claude Giroux shine throughout the regular season, but he impressed in the playoffs too. In just 10 playoff games, he scored 8 goals and tallied 9 assists, for a total of 17 points. His 8 post-season goals tied him for first in the league, while his 17 playoff points were the fourth best.
The captain of a team should not be the player with the most skill, but the player with the best leadership ability. It just so happens that Giroux has the most skill AND fantastic leadership ability.
So why not name Claude Giroux captain? Well, some fans believe that he is too young and putting him in that position would be bad for his career. While I can understand that argument, I have to disagree.
To me, although the Flyers went with three assistant captains for most of the 2011-12 season, Giroux was the "unofficial captain". His play on the ice showed how great of a leader he was and that he is ready to be the captain of this team. He is a pure goal-scorer, a fantastic playmaker, and he isn't afraid to play a physical game.
We all remember Claude Giroux's unbelievable first shift in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. For those of you who need to be refreshed or simply want to relieve this exhilarating shift, the video is provided below:
In that one shift, Giroux set the tone for the entire game. He leveled one of the Penguins' star players and then gave his team the early lead. Not only did he get his teammates going, but he got the fans going. That video is a prime example that Claude is ready to lead this team to the promised land.
After the game, Peter Laviolette discussed Giroux's first shift and described him as "monstrous"....
Yes, Laviolette just called Claude Giroux "the best player in the world". Giroux approached Laviolette before the game and asked for the first shift so that he could set the tone early is amazing. That tells you all you need to know about the Flyers' 24 year-old superstar not only as a player, but as a person.
The fans think he is ready, his teammates think he is ready, his coach thinks he is ready, and even Ed Snider hinted in an interview not too long ago that he thinks he is ready.
Giroux will be the face of this franchise for a long time. There is no doubt in anybody's mind that he will eventually be the captain of this team, whether it is now, or in a few years. So why not name him captain now? I think its the right move.
VOICE OUT: Do you guys think that Claude Giroux is ready to be the Flyers' captain? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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