Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/28/15

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 22: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Boston Bruins on October 22, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf are the two leading candidates for the NHL’s Hart Trophy and have been for most of the season, but there’s one player building a strong resume for the award as we enter the final stage of the regular season. That man is Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. The 26-year-old center has been at the center of Philly’s recent resurgence up the Eastern Conference standings. The Flyers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and the team’s dominant 4-0 win over the rival Penguins on Saturday vaulted it ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the third guaranteed playoff spot in the Metropolitan division. Since he was unfairly snubbed from Canada’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Giroux has responded with an astounding 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 24 games. His recent offensive explosion puts him 12th on the league’s scoring list with 65 points (23 goals, 42 assists) in 65 games. He leads his team in goals (23), assists (42), game-winning goals (four), shots (181), power-play ice timer per game (3:50) and total ice time per game among forwards (20:35). The former first-round pick has been responsible for just over 35.1 percent of the Flyers’ offense (65 points on 185 total goals). Giroux is also making a positive impact defensively. He’s won an impressive 52.6 percent of his faceoffs, which ranks higher than other top centers such as Boston’s David Krejci (51.8), St. Louis’ David Backes (50.8), Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom (49.9) and Getzlaf (48.4). His 34 blocked shots and 35 takeaways rank third and second on the team among forwards, respectively. It’s also important to note how poor the Flyers’ goaltending has been this season. The tandem of Steve Mason and Ray Emery has been inconsistent all year, and the team ranks 22nd in goals against. The Flyers need to score a lot of goals to win because their goaltenders aren’t likely to steal games with clutch third-period saves (Philly has given up the fifth-most third-period goals), and this puts a lot of pressure on Giroux to be productive offensively on a consistent basis. Through three quarters of the season, he’s passed this test with fantastic results. Giroux’s numbers aren’t earth shattering, and that could hurt his chances of winning MVP — only one Hart Trophy-winning forward has finished outside the top three in scoring since 1990 (Mark Messier in 1991-92). But it’s not hard to see why his scoring production and leadership make him so valuable to the Flyers. When he tallies at least one point, Philly is 27-12-3, compared to 6-13-3 when the captain fails to find the score sheet. After the Flyers started 1-7, which led to head coach Peter Laviolette being fired, Giroux has posted 62 points in the last 59 games as the Flyers have gone 34-18-7. If the Flyers reach the postseason after failing to make it last year, Giroux will be the main reason why. Not only does the captain create his own offense, his remarkable playmaking skill generates scoring opportunities for his teammates at even strength and on the power play. Very few players make a stronger impact on their team’s success than Giroux, which is why he deserves to be at the forefront of the Hart Trophy discussion alongside Crosby and Getzlaf.Filed under: NHL, Nicholas Goss, Philadelphia Flyers, Top Stories
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bucs believed to be going for Marcus Mariota with No. 1 pick

Report: Wrigley Field renovation causing massive rat problem

Rex Ryan praises Patriots, calls Deflategate 'unfortunate'

Brady hopes Peyton Manning comes back next season

Report: Thibodeau’s relationship with Bulls 'beyond repair'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Montana pins blame for Deflategate on Tom Brady

NFLPA boss: No Deflategate interviews until after SB

Blandino: Deflategate no sting; PSI in footballs not logged in

Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found on bullet casing, joint near body

Thomas upset he was tested for PEDs over health statement

Marshawn’s press conference to end all press conferences

WATCH: Katy Perry cracks Deflategate, Marshawn jokes

Devon and Leah Still write a book for kids fighting cancer

Five potential heroes of Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Timberwolves throw shade at Kevin Love in promo

Tom Izzo: 'The Twitter' may have affected team's confidence

Measles outbreak hits Arizona days before Super Bowl

Proposed pace-of-play rule changes, by the numbers

Super Bowl XLIX should smash TV viewership record yet again

NFL, officials, Carroll disagree on ineligible player rules

Seattle business rolling 12,000 joints for Super Bowl

How Yardbarker got Marshawn Lynch to open up back in 2008

Super Bowl records that won't fall anytime soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential Super Bowl XLIX heroes

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

SB anthem, halftime performers through the years

Super Bowl should smash TV records

Super Bowl records unlikely to fall

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Teammate: Manziel not a joke

Ten most underrated SB performances

Knicks ‘in play’ for Kevin Durant?

Ex-QB: Everyone deflates footballs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.