Another week, another debatable list.
Last week, the Philadelphia Flyers went unrepresented on NHL Network’s list of top 20 centers. Sean Couturier, despite being one of the best centers in the league, was somehow left off of the list.
This week, NHL Network revealed their top 20 wingers. And this time, the Flyers were represented!
Claude Giroux was listed as the 12th best winger in the NHL. That’s not too shabby, but still disrespectful for how great Giroux has been in his career and over the past few seasons.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) August 11, 2019
The top 10 are as follows: Nikita Kucherov, Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin, Brad Marchand, Mitchell Marner, Leon Draisaitl, Johnny Gaudreau, Artemi Panarin, Mikko Rantanen and David Pastrnak.
Don’t get me wrong, 12th is still pretty good, but Giroux deserves better than that based off his numbers and play. He is consistently one of the best on faceoffs in the league while playing on the penalty kill and having a tremendous two-way game.
Giroux won 57.9 of his 1164 faceoffs last season, good for fourth in the league. Now, that may not be fair to compare to other true wingers, but it speaks to how valuable he is.
Giroux’s corsi for relative, which essentially is how well the team performs with Giroux on the ice compared to without him (in terms of shot attempts), was +5.42%, ninth-best among forwards with 1000+ minutes played at 5v5.
He also had 85 points last season, good for 19th in the league.
Since shifting to the wing at the beginning of the 2017 season, only one winger has more points than Giroux (187), and that is the best winger in the league, Nikita Kucherov, with 228 points. In fact, Giroux’s 187 points are fifth-most among all forwards.
Hell, NHL.com even acknowledged almost all of these points:
“Giroux had 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) coming off an NHL career-high 102 (34 goals, 68 assists) in 2017-18 after moving from center to left wing in training camp. The 31-year-old played center at times last season and won 57.9 percent of his face-offs (674 of 1,164), fourth in the NHL among skaters with at least 500 draws. Giroux’s 688 points since 2010-11 are third in the NHL behind Penguins center Sidney Crosby (710) and Kane (708). Giroux has missed 10 games in the past 10 seasons, none in the past three.”
Giroux is definitely one of the best 20 wingers in the league and should be listed among the top 10 wingers as well.