By Mary Cunningham

The National Hockey League yesterday validated what Flyers fans have known for some time:

Captain Claude Giroux is back among the league’s elite!

He was named to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, held on Jan. 27-28 in Tampa, Florida.

“It’s a pretty good feeling. I think a lot of guys on the team are deserving of going, too,” Giroux told “The NHL always does a good job of making this a great event for the fans and players and it’s always a good time.”

This is the fifth time he has been named to the NHL All-Star Game, last appearing in the 2016 festivities in Nashville. He has also played in the 2015 (Columbus), 2012 (Ottawa) and 2011 (Carolina) All-Star weekends.

Giroux currently leads the Flyers in scoring with 52 points (14g-38a) in 42 games, which ties the best start of his NHL career. As of Jan. 10, Giroux’s 52 points are tied for second in the NHL’s scoring race, and his 38 helpers are tied for second in the NHL assist category.

“There are a lot of reasons why,” Giroux said about his improvement. “Things are just going better, the team is playing better. I think going on the wing and playing with Coots (Sean Couturier) and not being able to play defensively as much has helped. Coots is a really responsible player. We don’t spend a lot of time in the defensive zone because he’s making a lot of smart plays and we have a good chemistry going. The last few games we have been playing very well and it’s exciting to be a part of it.”

Giroux becomes the first Flyer since John LeClair (5 times) and Eric Lindros (6 times) to be named to an All-Star Game roster for five ore more times. Bob Clarke owns the Flyers record for being named to 10 mid-season NHL All-Star teams and appearing in nine of those games.

The 2018 NHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Saturday, Jan. 27 (7:00 p.m. on NBCSN) and the 2018 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be on Sunday, Jan. 28 (3:30 p.m. on NBC).