Claude Giroux is having his worst season to date and has posted just 14 goals and 42 assists with a minus-14 rating. For an elite player, these numbers are woeful. He has plenty of help up front with Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, but it just was not enough this season.
By Mary Cunningham
The days are counting down to the end of the NHL season and the Flyers are desperately trying to make the playoffs.
They are statistically still in the hunt
After a lucky win against the Ottawa Senators, the Flyers eclipsed the 80-point mark, and sit six points out of a wild-card spot behind the Boston Bruins.
At the same time, the Flyers could be a little too late. They have tried to turn things around over the last month, but face tough competition in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Going 7-6-1 in March, the Flyers are riding a bleak chance at clinching the NHL playoffs.
One of the main concerns for the Flyers should be the other teams fighting for a playoff spot. The Boston Bruins are looking quite strong, and with Tuukka Rask healthy, they could hold onto that last wildcard spot with little effort.
The Tampa Bay Lightning present an interesting case as well. They are 7-3-0 in their last ten and are riding a three-game winning streak with seven games remaining. They have the firepower and defense to make something happen, which leaves the Flyers in a much tougher spot.
The Carolina Hurricanes are turning things around big time. They are currently 7-0-3 and seem to have no interest in the upcoming draft. Sebastian Ahois playing out of his mind, while Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm have followed suit.
Unfortunately, with several teams in the Eastern Conference playing very well, the Flyers chances at a playoff spot seem a lot tougher than just six points.
Even if the Flyers do not make the playoffs, there are some great takeaways from this season. In terms of goaltending, they may have found a tandem in Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. Whether they lose one of them to the Vegas Golden Knights remains to be safe, but it is safe to say these goalies should remain with the Flyers next season.
On defense, Ivan Provorov has to be one of the best surprises of 2016-17. The rookie has quietly put up six goals and 22 assists and has been a mainstay on the Flyers’ blue line. At just 20 years old, the Flyers may have finally found the young defenseman they can add to the mix with players like Shayne Gostisbehere. Whether this is enough remains to be seen, but some added veteran experience could make this defensive group a lot scarier next season.
If there is one player to put this whole season on, it is Claude Giroux. He is having his worst season to date and has posted just 14 goals and 42 assists with a minus-14 rating. For an elite player like him, these numbers will not help his team reach the promise land. He has plenty of help up front with Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, but it just was not enough this season.
This will mark the first season since the lockout that Giroux has failed to surpass 20 goals, and his point totals and plus-minus will be the worst of his career. With that said, there are clear indicators where the Flyers failed this season, and they will need to fix these issues if they hope to compete in the Eastern Conference next season.