The Flyers didn’t make a big splash in free agency, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t positive news coming out of Philadelphia.
After going under the knife in mid-May to repair a sports hernia and a hip injury, Flyers star center Claude Giroux is ahead of schedule and appears as though he’ll have additional time to recover ahead of the World Cup in September, where he’s set to compete as part of Canada’s roster. The original recovery time for the surgery was expected to be anywhere from 10-12 weeks, but Giroux hit the ice in Philadelphia this week, which means he’s back in action just nine weeks after his surgery.
That Giroux, 28, is healthy ahead of schedule bodes well for the Flyers, especially as the past campaign was a disappointing one for the club’s captain.
In a video posted by Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre, Giroux isn’t moving briskly, but he’s agile and able to stop and start with relative ease. And if nothing else, Giroux’s shot seems to be working just fine.
In 78 games this past season, Giroux notched 22 goals and 67 points. While still a decent year by most standards, it marked a downturn in production for Giroux. He had racked up four-straight 70-plus point seasons — excluding the lockout-shortened campaign, in which Giroux scored 13 goals and 48 points in 48 games — but saw his point total drop from 73 to 67 in the span of one season.
Giroux’s dip in production hurt most in the post-season. Giroux managed just one point — an assist in Game 4 — as the Flyers scored six goals in a six-game first-round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals.
It could have been expected that Giroux’s offense took a dive this past season, though, given the Flyers had the 22nd-best offense in the league with 214 goals this past season. And Giroux’s decrease in production is no doubt tied to the fact linemate Jakub Voracek went from having a career year in 2014-15 to watching his output fall by 11 goals and 26 points.
Giroux returning healthy and rejuvenated is a good thing for the Flyers, though, and that he’s back on the ice early must mean he’s in good enough shape to return to training. Given the summer to heal and an early start at the World Cup, the hope is Giroux will be back in top form when the Flyers hit the ice in 2016-17.
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