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Get to Know a Panther: Claude Giroux

As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Panthers, Japers’ Rink will be looking at some of the important Florida men and how they might impact the series.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Claude Giroux

#28 / Center

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 185 | Born: January 12, 1988

Birthplace: Hearst, ON, CA | Acquired: Traded for Owen Tippett, Conditional 2024 1st, 2023 3rd

Assets: Has electric moves, outstanding offensive creativity and smarts, as well as plenty of finishing skills. Is at his best with the puck on his stick. Has amazing hands, which he uses to lay soft passes on linemates’ sticks. Can play both center and wing. Dominates on special teams at the NHL level.

Flaws: Doesn’t shoot the puck instinctively, so he tends to pass up quality scoring chances from time to time. Lacks ideal size to win corner battles at the highest level but is extremely courageous and resilient, and physical play doesn’t bother him. Will turn the puck over, since he has it so often.

Career Potential: Elite playmaker and point producer.

(Via TSN)

via @JFresh

Why you should know who he is: Well, let’s not pretend you don’t know who he is. Giroux has only played the entirety of his 16-season NHL career less 18 games in the same division as the Capitals. And despite his 34 years of age, Giroux is still putting up big production numbers. He earned 65 points in 75 games played. Giroux has always been an elite distributor of the puck, and with his new landing spot in Florida he’s been distributing it primarily to a Hart candidate in Jonathan Huberdeau, and Sam Bennett, who was second on team in 5v5 goal scoring with 17 such tallies. Giroux has also slotted in on the first power play unit, where he’s second to only Huberdeau in 5v4 ice time per game, and is also handling some penalty killing duties. You’re going to see a lot of him.

How the Caps can stop him: Well we mentioned that Giroux has been skating primarily with two pretty strong finishers in Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Bennett. Giroux’s own finishing capabilities, however, leave something to be desired, as illustrated by the below plot.

If the Caps can find a way to force Giroux to shoot the puck instead of deal it, their chances are going to be better, because there’s a lot less blue on the Huberdeau and Bennett versions of that plot.