Claude Giroux leads the NHL in playoff points with 12 in nine games. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mike Richards is the best leader in hockey this side of Jonathan Toews. Jeff Carter is a young sniper whose 84-point season two years ago put him firmly in the hearts of fantasy owners. Daniel Briere is a playoff scoring machine. Chris Pronger is a big, bruising defenseman with a reputation for carrying his teams deep into the playoffs. All of this leaves little room for any Claude Giroux discussion. But the fact is, he deserves the most discussion of any of them.
The leading scorer of the post-season so far with 12 points in nine games, Giroux is also strong in his own end, as his plus-6 rating (tied for fifth in the league) will attest. And this isn’t an aberration. Giroux has come up big in each post-season he has participated in, from leading the Flyers in scoring as a rookie with five points in six games back in 2009, to his 21 points in 23 games a year ago.
This is the same guy who tallied 51 points in 19 playoff games in his final year with Gatineau of the Quebec League. When the season is on the line, his name is all over the scoresheet.
Giroux led the team in scoring this season with 76 points, which was more than 10 percent higher than any of his more-talked-about teammates. And yet, fantasy owners are only now starting to acknowledge his value is higher than Carter’s, Richards’ or Briere’s. Don’t forget, Giroux just turned 23 in January. His best years are still ahead.
When you talk about the Flyers, Giroux should be leading the discussion. He shouldn’t be an afterthought, like “oh yeah, let’s not forget they have Giroux, too!” Still two or three years away from his prime, Giroux wouldn’t shock me out of my seat if he got 95 points in a season eventually. Now, if only I can take back that trade I made 18 months ago that brought me Vincent Lecavalier…
Speaking of Lecavalier
In the past 23 games (regular season and playoffs combined) Vinny has 27 points. It took a while, but he now seems to be playing at full health. No nagging injuries, no more loss of timing/reflex. He’s on, which bodes well for next season. Although, after two consecutive years of predicting big things for him, I’m more than a little gun shy at stating he’ll top 80 points…
Lightning left winger Teddy Purcell has eight points in nine games this post-season. Despite that respectable production, he has seen 13 minutes or more of ice time in just three of the nine contests. An underrated setup man, Purcell is 16th on the team in ice time, but fourth on the team in scoring. In fact, Purcell and Downie have combined for 17 points in 17 total matches, yet between them they average 12 minutes per game. It’s looking as though Purcell will need to post another 50-plus points in 2011-12 before he gets the ice time he deserves…
The steal of the deadline
Although he was traded to the Sharks a couple of weeks prior to the trade deadline, Ian White is turning out to be the biggest steal. Unable to build on his solid showing from a year ago in Calgary and not quite fitting in with Carolina, White has been fantastic since arriving in San Jose. After going plus-9 in the regular season for them (23 games), he has kicked it up a notch in the post-season with six points and a plus-6 in seven games. If he re-signs as an unrestricted free agent with the Sharks this summer, he’ll set career highs next year. Look for 45 points. If he signs elsewhere, however, all bets are off.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.
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