The Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday named center Claude Giroux as the 19th captain in franchise history.
“Claude is the undisputed leader of this team,” general manager Paul Holmgren said Tuesday in making the announcement. “He always exhibits a tremendous work ethic in games and practices. He is a great professional both on and off the ice. Claude has learned a lot over the past few years playing with Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger, just to name a few. Having played with these athletes has been a huge benefit for Claude.”
Timonen will serve as associate captain, withScott Hartnell and Danny Briere as alternate captains. Giroux replaces defenseman Chris Pronger, who has not played since November 2011 due to severe post-concussion symptoms. Holmgren said Sunday he does not expect the 38-year-old to play anytime in the near future.
It’s now Giroux’s team to lead.
“Basically, we have some veterans who are really solid guys and have been captains and could be captains, but I think they realize along with us that this is Claude’s time,” Flyers chairman Ed Snider said. “He is our leader and without a doubt our best player, and is one of the premier players in the NHL right now. I am very proud of him and I think this is only the beginning of a phenomenal, phenomenal career.”
Giroux, 25, is entering his fifth full NHL season, all with the Flyers, who picked him in the first round (No. 22) of the 2006 NHL Draft. He scored 28 goals last season, finished third in the NHL with 93 points — the most by a Flyers player since Eric Lindros had 93 in 1998-99 — and was tops in power-play scoring with 38 points, including 32 assists. He added eight goals and 17 points in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
“After watching him grow for three-plus years, it’s now time for Claude to become the captain of this team,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re fortunate to have a strong leadership group in our locker room. With Kimmo Timonen as associate captain and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere as assistant captains, we’re confident we have the right people in place to lead this team.”
In 285 career games, Giroux has 78 goals and 165 assists for 243 points.
“Obviously, this is a huge honor,” Giroux said. “There have been a lot of great captains here in the past. Along with this comes a lot of responsibility which I am prepared for. Being named captain is not really going to change the way I play on the ice and act off the ice. But I am very excited about this opportunity.”