Eastern Edge: Claude Giroux’s Outlook in Ottawa

Brennan Des

2022-07-26

In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll take a look at how Claude Giroux's arrival affects the landscape in Ottawa.

Last season was a tale of two cities for Claude Giroux. Although the 34-year-old forward had a solid showing overall with 65 points in 75 games, there was a stark contrast between his performance with the Flyers and his play with the Panthers. Giroux put up 42 points in 57 games (a 60-point pace) in Philly, before he was traded to Florida and posted 23 points in 18 games (a 104-point pace). Part of his improved production can be explained by an upgraded power play as Giroux went from the league's worst unit to one of the league's best. Not only did he benefit from playing with better players in Florida, he also saw a greater role with the man advantage, going from a 61% share with the Flyers to a 71% share with the Panthers. Seeing more time, with better players, understandably resulted in more production. After tallying 12 power-play points through 57 games in Philly, Giroux managed 11 PPPs over 18 games in the Sunshine State. But what does all this mean for his outlook next year in Ottawa?

In his short time with the Panthers last season, Giroux showed he has the playmaking ability to enhance a star-studded power play. As a result, I expect he'll start the 2022-2023 campaign on Ottawa's top power play unit. Giroux's playmaking abilities would serve as the perfect complement to the shooting prowess of newly acquired Alex DeBrincat. That duo is likely to spend time together at even strength as well, so the two players will have plenty of opportunity to build chemistry, which should eventually result in strong production for both. Although it's theoretically a match made in heaven, keep in mind that we've seen expectations fall short of reality before. We'll have to enter most fantasy drafts without seeing Giroux and DeBrincat play together, but given the caliber and skillsets of the two players in this particular situation, I'd personally bet on an optimistic outcome rather than worst case scenario.

I imagine Tim Stützle will be trusted with centering the two talented wingers to start the season. However, given the fact that Giroux has experience playing center, and is much stronger in the faceoff dot, I wonder if that dynamic changes as the season progresses. Just something to keep in mind for the purposes of position eligibility, as well as the face-off win category. Last year, I recall situations in which Giroux was trusted to take faceoffs in Philly while