As Claude Giroux passes Bill Barber on Flyers' points list, peers share their admiration

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What makes Giroux different in the eyes of his peers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Back in September 2020 during the second round of the playoffs, Scott Laughton said he thought Claude Giroux was "pretty underappreciated in the league."

Laughton had a point.

Does Giroux receive the star-like notoriety that others do?

Not many are up there with him when it comes to durability and consistency. Since 2009-10, over the last 13 seasons, the Flyers' captain is the only NHL player to rank among the top five in both games played and points. Giroux is tied for third in games with 929 and fourth in points with 858.

"He brings people together," Laughton said then. "The way he works on a nightly basis, in practice, the way he competes and how competitive he is, it’s contagious. You want to follow him."

One thing is certain: Giroux should not go underappreciated in this city. He is Philadelphia's longest-tenured active athlete, a run that goes back to 2008 before the Phillies won the World Series that fall.

Wednesday night served as a proper reminder of a praiseworthy run in a demanding town like Philly. Giroux jumped Hall of Famer Bill Barber for second on the Flyers' all-time scoring list. With two assists in the Flyers' 3-2 OT win over the Kraken, Giroux now has 885 career points, trailing only Hall of Famer Bob Clarke (1,210) in the franchise ranks.

Clarke and Barber were both drafted by the Flyers and never left. Giroux could have a shot at the same feat.

"Definitely someone who loves the game, works at his craft, works really hard out there," James van Riemsdyk said. "You don't have success as long as he's had without all of those things. You could see kind of glimpses of that when we came into the league right around the same time. You could see what kind of career and what kind of player he was going to be.

"He's continued to push and just his longevity is super impressive, especially to play in one city, one organization your whole career — that doesn't happen too often. For him to be able to do that, in a place like this, a pretty storied franchise, it's pretty cool to see him climb the ranks for all these different milestones that he seems to be passing in the last couple of years."

James Guillory/USA Today Images

Just how long has Giroux done business in Philly?

When he made his NHL debut with the Flyers on Feb. 19, 2008, the Phillies had not yet won a playoff game since 1993, the Eagles had not yet drafted DeSean Jackson and Andre Miller was the Sixers' starting point guard.

While Giroux is still searching for a long playoff run as captain of the Flyers, the soon-to-be 34-year-old has gotten better with age. He leads the Flyers in scoring this season with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) through 30 games and put up his career-high 102 points at the age of 30.

"He gives it every night," Justin Braun said. "He doesn't take nights off. The way he works, he's always a guy that's coming back, working hard. To be able to shoot one-timers like he does, make passes like he does — he can do it all. You don't score 100 points in this league if you can't do that. It's been impressive to watch."

This is a pivotal season for Giroux and his career as Flyer. He's in a contract year and the Flyers missed the playoffs last season, leading to a busy offseason of retooling the roster for general manager Chuck Fletcher.

This season, the Flyers are 13-12-5, endured a 10-game losing streak and had to make a head coaching change earlier this month. They've battled injuries, most notably to prized offseason addition Ryan Ellis, but have stemmed the tide recently with a 5-0-1 spurt. Giroux has played with an edge, putting up eight points (four goals, four assists) in eight games since head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien were fired.

"I made a point of going up to him this morning and he really deserves a little bit of a tap on the shin pads right now," Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo said Dec. 20, two days after the Flyers beat the Senators, 4-3, in overtime. "When I look at the last game for instance, he was plus-8 in the scoring chances by the way that we take them, which is really a great game. That's sort of plays that you're directly involved in.

"He's been bringing it. He really has all year to be honest with you — work ethic-wise, play-wise. He's really been one of those guys that's been leading the charge. Not only doing the things that we're asking, but he's that second voice, that all-important voice. Whether we're not in the room, whether it's on the bench, when he steps over the boards, he displays what we want to have done.

"When he needs to talk and relay messages, he's saying the right things. I think all of our leadership in this last little stretch, starting with him, has been outstanding."

Kyle Ross/USA Today Images

Keith Yandle has played 1,062 career games and in 952 straight, the NHL's longest active streak. He's in his first season as Giroux's teammate.

The veteran defenseman has appreciated the captain's competitiveness.

"I knew from playing a long time against G that he was a fierce competitor but I have a new respect for what he brings to a team having played with him," Yandle said. "The way he works every day, whether it's a practice day or during a game, he's coming 100 percent. That's something you've got to love out of a guy and especially your captain, your best player.

"Even small things, if you're playing soccer before a game, you know he's giving 100 percent effort. Playing cards or playing golf or anything that he does, he's bringing 100 percent. Ultimately that's why he's the captain of this team and why he's up there in the ranks here."

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