Monday, February 18, 2008

Claude Giroux to Debut for Flyers

Desperate time call for desperate measures. The Flyers, with injuries mounting and fresh off their seventh straight loss, have called up 20 year old Claude Giroux, who had been playing with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. Giroux, the 22nd pick in the 2006 draft, has been tearing up the QMJHL this season, netting 88 points (33 goals, 55 assists) in 47 games. Giroux played briefly with the Phantoms last year, but he is basically skipping the AHL altogether to come and play with the big club. says the following about the 5 foot 10, 169 pound prospect's potential:

Giroux’s size may have been a hindrance in the old NHL, however, he appears to be a prototypical product for the net NHL, with blazing speed and dynamite skill. He has the potential to be a first-line winger.

This move signals one of two things: either the Flyers are going to look towards the youth for the remainder of the season, or they are desperate for warm bodies and want to give this kid a chance. I say it is the latter. With wingers Simon Gagne, Joffrey Lupul and Steve Downie all out with injuries, the Flyers need someone with some skill to play on a scoring line. Calling up more Phantoms would mean the team would be loaded with 3rd and 4th line talent, but a guy like Giroux has the playmaking skills to be more than just a checker.

Giroux will make his debut against Ottawa on Tuesday. With the Denis Tolpeko injury, the Flyers probably have to make another move for a forward, so look for them to call someone else up. I would guess that Kyle Greentree will continue his trek back and forth across the parking lot and come play for the Flyers on Tuesday. This is a tough week for the Flyers, with the Senators and Sharks on tap. This could be a make or break week. If the Flyers lose both games and end up on a nine game losing streak, they can forget about Peter Forsberg and look to get more guys like Giroux some playing time.

One last, random fact about Claude Giroux. He plays roller hockey in his spare time, for the Ottawa L'Otekipe of the National Capital Inline Hockey League. He tore the league up last year, getting 51 points in 10 games.

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