Hart Memorial Trophy Finalists: Giroux Surprisingly Absent
Thus far in the award announcement process, it has been surprising to see that the Philadelphia Flyers have been noticeably absent in the finalist categories.
In most cases it has been understandable; Matt Read was probably too old to win the Calder trophy as Sean Couturier was too defensive and general manager Paul Holmgren is the head of a franchise that makes the playoffs basically every year.
Really not that hard to understand why they weren’t finalists.
With that being said, it was widely expected that emerging superstar Claude Giroux was going to be a finalist for the league’s Most Valuable Player award, the Hart Memorial Trophy.
Not so fast.
On Friday morning, the league officially announced the finalists and Giroux’s name was shockingly absent.
In his place was the name’s of New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Tampa Bay Lightning scoring machine, Steven Stamkos and shoe-in award winner, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
To be fair, the three finalists had amazing seasons.
Lundqvist led the Rangers to first place in the Eastern Conference and their first Atlantic Division title since 1993-94. He also recorded career bests in wins (39), save percentage (.930%) and goals against average (1.97).
Stamkos played all 82 games this season and recorded a career-high 60 goals and 97 points. He also scored 12 game-winning goals and was without question the most dangerous player in the league in 2011-12.
Malkin had the best season of any one this year. He recorded a league-high 109 points and was the only player to record at least 50 goals and 50 assists (50-59). If Stamkos was the most dangerous, Malkin was the most dominating.
Where does that leave Giroux?
He had a breakout season that saw him record the third most points in the league and the second most assists. Unquestionably the best player on a talented Philadelphia team, Giroux deserved to be honored for his accomplishments in a year where he was asked to do a lot and did way more.
When you combine the trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in addition to the injury to Chris Pronger, Giroux turned a tough situation into a possible championship run for the Flyers.
Alas, it seems the voters didn’t see things that way.
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