DALLAS — Flyers left winger Claude Giroux, who is having a career season, has been named the team’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee.
The award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
“It means a lot. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve been able to have a lot of help from everybody involved with me – all my trainers here in Philly and all my coaches and my trainer back home,” Giroux said in a conference call Monday from Dallas. “Just the dedication and all the time they’ve put in on me, it’s been a great journey.”
Ian Laperriere (2010-11), Tim Kerr (1988-89), and Bobby Clarke (1971-72) are former Flyers who have won the award.
Giroux had abdominal and hip surgery before last season, then struggled through a 58-point campaign in which he managed just 14 goals.
In 76 games this season, he has 91 points – two shy of his career high – and 26 goals, becoming an MVP candidate.
“Last year was pretty tough. My mind was telling me to do something, and I just couldn’t do it,” he said, “and at the end, I think it was a mental thing. I was able to have a good summer last summer and had good people around me to help me get better. It was a process.”
Moved from center to left wing this season, the Flyers’ captain has thrived. Entering Monday, he was among the league leaders in assists (65, tied for first), points (fifth) and faceoff percentage (fourth, 58.3 percent).
“Any time you play with good players, your game is going to get better,” said Giroux, 30, praising his linemates Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny — two players he has mentored — along with his former linemate, Jake Voracek. “It’s been a really fun year….I really feel like this year I’m just a kid playing hockey and I’m having fun doing it.”