Earlier today, the NHL announced its three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s most valuable player: Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos and New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist.
Notably absent from that list? Flyers forward Claude Giroux.
Interesting omission given what Giroux did this year. He led Philadelphia in scoring, finished third in the league in points (93), second in assists (65) and won 53.7 percent of his faceoffs. He also led a team that traded away its captain (Mike Richards) and perennial 30-goal man (Jeff Carter) to 47 wins and 103 points.
That said, Giroux didn’t seem bothered by not getting in on the Hart.
From CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio:
“Which one is that?” Giroux asked.
“I’m kidding!” he laughed. “Ah, no, I didn’t see the news but at the end of the day, that’s not the trophy I want. Obviously, it’s not something I control and a detail I don’t care a lot about.”
Hopes were high that Giroux would be third Flyer to win league MVP — Bobby Clarke (x3) and Eric Lindros were the others — and snap Philly’s streak of 17 years without a Hart Trophy winner.
Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.
On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.
But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.
The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.
Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.
Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.
Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”