Flyers’ Voracek says Giroux skating ‘way better than last year’

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. (Chris Szagola/AP)

Count Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek among those expecting improvement from Claude Giroux this coming season.

Voracek spoke to Philly.com after a team training session on Thursday, and mentioned that his linemate “looks like he’s skating way better than last year.”

Giroux’s production has fallen in each year since scoring 28 goals and 58 assists for 86 points in 2013-14, culminating in an atypical 14-goal, 58-point season for the 29-year-old.

Hip surgery in May of 2016, and a busy summer accentuated by playing in the World Cup, slowed the Hearst, Ont., native, something Voracek believes a healthier Giroux will result in a return to form.

“Today’s NHL is all about skating. If you can’t skate, you’re not going to do much,” said Voracek. “I remember when I got hurt and came back, I didn’t have my step. It’s not you.

“So obviously it’s something that bothered ‘G’ last year with those hips; it’s an uncomfortable feeling, and if you know you can’t push to your level, it’s hard.”

The Flyers have missed the playoffs in three of the past five years, and haven’t made it out of the first round once in that span. Giroux’s declining play has played a big part in that lack of team success, though he seems ready to move on.

“We can keep talking about the last two years,” he said. “But it’s not going to make me a better player. For sure it bothers me.

“It’s not the player I want to be. But like I’ve said, I’ve put that behind me.”

Still four months shy of his 30th birthday, Giroux believes he can return to the level of play that made his then-coach Peter Laviolette once call him “the best player in the world” in 2012.

“Yeah, I do,” said Giroux, when asked if he believes he is capable of putting up 80 or more points. “I do think I am. Obviously I have to prove it, and that’s why I’m excited about this year.”