The NHL announced today that Flyers captain and top-line center Claude Giroux will be one of the league's three finalists for the 2014 Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league's most valuable player. Giroux was nominated along with Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf.
Despite a slow start to the season that raised a lot of eyebrows, Giroux was unquestionably one of the best players in the entire NHL from early November to the end of the season. He played in all 82 regular-season games for the Flyers and ended at third in the league in scoring (28 goals, 58 assists for 86 points), behind only the other two guys nominated for the award.
We talked back in March about Giroux's candidacy for the award, and while it's more or less a lock that he'll finish third in the voting behind Crosby and Getzlaf (in that order), his nomination as a finalist is completely deserved. He was the single biggest driving force behind the Flyers rallying into a playoff spot following their dreadful start to the season, and this underscores just how incredible of a player he's been this year.
The winner of the award will be revealed on June 24 at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.