When the Hart Memorial Trophy finalists were unveiled in late April and Claude Giroux's name was nowhere to be found, there was noticeable outrage across the Delaware Valley — and understandably so.
Giroux, in his age 30 season, tied for the league lead in assists at 68 and finished second in points with 102, behind only Connor McDavid (108). He also recorded a better plus/minus at plus-28 than the three finalists — Anze Kopitar (plus-21), Taylor Hall (plus-14) and Nathan MacKinnon (plus-11).
Not only that, Giroux also emphatically rebounded from one of his worst seasons as a pro with career bests across the board — again, at age 30.
2016-17: 82 games, 14 goals, 44 assists, 58 points, minus-15
2017-18: 82 games, 34 goals, 68 assists, 102 points, plus-28
So when Giroux was not voted a Hart Trophy finalist, it led to the burning and lingering question of how ridiculous was the omission?
Giroux was already considered snubbed, but imagine if the Flyers' captain finished outside, say, the top five or six of the final voting? All hell would have broken loose in Philadelphia.
Turns out, Giroux did get some respect, finishing fourth in the final tally, which was released Wednesday night at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, where Hall won the Hart Trophy.
At least Giroux received his share of love, but in a way, it stings even more for his supporters given the fact he fell only five points shy of being a finalist.
Nonetheless, Giroux's 2017-18 season will never be forgotten, hardware or not. He punctuated the first 100-point campaign in Flyers history since Eric Lindros in 1995-96 by delivering a hat trick in Game 82 of the regular season to clinch the Flyers a playoff berth at the Wells Fargo Center.
Fans chanted MVP.
And that will have to do.
Other NHL Awards tidbits
• Shayne Gostisbehere finished 10th in the James Norris Memorial Trophy voting for best defenseman. Victor Hedman won the award.
• Ron Hextall came in eighth for General Manager of the Year while also notching a first-place vote. Dave Hakstol slotted in at 14th for the Jack Adams Award (NHL Coach of the Year). The Golden Knights swept the categories with GM George McPhee and head coach Gerard Gallant taking home the honors.