Last night I re-tweeted something from a buddy who was giving himself a little pat on the back, but it was well deserved.

He’s right about one thing – it seems like a reasonable claim at this point, but before the puck dropped on game one this year, there weren’t a lot of people who agreed with the idea.

Giroux was named first star last night after scoring twice on great wrist shots, and added an assist for three points. He’s two behind the NHL points leader (and current Hart Trophy front-runner) Phil Kessel. His 22 points in 17 games includes 11 goals (also one back of Kessel), and he’s looked electric in a way we’ve only seen from him in flashes before.

Take a look at the guys offensive toolbox:

His shot

Almost a snap-less snapper, as in, a shortened wrist shot where it’s more of a flinging motion than a Jarome Iginla-esque *cracking* snapper. The way he keeps the puck touching his blade while he shoots and throws it makes it hard to read, and allows him to change his shot placement easier. His two wristers last night were pure.

And before we look at his second wrister (which he pulls into his feet to change the angle, then shoots back against that angle change)…

His hands

Most people reading this have played hockey before – can you imagine handling the puck like he does in the video below? Just having the foresight to know where the d-man’s stick is gonna be and where he has to put the puck to create himself some space is impressive enough.

His vision

He knows he’s going to make this pass 10 seconds before he does:

Maybe that one was more execution than vision – Richards was open for quite awhile – but it’s still impressive.

His speed

While he’s not the fastest player in the NHL, he’s in the top tier. His skating is so dangerous because he’s like Scott Gomez in his prime, only with more “want.” He’s agile enough to change direction at the drop of a hat, and low and balanced enough to make plays in traffic. He has a number of breakaways this year because of it.

Almost every single one of his goal highlights from this season starts in his own zone. As in: great transition player, great on rushes.

In the end, he may not win the Hart Trophy as my buddy predicted (though I think he will), but he’s certainly emerged as a guy who deserves to be a part of the conversation.

In a league full of exciting, young stars, Giroux stands out as one of the best.