Samuel Girard

Darren Walker

Girard is a highly intelligent, puck-moving blueliner who simply outthinks his competition. He is a high-end, fluid skater, light on his feet, excellent backward skater who uses his edges to carve in on attacking forwards and close gaps off the rush to contain them. Girard uses his quickness to intercept passes that most players wouldn’t get to. He’s an aggressive defender with an active stick. He always has his head up, and exits the zone with a hard, accurate pass to find teammates in stride up ice. Girard’s not yet an excellent defender, but he controls the game and rarely gets exposed one on one. He doesn’t rush the play under pressure, but instead awaits the best option to open up. On the physical side, we are impressed to see that despite his small size, he is not afraid to deliver some solid hits or to annoy his opponents after the whistle. His skating is an asset as he loves to jump into the rush and regain his position easily, thanks to his great mobility. When he has the puck, he shows great vision, intelligence and patience in his playmaking ability. One example of his smarts is his work on the power play. Girard is a strong quarterback from the point as he has the smarts and vision to fake a slap shot and move laterally to open up a lane before passing the puck to a teammate inside coverage or to the side of the net to create a great scoring opportunity. Although he can easily be pushed around in his own zone at times, he is smart and waits for just the right time to box out his man in front of the net or close on the attacker with his speed before taking a whack at the puck, knocking it off his opponent’s stick and playing to his strengths. Girard protects the puck well with his feet in one-on-one battles to come away with it or kick it to a teammate. He quickly recognizes when the puck is loose and wins footraces to retrieve it. Girard moves with explosive feet laterally on his inside edges to open himself up and find a shooting lane. He’s just a real effective, smart, mature and cerebral player.   (May 2016)