Claude Giroux, a pivotal figure in the Philadelphia Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, was named the star of the cover of NHL 13 at the league's annual awards banquet on Wednesday night, prevailing over Pekka Rinne, the Nashville goalie, in a fan-voted contest.
Giroux won out after an extremely long -- March 29 to June 4 -- voting period that saw more than 24 million votes cast start to finish. Giroux improved his goals, assists and points totals for a third straight season (despite playing in fewer games than the last) since he became a full-time starter in 2008-2009. In the playoffs this year, Giroux's hat trick and resulting six points against Pittsburgh on April 13 set a playoff franchise record as the Flyers advanced to the second round of the postseason.
"The support fans have given me throughout the campaign has been unbelievable," Giroux said in a statement provided by EA Sports. "I am very excited to be on the cover of NHL 13 and I want to thank everyone who campaigned and voted for me - especially my teammates, the Flyers organisation, and of course all the NHL fans who voted and tweeted."
Giroux took out eventual 2012 Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin in the semifinals of the vote-off, and Rinne eliminated tonight's Vezina Trophy honoree, Henrik Lundqvist, in the second round.
NHL 13 is on shelves Sept. 11.