A Shortened Season Hurts Giroux’s Chances in the History Books

Claude Giroux is on the verge of etching his name atop multiple categories in the Flyers record book, but with a potential shortened season on the horizon, it could hurt his chances of glory in the long run. With Giroux’s play already on the decline, the soon-to-be-33-year-old, is running out of time to make a run at some of the records he previously had in his sights. Now with a season that could be as short as 48 games, the second time Giroux has played through a shortened season, can he step up his production for the sake of living in glory forever?

First thing’s first, which records is Giroux closing in on? Let’s start with the four main categories-

Games PlayedGoalsAssistsPoints
Flyers Record1,1444208521,210
Claude Giroux889 (3rd)257 (10th)558 (2nd)815 (4th)

Plain and simple- Claude Giroux is still a 20 goal scorer. He’s only failed to score at least 20 goals in a season twice in the last decade, once being the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Even with his declining production, hitting 20 goals during a full 82-game schedule should still be expected.

While Bill Barber’s 420 goals is more than likely out of reach at this point in his career, Giroux can still climb up the leader board. Currently sitting 10th in Flyers’ history, he can jump to sixth, or maybe even fifth if he can keep his production at a reasonable level. The rest of the Flyers goal scoring leaderboard looks like this-

1Bill Barber420
2Brian Propp360
3Tim Kerr263
4Bobby Clarke358
5John LeClair333
6Rick MacLeish328
7Reggie Leach306
8Eric Lindros290
9Simon Gagne264

Giroux will easily pass Simon Gagne, probably this coming season regardless of the length, and, sticking with the 20 goals-per-season ideology, should be gunning for Lindros and Leach within the next two years. But with the shortened season, it may push everything back a season, which in turn hurts his chances of challenging for a top five spot. John LeClair currently has a 77 goal advantage on Giroux, which may not be insurmountable, but it will be increasingly difficult as the years wear on for Captain Claude.

Giroux is just 256 games away from passing Clarke for first in games played in franchise history. That’s a little over three full seasons away. Even though this one should belong to Giroux one way or another, wasting another calendar year isn’t ideal. Giroux is just 15 games away from passing second place Bill Barber, which, barring a serious injury, he should easily grab during the 2020-21 season. If we continue with the 48 game analogy, and considering Giroux has a bit of an ironman streak going on having not missed a game since the 2015-16 season, 48 games puts him at 937, which is just 208 games away from passing Clarke. Giroux should grab the number one spot sometime in the middle of the 2023-24 season.

The assists category is a little harder to predict. Even though Giroux is only staring down one player in front of him, that being first place Bobby Clarke, it’s quite a feat to get there. There’s a 294 gap between Clarke’s 852 and Giroux’s 558. Giroux’s assists have ranged wildly over the past few seasons. from 45 in 2015-16, to 68 in 2017-18, to 32 this past season, it’s hard to predict what he posts from season-to-season. Over the last five years he’s averaged about 50 assists per season. This is where his declined play can come into effect. Even at 50 assists a year, he’d still be about six seasons away from passing Clarke. Now, include a shortened season and a lesser role on the team and it may just be enough to keep him out of reach permanently.

Aside from games played, points may be the closest chance Giroux has to make his mark in the history books, though his level of play will determine exactly where he falls. Currently sitting fourth with 815, he only has Brian Propp (849), Bill Barber (883), and Bobby Clarke (1,210) in front of him. A 395 point differential isn’t impossible to overcome, but the clock is ticking. Last time the league had a 48-game season, Giroux was on a point-per-game pace. Giroux typically hovers just below a point-per-game pace, however, so another year spent with a shortened season doesn’t bode well for the Captain. The good news is he will more than likely overtake Propp this season and Barber sometime during the 2021-22 season. But even at a 65-point pace he’s still six seasons out from touching Clarke, which won’t be helped by a shortened season and declining play.

There’s no doubt Claude Giroux will go down as one of the best Flyers of all time. But between his slowly but surely diminishing play and a shortened season on the horizon, the chance for Giroux to claim the top spots in the record book will be damaged. If he can find a new niche in the team, probably taking up a middle-six role instead of the top line left winger, and play protected, favorable minutes to try and extend his offensive career, there is hope Giroux can re-gain his pace to truly become the greatest Flyer of all time.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

photo credit: nationalpost.com

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