Claude Giroux had a breakout season with the Philadelphia Flyers last year. He’s improved in each of his three complete NHL seasons, tallying an impressive 93 points last season as the best player in one of hockey’s most prolific offenses. Claude Giroux is one of the best players in hockey and, at age 24, it seems unfair to speculate about a possible ceiling for Claude Giroux. After his 93 point season in just 77 games, it seems reasonable to ask whether Claude Giroux can hit the prestigious 100-point plateau this season.
Claude Giroux was third in the league in points last season and second in the league with 65 assists. Still, only Evgeni Malkin was able to crack 100 points with 109. Even Steven Stamkos‘ 60 goals only resulted in 97 points, perhaps proving that the supporting cast is just as important as the individual scorer in the quest for 100 points.
If Giroux continues to develop at his current trajectory, 100 points are well within his reach. Claude Giroux has markedly improved in each of his three full NHL seasons. If production continues to trend upward, Claude Giroux is set for an impressive season in 2012-13. There is no ceiling on Claude Giroux’s production for next season and he is set to lead the Flyers in scoring again.
However, Claude Giroux is a marked man. He’s the NHL 13 cover boy, the focal point of the Flyers offense, and the biggest name on the Flyers roster. Defenses will key on Claude Giroux more than ever, and the roster around him got weaker. While Giroux showed incredible goal-scoring potential, his greatest asset is his ability to set up his teammates.
Jaromir Jagr left the Flyers by way of free agency, leaving Claude Giroux with just one scorer on his roster that produced more than 50 points last season, Scott Hartnell, who had a breakout season of his own. For a player that depends on his playmaking abilities to accrue league-leading points totals, top-line support is key. Claude Giroux now has limited options playing alongside him, and questions surround the offensive talent left on the Flyers roster.
I expect the Philadelphia Flyers and Claude Giroux to take a small step backward in 2012-13. After desperately attempting to improve the roster, the Flyers fell short this offseason. Unless the roster changes, Claude Giroux is going to have immense difficulty in matching his numbers from last season. He’s the only legitimate, proven scoring threat on the Philadelphia Flyers right now. Defenses will be able to slow him down, and the talent around Claude Giroux needs to develop a bit more. Giroux is a dynamic offensive talent, but don’t expect 70+ assists from Claude Giroux on this Philadelphia Flyers team. 85 points seems like a reasonable expectation for the face of the Philadelphia Flyers, though 100 points may be on the horizon.