In 2020-21, Philadelphia Flyers’ forward Claude Giroux suited up in what was his 14th NHL season, and his ninth as captain of the club. As a franchise, one of the bigger goals of clinching another postseason berth was halted, with the Flyers missing by a significant point margin. The New York Islanders locked up the last playoff position in the MassMutual East Division with 71 points, while the Flyers finished with 58. Despite what was an overall poor campaign for the team, Giroux was one of the top players on the offensive side. The 33-year-old continued to be one of the leaders for the squad as younger teammates grew their game and gained more experience in the league.
Stats in 2020-21
Giroux, during this season, continued to see a decrease in point totals from the previous season, a trend that started in 2018-19. In the last four seasons, he put up the following stats:
- 2017-18: 34 goals and 68 assists for 102 points in 82 games
- 2018-19: 22 goals and 63 assists for 85 points in 82 games
- 2019-20: 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points in 69 games
- 2020-21: 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points in 54 games
Giroux posted 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points in 54 games in 2020-21. Despite the point decrease in his own game, he was tied for the team lead with winger James van Riemsdyk (17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points) and winger Jakub Voracek (nine goals and 34 assists for 43 points). He was a solid component of the power play, with 11 power-play points (PPP), tied for second on the team with Travis Konecny. Only van Riemsdyk had more, with 12 PPP. Giroux was also the second-most reliant in faceoffs, with a faceoff-percentage (FO%) of 59.6%. Only Oskar Lindblom was better with a 60.0 FO%. Giroux, in addition, made an impact on the franchise leaderboards by passing former Flyer forward Brian Propp on the all-time points list this past campaign.
Like with 2019-20, the 2020-21 season had limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Giroux’s numbers would have been elevated had a normal season commenced. If he had participated in an 82-game schedule for 2020-21, he would have tallied 24 goals and 41 assists for 65 points based on his percentages over his 54-game production. While that would still be below his point marks for 2017-18 and 2018-19, it still shows how much of a difference he makes in the lineup every single night. He was potentially on pace for 22 more points had there been a full campaign.
Giroux is a core member of the offense, and his play determines how it functions. When he is not contributing points, the whole team is affected negatively. In the 25 wins the Flyers had this season, he chalked up 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points. In the 22 regulation losses the team suffered while he was in the lineup, he only had three goals and five assists for eight points. When he is on top of his game, the rest of the team follows suit. The Flyers’ captain is a reflection of the team in that aspect. Looking at each individual month this season he played, he was consistently close to being a point-per-game. The biggest problem he faced came when he was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list in early February. He only suited up in six contests that entire month, but skated away with four assists.
Overall, the team has issues they need to address this summer, but I do not believe Giroux was part of the problem. He was one of the players who carried his share of the load. He continued to be the face of their scoring and leadership groups.
Looking at the Future
In 2021-22,Giroux will be in the final season of his eight-year contract he signed back in July 2013. He currently holds a cap hit of $8.275 million per season along with a no-movement clause (NMC).
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The Flyers could start negotiating Giroux’s next contract this summer. They probably should only give him about a three-year deal based on his age at this point in time. The team could also suggest a yearly cap hit of $8 million at the most, but they should see about bringing the hit down a little as well. Obviously, he is still a critical player both on the ice and in the locker room, but the torch will get passed within these next few years for the captaincy and veteran presence that will become official when he no longer plays for the organization. He has helped mold the future leaders of the squad for the past bunch of seasons. His impact will be felt once he no longer represents the Orange and Black through his mentorship with the younger talents.
Looking to next season specifically, though, I believe his point production can reach 60 points like it could have this past campaign if the schedule had gone 82 games. Giroux might not be able to consistently accumulate 100 points every season like other talents throughout the league, but he still has quite a bit of hockey left in him, and this team is going to be itching to get back to the postseason once again. It will be up to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and his staff to continue to build around the core players like Giroux who are already on the roster. I expect a solid season for Giroux, and I expect Philly to make a strong push to get back to the playoffs in 2022.
I have been a hockey fan for most of my life, and have played the game myself for more than six years. I graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego in 2018, with a bachelor’s in Broadcasting & Mass Communication. Previous positions held include being a Sports Analyst for Oswego’s student-run TV station, WTOP-10; News/Sports Intern for WIVB-TV Channel 4; and Sports Beat Writer Intern for Pro Player Insiders.