Philadelphia Flyers season preview: Could Claude Giroux hit 100 points?

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Claude Giroux is the offensive pace setter for the Flyers, and we should expect nothing less in 2013-14.

Claude Giroux

Age: 25
Depth Chart: First line center
Contract Status: $3.75 million/year in 2013-14; $8.275 million/year 2014-15 until 2022
2013 Frequent Linemates: Jake Voracek (60.7%), Matt Read (29.9%), Scott Hartnell (28.3%)

2013 Stats

GP TOI/GP Goals Assists Points
48 21:10 13 35 48
Corsi On Corsi Rel Corsi Rel QoC OZ Start % PDO
0.99 9.8 1.184 47.3 979

The bad from 2013

Bob McKenzie from TSN laughably called this upcoming year a rebound season for Claude Giroux, implying that somehow the Flyers captain had a bad year last year. The team around him had a bad year, but Giroux certainly did not. There was really not much bad in Giroux's year last season.

The good from 2013

Everything? Believe it or not, Claude's shooting percentage was actually a tad lower than his career average last year, and if that improves and if Scott Hartnell had even a touch more success than he did, Giroux would have been better than a PPG player last year. It also helped, of course, that Jake Voracek had a breakout year last season on Giroux's wing, scoring 22 goals in 48 games. Claude finished 14th in the league in total scoring.

It's hard to ask more of Claude Giroux than what he provided last season, but chances are he will anyway.

What should we expect this season?

His offseason injury scare is not a concern, and there's no reason to expect anything less from Giroux than what we've seen in the past. We should continue to expect growth from him as a player. He was a 93 point player in 2011-12, his last full season. Will he put up 100 points in 2013-14? Who knows. It's within the realm of possibility, although probably not an expectation per se.

A lot of that depends on his line mates, and while there's a lot of potential with both Hartnell and Voracek on his wings, there's also the chance those guys could crash and burn. Voracek went on an unreal tear last year and there's no guaranteeing he'll do that again, while Hartnell has been very up and down throughout his Flyers career.

I expect a big year from Giroux regardless though, because hey, if Voracek and Hartnell both crash a bit, it's not like the Flyers don't have other players who can't pick up the slack. Giroux should be the offensive pace setter on the Flyers and anything less is a disappointment.

Best case...

Voracek keeps up his insane pace next year, Hartnell bounces back to his 2011-12 form, and the Flyers top line is one of the league's most dangerous offensive weapons. Giroux scores 100-plus points and contends for the Art Ross Trophy. Long ginger playoff beard, too.

Worst case...

His linemates struggle and Giroux can't pick up the slack. Peter Laviolette winds up shuffling the lines with way too much frequency and nobody can really find a groove.

Bottom line

Giroux's gonna be fine. He'll score a lot of points, he'll continue to emerge as one of the NHL's best players, and we'll all love him for it.

Other player previews: Couturier Coburn Grossmann Emery

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