From Hearst Ontario, Claude Giroux’s dialect is unique. His English sounds French. His French sounds English. He speaks excitedly about everything he does, his emotions exuding from every pore. If there is one word that doesn’t associate with Claude Giroux, its subtle. Although smaller in stature, Claude’s game has always been big. Never afraid to make big hits, or step up in big moments. He out works, he out hustles, he out cares. From his first season as a Flyer, the Philadelphia faithful have been excited about Giroux, and especially the pair of Giroux and James Van Reimsdyk that emerged in the 2010 season.
The pair led the charge of the first round of the 2010 playoffs, with Giroux leading the team in points against the New Jersey Devils (who were the second seed as compared to the barely qualifying playoffs). The Flyers continued to fight in these playoffs, coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Bruins to get to the Eastern Conference Final, and took the Chicago Blackhawks to OT of Game 7, where Patrick Kane ended the series and began the Hawks dynasty.
As his career went on, Giroux’s game continued to grow. He plays with emotion and skill. A 0.92 PPG player, Giroux’s skill has never been in question. But what Flyer fans remember, more than goals and assists, is a players hustle, and grit when the going gets tough. Claude Giroux has epitomized a Flyer through out his career. Ready to play, ready to fight, ready to win, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, even if it means changing everything about his game to do so. This was seen in 2017 when, after a season plagued by injury resulting in career lows and questions about Giroux’s longevity, Claude switched from center to wing, and dominated the league with 102 points. The 30 year old ended second in points to only Conrad McDoodle.
Claude’s current (November 17th, 2018) totals put him at 221 G – 480 A – 701 P in 757 games played. This puts Giroux #4 in Games Played, #3 in Assists and #3 in Total Points for the Flyers organization behind Bobbly Clarke and Brian Propp in all three categories, and Bill Barber in Games Played. Only Bobby Clarke from this list, can be considered greater than Claude Giroux.
Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent and Claude Giroux are the three greatest Flyers of all time. Bobby Clarke is inarguable. The Stanley Cup Champion captain and Hall of Famer is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He led the Broad Street Bullies to back to back cups and tops every skater statistic leaderboard in franchise history.
Bernie Parent is a more interesting case. Parent was an average goalie. A Philadelphian record of 231-141-102 and a career save percentage of .915 puts him at average to mediocre (on par with most Flyers goalies). But what sets him apart was the back to back cups. Winning the Stanley Cup is hard, and it largely comes down to the goaltender (as we say with the Golden Knights last season), so while Bernie Parent’s career statistics may not seem overly impressive, it is what he brought to this city, that makes him irreplaceable.
The two players that you could argue could possible be above Giroux, although I do not necessarily agree, are Brian Propp and Eric Lindros. Brian Propp had the misfortune of playing for the Flyers during the ’80’s, an era defined by high scoring and dynasties. Its hard to gain recognition when the New York Islanders are winning every cup and then Wayne Gretzky is scoring a bajillion points a year. There is also an astericks next to his scoring totals because of the free wheeling and dealing era that he played in. When adjusted for era, Brian Propp falls below Giroux in every category, and by a fair amount.
Eric Lindros is considered one of the greatest players to wear the orange and the black, the only first overall pick to play for the Flyers (and we got him because of a disorganized secretary), Lindros defined today’s idea of a power forward. He led the Legion of Doom, the most dominant line in Flyers history. The knock against Lindros is the off ice antics that went on, and with such the short amount of time that he played for Philadelphia. His father was constantly calling and complaining to then GM Bobby Clarke, along with the affairs with Rod Brind’Amour’s wife that led to a rather disgruntled exit from the city of brotherly love.
This chasm, built from Lindros’s talents and stardom and the things that come with such, was only recently fixed, with Lindros’s 88 being sent to the rafters this past season. Lindros retired as a Maple Leaf, he lived the majority of his retirement as a Maple Leaf, and it is because of this turn on Philly, that fans would easily put Giroux before him. The longevity of Giroux’s career in Philadelphia (he is currently the longest tenured athlete in the city) along with the talent Giroux brings sets Claude above Lindros in the all time rankings.
For the haters, of which there are many, the arguments are repetitive. Claude Giroux isn’t a leader. He hasn’t won a cup. He gets bodied by Sidney Crosby every time they play. All of his points come from secondary assists. And to those people I say, SHUT THE FUCK UP! First of all, through research (and by this i mean crowd sourcing my research to twitter, thanks Tom Foti) I found that only 202 of Claude Giroux’s 701 points came from secondary assists (28.85%). Also, if the NHL was gonna have such a stick up its ass about secondary assists, they shouldn’t count it as a stat, so there. To say he isn’t a leader is just inaccurate. He is the heart and soul of this Flyer’s team. He plays with so much emotion on a nightly basis that it used to physically ruin his game. To say Claude Giroux doesn’t care, doesn’t want to win, doesn’t want to lead, just means that you don’t actually watch the Flyers. To the Sid point, I ummm vividly remember Sidney Crosby passing the ‘Best in the World’ baton to Claude back in 2012, so next point. And to the no Cups….. well, he’s not done yet……