With Celek Gone, Giroux Becomes Longest-Tenured Philly Athlete
As captain of the Flyers, Claude Giroux has been a fixture of the Philadelphia sports scene for the better part of the last decade. With Tuesday's news of Brent Celek being released by the Eagles, Giroux vaulted to the top in the list of Philadelphia's longest-tenured athletes currently playing in the city.
It's somewhat fitting that Giroux becomes Philly's longest-tenured athlete as he puts the finishing touches on a great season individually. On Monday night, Giroux scored his 25th goal of the season and picked up his 82nd point, sealing his first point-per-game season in three years.
Giroux has put himself in some elite company this season, and his lengthy time in Philadelphia is a main reason why. Now, as Philly's longest-tenured athlete, Giroux's comeback season of sorts should be appreciated by fans who have watched from the very beginning.
The beginning for Giroux came in the 2006 NHL Draft when he was selected by the Flyers with the 22nd overall pick. Within two years, Giroux was playing NHL games, getting a brief two-game exposure to hockey's top level in the 2007-08 season.
Giroux split time in the AHL and NHL the following season, scoring nine goals and picking up 27 points in 42 games. His first full NHL season came the year after in the 2009-10 season, as Giroux scored 16 goals and added 31 assists for 47 points in 82 games.
In just his second full season in the NHL, Giroux started to blossom into a potential superstar. He scored 25 goals and had 76 points in 82 games and made his first of six All-Star Games.
Giroux's best season to date came in 2011-12, when he scored 28 goals and had 93 points in 77 games. He followed his career year with 48 points in the lockout-shortened 48-game 2013 season, and posted 28 goals and 86 points in 2013-14.
But Giroux's value and skill were brought into question over the recent years. In 2014-15, Giroux had 25 goals and 73 points in 81 games, but the Flyers missed the playoffs. In 2015-16, he scored 22 goals and had 67 points in 78 games. Last season, he had just 14 goals and 58 points in 82 games, the lowest totals of his career.
So the 2017-18 season has been a resurgence for Giroux. His 25 goals are the most he has scored in three years and he is rapidly approaching his career mark of 28. His 82 points are also the most since the 2013-14 season and his career mark of 93 is also within reach in the stretch run of the season.
In total, Giroux has 205 goals and 452 assists for 657 points in 726 games with the Flyers. At times, the overall numbers may not look all that impressive, but when stacked up against other Flyers greats, you'll see that Giroux is becoming an all-time Flyer of his own.
While Giroux is not a prolific goal scorer, his 452 assists rank fourth in Flyers history, just 11 behind Bill Barber for third and 28 behind Brian Propp for second. While Bobby Clarke's franchise mark of 852 assists seems highly unlikely for Giroux to attain, coming in second to an all-time hockey legend is pretty good consolation.
In addition, Giroux is rapidly moving up the points list as well. He is just three points away from passing Eric Lindros for fifth on the all-time list. He is also 40 points behind Rick MacLeish for fourth.
Giroux is only in this discussion because of longevity. Now in his 10th full NHL season, Giroux has played in 726 NHL games all with the Flyers. That ranks him ninth all-time in Flyers history. By the end of the regular season, assuming Giroux plays in each of the remaining 12 games, he will be tied for eight with Eric Desjardins on that list. If Giroux plays just 55 games next season with the Flyers, he will be in third place on that list by that time.
Of course, Giroux's place in Flyers history is also cemented by his status as captain. Giroux was named captain prior to the 2013 season and has held the role for five seasons.
Giroux's place in the city's sports history is already set as it is, but now that he holds the honor of being the longest-tenured athlete across the city's four major sports teams, it is even more prominent.
In an age when athletes don't tend to stay in one place for long periods of time, Giroux has been a part of the Flyers for over a decade and based on this season, there are no signs of slowing down or changing that anytime soon.