Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia dug into the archives last night after Flyers center Claude Giroux scored in a 4-2 win over Phoenix. It was Giroux’s 32nd point of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the league lead, which got Panaccio to thinking — who was the last Flyer to lead the NHL in scoring after 25-plus games?
The answer: No. 88.
Yes, Eric Lindros was the last Flyer to achieve the feat. The Big E had 43 points after 33 games in 1998-99 — tying him with Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr who, ironically enough, now plies his trade for the Flyers. Lindros wouldn’t win the Art Ross that season (injuries limited him to 93 points in 71 games), but Jagr did, finishing with 127 points.
[Fun fact: Jagr’s 127 point total hasn’t been topped since. Joe Thornton came the closest with 125 points in 2005-06, while Sidney Crosby (120PTS, 2006-07) and Jagr himself (121PTS, 2000-01) also got within sniffing distance.]
Anyway, back to Giroux. We wrote earlier about Evander Kane’s breakthrough season — well, Giroux’s is equally impressive. He’s never scored more than 76 points, but is on pace for 105 and could be shortlisted for quarter-pole MVP honors. Remember, Philly traded away two of its four leading scorers from last year (Jeff Carter and former captain Mike Richards) and have been without Chris Pronger for over half the season. Giroux stepped up to fill those voids and kept the Flyers in the hunt for top spot in the Eastern Conference.