Philadelphia Flyers

Will the Lockout Hinder Claude Giroux's Meteoric Rise in Philadelphia?

WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 21: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers during their NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on February 21, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Nicholas GossCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2012

Claude Giroux's ascent to the NHL's elite was one of the most exciting stories of the 2011-12 season. But will his meteoric rise with the Philadelphia Flyers be hindered by the current lockout?

If Giroux was a young player still learning the NHL game and adjusting to life as a professional, then the lockout might negatively affect his development. However, Giroux has been at the NHL level for three-and-a-half seasons. So he isn't a young player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, who has just one season's worth of NHL experience and is ready for an important sophomore campaign.

Last year, Giroux proved how well he can handle expectations. There was a lot of pressure put on his shoulders, and everyone was expecting a major year from him.

Not only did he meet these expectations, but Giroux gave the Flyers a season-long performance that was worthy of Hart Trophy consideration. He finished the year with 93 points on 28 goals and 65 assists in 77 games. It was a breakthrough season for one of the game's rising stars.

Giroux is one of the most talented players in the NHL, and his passion for the sport is immense. There's nothing a lockout will do to prevent him from maintaining a high level of offensive production going forward.

Take a look Giroux's NHL stats thus far:

Regular Season         Playoffs      
Year G A P -- GP G A P
2008-09 9 18 27 -- 6 2 3 5
2009-10 16 31 47 -- 23 10 11 21
2010-11 25 51 76 -- 11 1 11 12
2011-12 28 65 93 -- 10 8 9 17

Someone who improves at the pace that Giroux has over the last three years isn't going to see his production decline because of a lockout. He's one of the most competitive players in the league, which was evident in the playoffs last year, and there's no way he will take a step back in any aspect of his game as a result of the work stoppage.

He's going to be a point-per-game player for many years to come because of his natural talent. Not to mention the fact that he's surrounded by a number of quality goal scorers on the Flyers' roster, such as Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek.

If anything, a lockout could actually help Giroux, because it will give him more time to recover after having each of his wrists operated on this summer. He's going to need two healthy wrists this season if he wants to score goals like the one in the video below.

Giroux could go to Europe to play during the lockout like many of his fellow NHLers, but according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly, the Flyers forward has no plans to do that yet.

After missing the final game of the Flyers' playoff run last year due to suspension, Giroux will be extremely motivated to start next season strong and lead his team back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2010.

A lockout may prevent Giroux from getting back onto the ice as quick as he would like, but it won't stop him from becoming one of the game's top five forwards in the near future. He's destined for greatness, and he will reach that level whether or not there's a lengthy lockout this season.

 

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.

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