Having just passed the one year anniversary of his trade out of town, Philadelphia Flyers fans might find themselves still checking in on their old captain, Claude Giroux, from time to time. After all, here was a player who gave a lot to this franchise, and it only seems appropriate to continue to support him elsewhere.
At the time he was dealt to the Florida Panthers last March, Giroux wrapped up his Flyers career with the nice and neat totals of 900 points in 1,000 games. It stood to reason that it was only a matter of time that he would nab his milestone 1,000th career point sometime during the 2023-24 NHL season. But Giroux has actually ramped things up since then, registering 90 points in 87 games between his brief Florida stint last spring and this year with the Ottawa Senators to put himself ahead of schedule and within striking distance of 1,000 points this year.
Former Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux might hit a big milestone against his old club.
This brings us to the upcoming NHL schedule and how the stars just might have a chance to align.
The Flyers and Senators will meet one final time this year, on March 30th, in Ottawa. The Senators have five games between now and then, and a brief hot streak by Giroux would put him right at the cusp of 1,000 points heading into that contest. At this point, it’s probably a bit of a longshot, since Giroux has posted just a single point in his last four games. Yet, he did have a three-game outburst just a few weeks ago where he tallied nine points, so the possibility can’t be dismissed entirely.
Once “G” finally does achieve this feat, he’ll become just the 96th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points. Heady company, for sure. And over their history, the Flyers have been victimized plenty of times in this area, with eight of the previous 95 players joining the club against the Orange and Black.
Frank Mahovlich was the first to do so, way back in 1973. After that, the Flyers surrendered point #1,000 to Mark Messier (ugh) and Dave Taylor three weeks apart in 1991, and then to Brian Propp (more on this in a minute) in 1994. Dale Hunter and Pat LaFontaine did it less than two weeks apart against the Flyers in 1998. After the Flyers took a few years off from surrendering such a milestone, Martin St. Louis scored his 1,000th point in Philadelphia in 2014, and most recently we saw Steven Stamkos do it earlier this season.
It sure seems like the Flyers give up 1,000th career points at an inordinately high rate, so we might as well all be watching when Giroux does it. To this end, the situation is somewhat similar to Brian Propp’s big moment. On March 19, 1994, the Flyers and Hartford Whalers met for a Saturday matinee at the Spectrum, and I was there. Both teams stunk and were just playing out the string with a few weeks to go in the season, but there was one item of interest: former Flyer Brian Propp was sitting at 998 career points.
Propp had been a mainstay with the Flyers for a decade before being traded in 1990. Now, at the ripe old age of 35, his career was on its last legs, and he came into this game with only 23 points in 54 games on the season. Despite this, Propp opened the scoring in the first period, notching career point #999. Being too young to fully grasp Propp’s history in Philadelphia, I didn’t quite understand why the crowd seemed to be pulling for him so much, but it added a level of excitement to an otherwise meaningless contest.
The game wore on, and it was tied at 3-3 in the final minute of play when Hartford’s Jocelyn Lemieux scored to stake the Whalers to a 4-3 lead. Then, with the Flyers having pulled their goaltender and just two seconds left on the clock, Propp iced the win by scoring into the empty net to hit the milestone and touch off a celebration. It would ultimately end up being his final NHL goal, as he retired at the end of the season. Side note…the secondary assist on that marker went to a 19-year old Whalers defenseman named Chris Pronger.
So, will we see Claude Giroux accomplish the same against his former team? Unfortunately, the Flyers and Sens’ final meeting this year is in Canada, and not back in front of the fans who supported their captain for so long. But it will have to do. If he doesn’t get to the mark by then, Claude will have seven more games this season to get it done, which is almost a certainty barring an injury. In that case, maybe there is a minute chance that the Flyers play Ottawa very early next season while Giroux is still short of the number, but we can’t hazard any guesses on that just yet.
Regardless of when and against whom Claude Giroux hits the mark, reaching 1,000 NHL points will be a crowning achievement of a fantastic career that still has a chance to land him in the Hockey Hall of Fame someday.