Claude Giroux can't handle the weight of the world

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Having only recorded two points in seven games, Claude Giroux has been inundated with questions about his performance.

That's the sentiment that's prevailed lately. The Philadelphia Flyers 25-year-old captain is the world's -- former -- greatest player who isn't worth the extension awarded to him this offseason. The letter sewn onto the front of his chest is burning a hole to his heart that's proving he's not cut out for the gig.

The same 25-year-old captain that was a point per game player last year, who also scored 93 points in 77 games and 76 points in 82 games. No, Claude Giroux doesn't have what it takes.

Having gone seven games without a goal and five games without a point, the questions about Giroux have grown louder with each game. Never mind that he has recorded the second most assists in the league since the start of the 2011 season; the man has gone seven games without a goal.

The reality: Giroux is going through a slump, which tends to happen over the course of a career. It can happen when a player has offseason hand surgery a few weeks before the start of the season, and it can happen when he doesn't have someone to work with.

Which might be changing if recent performances develop into trends.

Tye McGinn has scored three goals in two games since being recalled  from the American Hockey League. Giroux has primary assists on two of them, both of which included: positioning, precision and a willingness to go to the net, something that wasn't happening through the first five games.

The fact of the matter is Giroux is going to record a lot of points over the course of his career, the majority of which are going to be assists (he's scored 66 goals since 2011, which is 46th most in the league). The only player that has recorded more helpers than Giroux over that span is Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a tremendous player who has the benefit of playing with an even better sniper in Steven Stamkos, the league's second-highest goal scorer over that same period of time.

Who is Giroux's Stamkos? Jakub Voracek displayed the potential to fill one of Giroux's wings after a career-high 22 goals in only 48 games last season, which was probably a coincidence (it wasn't a coincidence). But the other spot is still open to competition and McGinn has shown he deserves a few more auditions.

Of course, the futility of the team's power play is an issue Giroux needs to help improve. A third of his 91 career goals have come on the man advantage and the Flyers are converting on 6.9 percent of their power plays this season. Giroux has proven to excel when shooting from the left faceoff circle, similar to the way Stamkos and Alex Ovechkin do. However, Giroux hasn't been afforded many opportunities to attempt that shot. If that doesn't change, it's likely the team will continue to lose games and his point total will continue to stagnate.

While Giroux isn't presently holding the world up, the weight looks to be getting more manageable. However, things won't be getting any easier as Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to come to Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night. Crosby is fresh off a three-point performance against the Edmonton Oilers and enters competition with a league leading 12 points.

Pittsburgh is atop the Metropolitan Division with 10 points (5-1-0) and hold a three-point lead over the second place Carolina Hurricanes (2-2-3), while Philadelphia (1-6-0) is in the group's cellar with two points.

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