If there is one name to watch for at the trade deadline, it’s Claude Giroux.
The Flyers captain is expected to be on the move before the March 21 deadline. He is in the final year of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract with Philadelphia and with the Flyers not making the playoffs, it’s an opportunity for the Flyers to gain some assets while Giroux gets a shot at a Stanley Cup.
The forward can play both center and wing and is excellent at both ends of the ice. Giroux is second on the team in points with 42 in 56 games, showing no signs of slowing down at age 34.
Giroux does have a full no-trade clause that he will need to waive, so the decision is his whether or not he wants to be traded. But there is mutual interest and there are plenty of suitors heavily intrigued by the idea of adding a playmaker like Giroux. He carries an $8.275 million cap hit as well, meaning teams will need to clear some space to fit Giroux under the cap restrictions.
He played in 1,000th NHL game on Thursday, and soon after, a deal to the Panthers was reported by Crossing Broad’s Anthony SanFilippo to be in the works. Nothing has picked up since, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed Florida is in the mix, as well as the Avalanche. Giroux won’t travel with the team to Ottawa for the Friday game against the Senators.
Here are some potential suitors for Giroux at the deadline.
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Potential trade destinations for Claude Giroux
No team has been mentioned more often in connection to Giroux than the Avalanche. He would put an already elite top-six forward group over the top if he were acquired by Colorado.
The best team in hockey is once again a favorite to win the Stanley Cup and are looking to break a trend of second-round exits that they’ve experienced the last two seasons. The Avs already made a step to improve their blue line, trading for Ducks defenseman Josh Manson.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog is going to be out for an extended period of time as he undergoes knee surgery, leaving a gap in the top-six. It also opens up the opportunity for the Avalanche to gain some cap space if the club elects to place him on long-term IR. Landeskog’s $7 million cap hit would be off the books, making room for Giroux until the postseason, when the salary cap does not come into play. In addition, the team cleared $1 million in cap by trading Tyson Jost to the Wild.
Justin Barron would likely be the prospect going back to Philly along with the team’s 2023 third-round pick (they don’t own one in 2022). The ranging defenseman would help the Flyers’ bolster a blue line that seems in need of an overhaul yet again.
Imagine the Avs rolling out two lines in the playoffs of Landeskog/Nathan MacKinnon/Mikko Rantanen and Giroux/Nazem Kadri/Andre Burakovsky. That is a nightmare for defenses.
The Panthers are another team looking to add a top-six forward to their elite offense. There hasn’t been a consistent winger this season on the top line of Alexander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe. Giroux could provide that stability.
There are enough openings in Florida’s forward group for Giroux to fit. The Panthers are the league’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 4.16 goals per game. Giroux would not only help fuel the offense, but also provide relief in the defensive end, where the team has been average.
The Flyers were one of the teams rumored to be interested in Owen Tippett. Philadelphia’s brass was at a recent AHL game between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers to scout the young Panthers forward. The 23-year-old has 33 points in 94 games, but has not carved out a role in Florida. He could be included in a package for Giroux.
Now let’s play the same game with the Panthers as we did with the Avs. Imagine the Panthers rolling two lines in playoffs that consist of Barkov, Giroux, Verhaeghe, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett and Anthony Duclair. That’s a fast, dangerous offense coming at you.
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St. Louis Blues
The Blues haven’t been brought up a ton in Giroux trade talks, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said not to rule them out, as well as Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, stating the team is making a push for the veteran forward.
Giroux would be a perfect fit into Craig Berube’s system, given the fact that he has already played in his system when Berube was coach of the Flyers for two seasons. The Philly captain also played with Brayden Schenn when the forward was in Philadelphia.
The Blues would likely need to give up either forward prospect Jake Neighbours or defensive prospect Scott Perunovich, in addition to a first-round pick. That’s at the very minimum.
One of the teams the Flyers’ front office also scouted was the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Capitals.
Washington has quietly kept tabs on the Giroux situation in Philadelphia. Giroux played under Capitals coach Peter Laviolette during his time in Philadelphia, so like with Berube in St. Louis, there is familiarity there with a possible reunion in D.C. between the two.
The Capitals have a ton of star power up front with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. But the depth at forward remains an issue and Giroux could be the answer. Goaltending is also a major concern, with neither Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanacek emerging as the clear No. 1 goalie. Perhaps Flyers backup Martin Jones could be included in the deal with Giroux, killing two birds with one stone for the Caps.
Samsonov is a possible piece going back the other way, getting a fresh start in Philly to play backup to Carter Hart. GM Brian MacLellan has stated he’s hesitant to move any top prospects. Picks are the more likely route, considering the Capitals own one in every round for the next three drafts.