If the Edmonton Oilers are unable to re-sign Evander Kane this summer, they have a pretty solid backup plan.
Edmonton is interested in free-agent forward Claude Giroux, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, who wrote that the Oilers "have internally discussed the merits of trying to sign" him.
Giroux is coming off an eight-year, $66.2 million deal that had an annual cap hit of $8.275 million. It's unclear what type of deal he's looking for this summer, but the Oilers should be able to make him an intriguing offer with $7.1 million in cap space, per CapFriendly.
The 34-year-old began the 2021-22 campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers before being traded to the Florida Panthers at the March deadline in exchange for Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick.
In 75 regular-season games, Giroux tallied 21 goals and 44 assists for 65 points. Just three of those goals came in his 18-game stint in Florida, though he added three goals and five assists for eight points in 10 playoff games with the Panthers.
LeBrun reported that the Panthers and Giroux are interested in striking a deal for him to return to South Florida, but the team has just $3 million in cap space this summer, per CapFriendly, which likely isn't enough to retain the veteran forward.
In addition, the Panthers have a number of other free agents to sign this summer, including Ben Chiarot and Mason Marchment.
That said, Giroux can play both center and left wing, which makes him one of the more intriguing free agents on the market. The Oilers could opt to put him on the top line alongside Connor McDavid or the second line alongside Leon Draisaitl.
In addition, Edmonton could opt to use Giroux as its third-line center, which would give the team an incredible amount of depth down the middle of the ice.
Giroux spent the first 14 and a half seasons of his career in Philadelphia, which selected him in the first round of the 2006 NHL draft. He earned one All-Star selection and tallied 291 goals and 609 assists for 900 points in 1,000 games with the franchise.
The Flyers ultimately decided to trade Giroux because he wanted an opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, and that likely wasn't going to be possible in Philadelphia as the franchise is in a retooling period.
In addition to the Oilers, LeBrun listed the Senators as a "team to watch" for Giroux because he and his family spend their summers in Ottawa, However, he noted "the allure of wanting to win a Cup ASAP would be the sticking point on that one even though it’s a young and talented team that’s on the rise. But maybe the Sens' pitch, if Ottawa decides to dive in on Giroux, wins him over."