5 Potential Trades and Landing Spots for Flyers Captain Claude Giroux
After a disastrous 8-10-4 start that has them sitting nine points outside of the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, it was inevitable the Philadelphia Flyers would start making some changes.
The off-ice shifts started earlier this week, with general manager Chuck Fletcher firing head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant head coach Michel Therrien.
Fletcher spoke candidly about the firings, giving us a bit of a glimpse into what he's thinking as he guides the Flyers through this next phase.
"I was hoping we could get some people back and get our group together and find out what we have," Fletcher said, according to But we just keep digging a bigger hole right now. As a group, we've got to find an identity; we've got to start to play the game the right way.
"It's a tough day today, but hopefully this is a new beginning."
That new beginning could lead to on-ice changes as well. Veteran captain and long-time Flyer Claude Giroux's contract is up at season's end, which has pundits (such as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer) wondering whether Fletcher will move him ahead of the March 21 trade deadline.
Giroux has already said he's not thinking about waiving his no-trade clause, but that doesn't mean that we can't examine some possible landing spots for the forward. If the Flyers continue to plummet down the standings—interim head coach Mike Yeo led the team to a 7-5 loss in his first game at the helm and got shut out in his second—then trading the 33-year-old would bolster what would almost certainly be called a reset.
The Anaheim Ducks are the most surprising team in the NHL this season. Analyst
The Ducks have outperformed that forecast, and MoneyPuck.com has them with better than a 60 percent chance of making the postseason.
Anaheim is one of only a handful of teams in a playoff spot that could take on Giroux's contract without sending any money back. That could matter a great deal if Philadelphia does decide to pull the parachute on this season.
We don't think the Ducks should sell the farm for Giroux, and if there's a bidding war, the still-rebuilding club should kindly exit. But
This is a fun bit of speculation, though, and it would be one hell of a message sent to the rest of the league by this overachieving team.
Trading for Giroux would be the most Ottawa Senators thing they've done since general manager Pierre Dorion declared the rebuild over in the summer.
Yet it's a possibility that NHL insider extraordinaire Elliotte Friedman is openly wondering about while doing his usual media rounds, so we'll at least consider it in this space, even though the Senators are hanging around the bottom of the Atlantic Division, sporting a .313 points percentage—that's the third-worst number in the entire league.
In October, when Ottawa still had a prayer of making the playoffs, this kind of deal seemed more likely. If Dorion honestly saw this as a postseason team a few months ago, however, he likely still does despite the Senators' performance out on the ice through 24 games this year.
Maybe he's got an eye toward bolstering his roster ahead of the 2021-22 campaign and thinks Giroux could boost Ottawa's awful offense next season. Only six teams score fewer goals per game than Ottawa—ironically, one of those squads in Philadelphia—and perhaps the GM thinks he could get Giroux to re-sign since the forward lives there during the offseason.
If Giroux wants a Stanley Cup before his playing days are through, though, this might not be the best landing spot for him. And it isn't every day we see a bottom-feeding franchise trade futures for an aging center, but the Senators are unpredictable.
New York Rangers
The logistics of Giroux landing with the New York Rangers would be complicated. Both teams play in the Metropolitan Division, and there isn't a lot of love lost between the two franchises. The reality is, however, that the Blueshirts and Flyers are heading in different directions.
So much so that the idea of seeing their longtime captain in New York might be a little more palatable for Philadelphia. Especially if the return was a solid young forward, prospect and/or draft pick. We're believers that organizations should take the best trade available to them, so we're going to assume that Fletcher wouldn't take a lesser deal elsewhere just because it's New York GM Chris Drury on the phone making a home run offer.
The Rangers could use some help at center, and as they push toward their first playoff appearance since 2017, they could do worse than Giroux. They have a pair of second-round picks (Philadelphia only has two picks in the first three rounds of the 2022 draft) and some intriguing prospects they could send to the City of Brotherly Love.
Would a second-round selection, disgruntled winger Vitali Kravtsov and a conditional pick based on how far the Rangers advance in the postseason be enough to pry Giroux out of Philadelphia? That would be a tough trade for Fletcher to pass up, so proximity be damned.
We're cheating a little here because Giroux wouldn't stick with the Arizona Coyotes. Instead, the team would leverage their considerable cap space to help the Flyers move the center to a contender with less room to work with.
Not many playoff teams have room to absorb Giroux's $8.275 million cap hit outright, especially if we're looking at squads that probably should to be in a postseason spot as opposed to overachievers like the aforementioned Ducks.
That's where the Coyotes could come in. If Philadelphia retained half Giroux's salary, then traded him to Arizona, where it would do the same, before moving him to his final landing spot, suddenly his cap hit is barely north of $2 million.
That would open a lot of doors for a lot of contending teams, particularly those dealing with the brutal injury bug that has taken the NHL by storm. What, you don't want to see Giroux chasing a Stanley Cup as a middle-six forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Or centering the Florida Panthers' third line as they try to win their first championship?
It wouldn't be surprising to see a team like Arizona or even the Detroit Red Wings or Buffalo Sabres looped into a deal as a means to make the money work.
The Minnesota Wild are trying to change the way they are viewed around the NHL. General manager Bill Guerin has seen to that since taking over his post in August 2019.
Throughout most of the organization's existence, they have been an also-ran team capable of reaching the playoffs but making little noise after. These aren't your typical Minnesota Wild, however.
This is the NHL's third-best team in points percentage, and only two squads are scoring more goals per game than the new-look Wild. Adding a center like Giroux into the mix could improve them and continue to shift the way Minnesota is perceived around the league.
It would be a win-now move, and we aren't sure how keen Guerin would be to making one of those. However, he's willing to be bold as he pieces this team together. If the Wild has a weakness, it's down the middle of the ice.
We're not buying Ryan Hartman as a No. 1 pivot on a Stanley Cup winner, great as he's been in 2021-22. Giroux would give them another dangerous scoring option and provide fantastic depth down the middle of the ice.
It would be a rental. Minnesota has brutal cap issues coming its way over the next three seasons after buying out Ryan Suter and Zach Parise this past summer. Which is even more reason to go for it all when the team is clicking like it is.