One of the biggest questions the Flyers faced entering the season was the fate of captain Claude Giroux, who is on an expiring contract and has opted to not talk renewal until after the season. At first, it seems like a way for Giroux to try and bank some money. If he had a great season, he has the leverage to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the Flyers. But there’s a darker, more interesting option that has been theorized as to his patience, it gives him the opportunity to pull the rip cord and walk away from Philadelphia in the offseason if he so chooses.
Giroux, who has been with the Flyers since 2008, has been through every high and incredible low the organization has faced since. His competitive nature is palpable and the frustration he has shown when things go south has been intense. Unfortunately, that level of frustration hasn’t been eased as the years go on.
So far, the Flyers have managed to keep their heads above water during the 2021-22 season, though overcoming key injuries and an overall lack of scoring is taking it’s toll on the team. Even as his 34th birthday approaches, Giroux is still tied for the team lead in goals and leads the team in points. Something that is still great to see, but is incredibly worrisome at the same time.
Not only is it not great that nobody has taken the baton from Giroux and established themselves as the heir to his throne, but if Giroux were to leave, the heart and soul of the team goes with him, both from a leadership and an offensive perspective.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a brain-dead hater, Giroux will be a classic case of not truly appreciating what you have until it’s gone.
Before Giroux has a chance to leave in free agency, the Flyers may have to make a decision before summer even rolls around. If the team cannot right the ship and are out of a playoff spot when the trade deadline comes around in late March (based on NHL Olympic participation), a top guy on an expiring contract will be an enticing option for teams looking to add a major piece for their playoff run. The Flyers should be able to land themselves a nice return in the process. Though if that is the route the Flyers ultimately take, it’ll signal a full on rebuild for the franchise.
He’s still producing at a high enough rate that he could seek a bigger pay day once his current contract expires. It’s no secret the Flyers are up against the cap and are going to need Giroux to take a healthy pay cut in order to make it all work next summer. If Giroux not only wants to chase a Cup, but tries to make one last big payday, he could demand a dollar amount that could price out the Flyers, but another team desperate for a star would be more than willing to pay.
Will Claude Giroux actually leave Philadelphia? It’s really is hard to imagine Giroux playing for someone else. If he’s been loyal to the team through the disaster that was the last few years, maybe he sticks around for the last few years of his career, at least for another season two before he searches for a Stanley Cup. But the reality is he isn’t getting any younger. 34 in the modern day NHL may as well make him in his early 70’s. He’s done everything there is to do in Philadelphia besides secure a Stanley Cup, and if it seems apparent that the Flyers aren’t in the race this year, Giroux weighing his options could be a very real possibility and we all may have to brace ourselves for an emotional separation in the near future.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com