Now that Claude Giroux has been shipped off to Florida, the post-Giroux era can finally begin… or maybe not. Even before he got traded, the theory of leaving the light on for the former captain has been thrown around, but does Claude Giroux actually come back to Philadelphia during the offseason?
The celebration of Giroux’s 1,000 game, ultimately his last in Philly, felt like a proper send-off for a franchise icon. The perfect way to end a chapter of Flyers’ history. Not that someone with the legacy of Giroux wouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms, but it really spoils the good vibes he left on. Sending him off while he still had something in the tank is a much more pleasing ending to the story than him being in his late 30’s and a shell of himself that fans are begging to see removed from the team.
There have been conflicting reports about what may have gone down behind closed doors during the trade negotiations, which could ultimately hinder a potential return. Some say Giroux wanted assurances that he would return to Philadelphia, which Chuck Fletcher refused to meet, and later that report was denied by both Fletcher and Giroux’s agent Pat Brisson.
From Fletcher’s perspective, it was definitely the right move to not assure Giroux of anything. Fletcher’s feet will be held close to the fire this offseason when it comes to doing anything necessary to put a competitive team on the ice. Being forced to lock Giroux back up could hinder any other plans he might have. The Flyers will need all the flexibility they can get, and simply can’t commit to a 34-year-old, no matter what role he previously had on the team.
Does that sour the interest from Giroux’s camp? Possibly.
If there is interest from both parties about a potential Giroux return, it needs to be swung in the Flyers’ favor. He would need to sign a very team friendly deal, somewhere in the $3-3.5 million range. If he wants to return, but would only sign in the $5-6 million range, the Flyers would seriously considering turning that down in favor of younger talent available via trade or free agency.
Even if Giroux wants to come back, does it make sense for the chemistry in the locker room? If guys like Scott Laughton and Joel Farabee emerge as leaders in his absence, only to be put back playing second fiddle if Giroux returns, even if you don’t give him the “C,” that feels like a scenario that could brew more animosity than it solves. Doing anything to create tension in an already seemingly fragile locker room isn’t what’s best for business.
It still doesn’t seem impossible for a potential Giroux reunion down the road, but now that the emotional side of his departure has been worked through and the immediate attachment is no longer there, the team can think clearly about its next step. It’s pretty clear that the Flyers have desperately needed a new direction for quite some time, and even though that may not be entirely on the former captain, the only real way to achieve it is without Giroux in the picture.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com