Claude Giroux Traded To The Florida Panthers
And with that, an era ends. The Philadelphia Flyers have reportedly traded Claude Giroux, the longest-tenured captain in team history, to the Florida Panthers. TSN and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun was the first to report the news.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has reported that Connor Bunnaman, a 2016 1st round pick who has spent the last three years going back and forth between the Flyers and their AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, is in the deal. Friedman also reported it includes Owen Tippett, a 2017 1st round pick (10th overall). Tippett is currently playing for Florida’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. He has 14 goals and 19 assists in 94 career NHL games spread out over three seasons.
TSN’s Francois Gagnon was the first to report additional parts of the package: Florida’s 2024 1st (top-10 protected, per the Panthers press release; if it is, the Flyers will receive Florida’s unprotected 2025 1st) and 2023 3rd heading to Philadelphia. It’s certainly an underwhelming move from Philadelphia’s side, both considering Giroux’s history with the franchise and his very high level of play this season. But Giroux possessed a full no-move clause, limiting GM Chuck Fletcher’s options.
Numerous insiders reported that four teams made offers for Giroux: the Panthers, Avalanche, Rangers, and Bruins. Giroux reportedly nixed the offers by Boston and New York. Florida was reportedly his first choice. In fact, The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor reported that Giroux was only willing to go to Florida when the dust settled. The Panthers had already traded their 2022 1st round pick last offseason to acquire Sam Reinhart and their 2023 1st rounder yesterday to obtain Ben Chiarot. It’s still a massive disappointment from the Flyers’ side any way you slice it.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported the Flyers are retaining 50% of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit. LeBrun reported the Panthers are also acquiring a 2024 5th and center German Rubtsov in the trade. Rubtsov was Philadelphia’s first-round pick in 2016, but his stock has essentially been trending down for the last few years. He has just 6 points in 37 games for the Phantoms this season. Rubtsov has played in four career NHL games (none this season) with no points to his name. He projects, at best, as a fourth-line NHL player, and NHL/AHL depth option may be where Rubtsov ultimately settles in.
Giroux did not play in Philadelphia’s game Friday night in Ottawa as a precaution for what was seen as an inevitable trade. He scored 900 points in exactly 1,000 games as a Flyer, wearing the “C” since the 2012-13 season. He is near or at the top of most offensive categories in franchise history and is beloved by many in Philadelphia. But with Giroux’s contract expiring at the end of the season and the team well out of playoff contention, the 34-year old’s ability to both stay in Philadelphia and feel confident about his chances to win his first Stanley Cup became compromised.
The Flyers were never able to surround Giroux in his prime with a Cup-caliber supporting cast; he did reach the Final in his second NHL season as a budding star in the team’s middle-six. But the Flyers ultimately lost in the Stanley Cup Final that year (2010), the only year Giroux has advanced past the second round of the playoffs. Yes, the Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996. But their odds of ending that drought this season are strong. Giroux further stacks a Florida forward core featuring Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, two of the league’s top forwards. The Panthers are on pace to be the NHL’s first team to average over four goals a game since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins. Adding Giroux, who has 42 points in 57 games for a low-scoring Flyers team, will only help that endeavor.
This article will be updated if/when more details become available.
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