Things are heating up for the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL as the 2022 Trade Deadline is fast approaching. There is now less than two weeks until the deadline hits and the Flyers’ management have been busy scouting around the league.
They have a number of pending free agents and general manager Chuck Fletcher has also made his intentions of an aggressive rebuild known. Claude Giroux is the Flyers’ biggest trade chip and could go a long way in bringing in a return that can make a difference in helping the team turn things around as soon as next season. Who knows, Giroux could also sign back after the season if traded before the deadline.
A number of teams that are at the top of the league and want to make a run to the Stanley Cup Final have been rumoured and have their names in the mix including the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and Carolina Hurricanes. All make sense for one reason or another, and we will go into that below.
Let’s begin with the Avalanche by saying that they are one of the teams in the mix for a number of big-name players before the deadline seeing as this is a year they have to be all in. It was reported a while back by Avalanche insider Adrian Dater that Giroux listed a couple of teams in the Central Division as places he would waive his no-move clause for. These teams included the Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and St. Louis Blues (from ‘The Latest on the Claude Giroux, Avalanche Potential Trade Scenario’, Colorado Hockey Now, Feb. 14, 2022).
Giroux is great in the faceoffs again this season and could be interchangeable in the circle with Nazem Kadri as they are different-handed. It would round out the top-six for the Avalanche and give them even more scoring which is very much needed with the lack of production coming from the bottom-six on average.
There is plenty the Avalanche can send back in the way of prospects and young players, more so what the Flyers will be looking for in a return since they want to be competitive next season.
The team picking up the most steam as of late in the Giroux sweepstakes is the Panthers. Another contender that intends on going all-in as well. They don’t have their first-round pick this season, but they do have a former 10th overall pick who is NHL-ready in Owen Tippett on the trade block. He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup consistently and has been playing in the American Hockey League (AHL).
That brings us to the game between the Flyers’ affiliate, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and the Panthers’ affiliate, Charlotte Checkers, in which Chuck Fletcher and other significant decision-makers in the Flyers’ organization attended the game, presumably to see Tippett play.
Jeff Mark brought attention to this on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast in discussing rumblings around Giroux. His belief and what he says the consensus out there is that they were all at the game to see Tippett. Elliotte Friedman adds that “if you’re trying to compete as quickly as you can and Philly is trying to come back next year, Owen Tippett makes a lot of sense because he is ready to play.” There will have to be more than that but is it as much as a future first-round pick considering the Panthers don’t have their first rounder this season.
Minnesota Wild & St. Louis Blues
Originally mentioned as a backup option if he were to get moved, it was reported, like I stated above, that Giroux would be willing to also be traded to Minnesota or St. Louis if Colorado didn’t work. The Wild are the more likely of the two given that they could use the centre or top-six upgrade much more than the Blues. The issue that has arisen since then is that the Wild have fallen in the standings after going 2-8-0 in the past 10 and allowed teams to get back into the playoff race, diminishing their chances at clinching easily.
Sure, both teams could work by moving around cap to add a rental, but the mindset of Giroux has to be if he is getting moved, he wants the best chance to win the Stanley Cup this year. That would be as a member of the Panthers or Avalanche ahead of the Wild and Blues at this time.
Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, & Carolina Hurricanes
Three other contenders whose playoff hopes are firmly intact this season are the Bruins, Rangers, and Hurricanes. Friedman also brought up that there have been some rumblings about the Hurricanes as an option for Giroux. At this moment, it makes a lot of sense for the Hurricanes to be looking to add a top-six impactful player seeing as they’re a real contender for the Cup and Jordan Martinook is currently on the second line. On a healthy team, that appears to be their only weak spot that could be upgraded.
On the Bruins and Rangers side of things, Friedman thinks both teams have kicked tired on the cost and willingness of Giroux to join their teams. The Bruins are a bit more than Rangers could use the upgrade at centre considering they’ve swapped between Charlie Coyle and Eric Haula at the second line centre position.
Seeing as dealing Giroux to a divisional opponent isn’t a huge deal because he’s a rental, a trade between teams within a division happens all the time.
The Rangers don’t necessarily need a centreman, but in the faceoff circle, he would be better than Ryan Strome. Either Giroux or Strome can play the wing and that would make for a dangerous top-six. Kaapo Kakko continues to deal with injuries and isn’t as impactful of a player as Giroux. Igor Shesterkin gives the Rangers an amazing chance at winning every night and the team has a load of cap space to work with this year. It would be a major let-down if they don’t make a big splash and go for it (from ‘Rangers May Look to Add Forward On Expiring Deal Ahead’, NHL Trade Talk, Nov. 25, 2021).
If Giroux gives the green light to the Flyers to deal him to a contender, you can guarantee that something is getting done before the trade deadline and see them bring in assets to help them get back to winning next year.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News, trade talks, and daily betting guides.
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