Since being drafted 22nd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Claude Giroux has solidified himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history. Entering his 15th season with the team in 2021-22, Giroux currently ranks ninth all-time in goals scored for the Flyers. Although he has not shown any signs of slowing down anytime soon, the captain of the orange and black is in the final season of the eight-year deal he signed in 2014-15.
“I think when you got a chance to play with one organization your whole career, it’s something to be proud of and this organization has a great reputation, and since I’m here they’ve treated me great, so if I can that would be great,” said Giroux during a post-practice interview last season.
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While Giroux previously stated that he would like to remain a member of the Flyers organization for his whole career, fans are left to believe he might explore other options after the conclusion of this season. The 33-year-old forward has only had one shot at winning a Stanley Cup over the course of his career, so the frustrations will begin to set in at some point as he nears the end of his career. After multiple years of missing the playoffs or early playoff exits, will Giroux decide to stick around in Philadelphia to give it another shot?
Option One: Stay in Philadelphia
The obvious choice for the captain of the Flyers is to sign a contract extension during the season and stay in orange and black for a couple more years. The Flyers’ offseason was one of the most memorable in recent memory, with the acquisitions of Ryan Ellis, Keith Yandle, Cam Atkinson, Martin Jones, Nate Thompson, and Rasmus Ristolainen. With these moves, the organization has the potential to be a real contender this season.
A balance between veteran leadership and young talent could potentially convince the captain to stick around for a couple more seasons while the team makes a push towards winning a Cup. He would more than likely be willing to take a hometown discount to stick around, especially if he has a decent shot at being successful.
He is only 53 games away from playing 1,000 career games in a Flyers uniform, so he will surpass that mark this season as long as he stays healthy. Staying with the organization would also mean he has a chance to move up the list of all-time goal leaders for the franchise. He will pass Eric Lindros (290 goals) this season if he can produce 17 or more goals.
“I talked to Claude about that, about exactly that situation,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Friday. “His response to me was he feels real comfortable, he wants the Flyers to win, he wants to be part of the winning formula and he’s really excited about this year. We both come from the same region (the Gatineau, Quebec area). I had so many people talk to me about his summer and the summer of the training that he did. One of the people that I know was training him during the summer; he’s come here to work and be a great example. He’s missing one thing to his legacy and that’s what he wants to get to. I’m hoping to help him achieve that.”
Option Two: Trade Deadline Deal
Depending on how the first half of the season plays out for the Flyers, a trade deadline deal for Giroux could be imminent. Trading him at the deadline would give him a shot at winning a Cup while still in the prime of his career. He would be a huge addition to any of the top contenders in the league and highly sought after.
The deal would be huge for the Flyers as they would unload a beloved member of their organization for hopefully a haul of prospects of talented players. A deal of this kind would completely change the face of Flyers as Giroux is the longest-tenured player on the current roster. The leadership group in the locker room has already changed drastically with the subtraction of Jake Voracek this past offseason, so moving the captain would change everything. While this is certainly an option for the Flyers, the future remains unseen for the next couple of months until the season plays out.
Option Three: Test Free Agency
Giroux could also test the free agency market for the first time in his career if he is not happy with how this season goes for the Flyers. This option would allow him to be paid a bit more than what he would expect to get from Philadelphia, but also make him one of the most sought-after free-agent targets in the NHL this offseason. Contract talks between the captain and Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher have been ongoing since the end of last season, but nothing was ever set in stone.
“I’ve had good conversations with Claude and with Pat Brisson, his agent,” Fletcher said. “At this point, our plan is to play the season out and we’ll talk at the end of the season. I think we’re both comfortable with that. Claude’s our captain, he’s a great player and I anticipate that we’ll find a way to continue that relationship going forward. Right now, I think what we’ll do is we’ll just get through the season and we’ll look at the situation — see where he’s at, see where we’re at and we’ll do what’s best for everybody.”
Flyers fans hope that this will not be the final chapter of the Giroux era in Philadelphia, but his future with the team is still up in the air. Until the day that he is no longer a member of the orange and black, he will forever be one of the most underrated players in the history of the team.
Bobby Bader is a freelance journalist from Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL) as the team’s media coordinator as the team prepares for its inaugural season. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.