On March 19, Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito worked his magic once again by acquiring longtime Philadelphia Flyers forward and captain Claude Giroux in exchange for forward Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round selection and a 2023 third-round selection. In addition, the Panthers acquired centers Connor Bunnaman and German Rubtsov and a 2024 fifth-round pick from the Flyers. With this, the Panthers get one of the most talented players in the NHL and a longtime captain.
The Illustrious Career of “G”
Since he was drafted in 2006, Giroux was the face of Philadelphia hockey. He got his first crack at the NHL in the 2007-08 season. His first career goal came against the Panthers at the Bank Atlantic Center, now FLA Live Arena, on Jan. 27, 2009. In 2013, he was named the 19th captain in Flyers history for his leadership skills, and through 1000 games with Philly, he has 900 points (291 goals, 609 assists) to rank second in franchise history in games played, assists, and points, and eighth all time in goals.
Giroux has dressed for 85 career postseason games, scoring 25 goals and 48 assists. In 2010, he helped the Flyers win the Eastern Conference Final series 4-1 over the Montreal Canadiens as a seventh seed, and has played in six Stanley Cup Final games, scoring two goals, including a game-winning overtime goal in Game 3, and two assists.
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With his arrival to South Florida, he is going to benefit the team dramatically for their upcoming playoff push and has a legitimate chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Giroux’s Arrival Cements the Top Line
Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov are the Panthers’ lethal weapons on the top line. However, the right-wing has seen many different faces all season long, who either disrupted the chemistry on other lines or just didn’t pan out. With the talent that Giroux possesses, he will certainly cement himself on that top line and has said he can’t wait to play with the Panther captain.
“He’s always in good position. He’s one of the best defensive forwards in the league. On top of that, he makes a lot of plays, and he’s got that offensive touch. If I have a chance to play on his line, I’m sure I’ll be [acting] like the first time going to school, just giggling a little bit.”– Claude Giroux on Aleskander Barkov
The Panthers’ top line is now one of the most dangerous in the NHL.
The Florida Flyers?
Giroux will recognize a few familiar faces when he arrives in defensemen Radko Gudas and Robert Hagg along with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. During his time in Philadelphia, he played alongside them for at least a season or two. It’ll be as if he never left the City of Brotherly Love.
Giroux Built for Playoff Hockey
With 85 career playoff games of experience, Giroux loves the postseason. His experience will benefit those who haven’t been to the dance, such as Sam Reinhart, or rookies like Anton Lundell.
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In addition, his style should be very effective against the opposition in May. Despite being 34 years old, he’s still got plenty left in the tank with 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) through 57 games this season.
Giroux Will Be a Mentor
Giroux has shown he can be a leader. With his long career, he will pass along important lessons to the younger players on the team or those who are trying to crack the roster. Even if it’s only for a few months, teachings like that only come once in a lifetime.
Zito is Going All-In
Including his most recent moves, Zito is telling the NHL that the Panthers are all in for a title this season. With their exceptional forward depth and the older generation’s hunger for a championship, they have the assets and the attitude to put together a solid Cup run. They may find themselves in cap trouble down the line, it at least shows that Zito is confident enough to go for it this season. The window of opportunity is small, and he made sure to squeeze through it before it closes.