The Ottawa Senators are hoping to take the next steps in their ongoing rebuild, and, naturally, the team would be linked with acquiring a veteran presence capable of guiding the young guns.
With a team full of talented, young prospects and emerging players, the Senators have a bright future ahead of them, but the need for a veteran player that can help be a guiding beacon as the team continues to grow is something that is already beginning to surface.
One player that is starting to emerge in trade talks and rumours is current, and long-time, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Could Giroux Leave Philadelphia?
Early last week, TSN insider Pierre LeBrun suggested that Giroux’s camp, along with the Flyers organization, have made the decision to hold any talks over the Hearst, Ontario native’s future until after the season has concluded.
This has opened the floodgates for rumours across all mediums, positing the question as to whether Giroux’s time in The City of Brotherly Love could be over after this season, or even potentially during the season.
Sports Illustrated/The Hockey News have taken some of the many tidbits and rumours out there further and explored the possibility of the Ottawa Senators being a potential destination for the 33-year-old forward, as Giroux spends his offseason in the Canadian capital.
The Senators’ cap situation, as well as the young one-two punch they currently have at centre in Josh Norris and Shane Pinto, could lead to the team taking on a veteran of Giroux’s ilk and with a personal connection already established. It would seem reasonable to believe general manager Pierre Dorion could consider the possibility.
What Giroux Can Offer the Senators?
While Giroux is no longer the player that scored 34 goals and put up an astonishing 102 points during the 2017-18 season, he would still bring a lot to the table for the young and progressing Ottawa Senators.
He is a flexible forward, capable of playing either wing or centre, allowing the team to roll a variety of line combinations that could provide head coach D.J. Smith with a wider range of options to choose from each night, with his high-paced offence likely benefitting from Giroux’s poise and ability to slot into anywhere in the line-up.
He also brings with him leadership skills that have seen him wear the coveted ‘C’ for the Flyers since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, making him an ideal mentor for the many promising young players already occupying top-six roles on the team.
Having him guide the team’s top-end talent, including the likes to presumed future captain Brady Tkachuk, with his 946 regular-season games of experience and wealth of playoff experience, including a run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, would help the team to grow and learn what it takes to be successful in the league.
He isn’t likely to put up huge numbers again, at his advanced age, but he has already registered two goals and an assist in the Flyers’ opening three games and could certainly maintain a consistent offensive output with the Senators’ strong and vibrant forward group.
Why Should The Senators Hold Off, For Now
While Giroux, overall, would be an excellent addition to the team and help take them to the next level in their rebuild, there is still a serious question mark that hangs over him this season.
Giroux has just a year remaining on the eight-year, $8.275 million contract he signed with the Flyers back in 2013 and he is an unrestricted free agent once the season is over, leaving his future from July 1st up in the air.
It’s something that the Senators should, and would, be wary of if there is any interest from their side over acquiring Giroux, as they are not a team needing a short-term rental.
The Senators may well see an upturn in performances this season and could even surprise a few by making a run at the playoffs, but it’s extremely unlikely that they will be anywhere near Stanley Cup contenders and adding Giroux for just a run at the post-season isn’t something the team should entertain.
What the Senators need is someone with Giroux’s experience and talent for a two-to-three-year period, which means he would need to be willing to agree to an extension before any trade for his services should be approved.
If Giroux isn’t willing to consider any extension talks with the Senators until after the season is over, then the team should look elsewhere as the cost of acquiring him and the risk of him potentially leaving for a legitimate contender in the summer is something the team can’t afford.
If the rumours of his interest in heading to the Canadian capital have substance, and he is willing to engage in extension talks with Dorion, then a deal should be forthcoming. If not, then Giroux isn’t a player likely to pull on the black and red jersey at any time this season.
James is a British sports writer covering the Ottawa Senators for The Hockey Writers.