The playoffs currently rage on, and they’ve been, in honesty, very good! From the tight, tactical clashes between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, to the 1980’s-esque barn-burning shootouts between Edmonton and Colorado. To put that particular series in perspective, so far 24 goals have been scored in just 3 games. In fact, this has been one of the highest scoring playoffs so far in recent memory, and very few of the games have been boring. It has certainly been exciting to see a McDavid vs MacKinnon matchup that the league is actively marketing, and heavily at that. Furthermore, the upcoming powerhouse Avalanche (now up 3-0 as per this award), who have almost certainly booked themselves a ticket to the Stanley Cup Final, could potentially face the old guard Lightning in what could be a battle between two of the best three teams in hockey. What a series that would be (no disrespect meant to NYR fans, sorry!).
One could argue that the Lightning and Avalanche are the two best teams in hockey, but that would discredit the regular season that the Florida Panthers had as President’s Trophy winners. Yes, we can hear you in the back screaming that the President’s Trophy doesn’t matter, and you would certainly be correct given how that award is currently valued. But, at least from a European resident’s perspective, having the best record in the league shouldn’t be completely overlooked. In the UK’s EIHL, there’s the regular season champions, cup competition similar to the FA Cup in soccer, and the playoffs, which 8 of 10 teams qualify for, making it essentially a second cup. This is all suffice to say that all of these various accolades hold value from a financial and reputation perspective (and for qualifying for international competitions like the CHL).
However, despite the above, the Florida Panthers will not be judged in the same breadth as the Lightning or Avalanche, or even the Rangers. The Panthers managed to dispatch the Washington Capitals in six games, but when faced with the Lightning, managed to both get swept, but embroil themselves in controversy over late night antics as if the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a beer league tournament. It felt as if they had resigned themselves to being eliminated, and such resignations are never a good sign for a club’s commitment to lifting the one prize they all seek.
That brings us to the main topic of this article: Claude Giroux.
Everyone knows the story. Giroux was acquired by the Panthers at the trade deadline, and was brought in to give a veteran boost to a young team that was looking to make a splash in the playoffs.
However, with Florida bounced embarrassingly from the second round, and that air of judgment around the franchise, there are rightly questions to ask of where they go from here. They’ll have decisions to make, and one of them is what to do with Giroux. Ultimately, as an impending UFA, it will be up to Claude to decide what he wants to do, but it could be quite likely Giroux hits the open market for the first time in his career, certainly an exciting prospect for a 34-year- old who particularly chose to be traded to Florida as his “chase the Cup” team.
Giroux hitting the open market, and here comes the main argument, could mean one particular thing for yours, mine and our Philadelphia Flyers: a reunion.
The Flyers are certainly not above bringing players back for a second stay with the club, especially players who are on the older side. Think Simon Gagne, RJ Umberger, Vinny Prospal, and Peter Forsberg (though Forsberg never iced for the Flyers previously). However, Giroux holds much more of a clout around the Flyers’ organization than any of those previous players mentioned, and as such, the Flyers could feel as if they have to at the very least give him an offer. Conversely, they may feel uncomfortable bringing back Giroux to signal a “new era” as that would be an obvious hypocrisy.
However, this article isn’t discussing what is possible or not, it is weighing the benefits of bringing Giroux back, and whether or not the Flyers should bring him back. With that being said…
Door One: Giroux returns to the Flyers
The obvious and most clear “pro” to Giroux returning to the Flyers would be that he is a skilled hockey player who would again become the best player on the team from a point-producing perspective.
For a Flyers team that really struggled to score in 2021-22, yes, more goals and more points would be great! He also wouldn’t need to learn to gel with his new teammates given, well, they’re his old teammates.
That being said, with a new head coach on the horizon, Giroux would need to learn a new system (yet again), and he may not want to do so. nor go through the ferris wheel of change all over again. There’s even the possibility he’s faced with another potential deadline move, and we don’t think Giroux wants any more goodbyes other than when he retires.
Yet, despite all this, Giroux was and somewhat still is the Flyers. We’ve had to cope without Giroux now for a few months and it still doesn’t feel real. Him coming back would feel natural, and his leadership would be appreciated on a team that will be re-tooling for the second year in a row.
There are more than just “being good at hockey” reasons to want Giroux back as well. Given he is now an older player, his next contract will almost certainly be a cheaper one than his current $8.275 million dollar AAV. If Giroux is even close to how good he has been in recent seasons, it will be a steal of a contract.
The “C” will be waiting for you Claude. Come and take it.
Door Two: Giroux re-signs with Florida or goes elsewhere
To start things off, the Flyers are projected to currently have $5,118,560 left of cap space. Even if Giroux signed for half his current AAV, around $4.0 million, they would still be relying on moving a player like James van Riemsdyk to make any major moves other than bringing Giroux back
However, and perhaps most prominently, is the fact the Flyers have already moved on from Giroux, in every sense of that word. He is and will forever be a part of Flyers history, that much is certain. However, given all the tributes to Giroux the Flyers gave, it really did feel like a final goodbye. Especially given that the Flyers are looking to “re-tool” once again, it feels unlikely re-treading with Giroux is even on their minds.
All of the above doesn’t even take into account that Giroux may just re-sign with Florida. By all accounts, he likes being there, and given that the Panthers will be competitive for a good half-decade at least, it would be smart to stay put (yes, even despite the clubbing fiasco).
Given Giroux went to Florida to chase the Cup, he could even sign elsewhere, like say, Colorado, if he really wanted to (even though it feels like the most likely result is staying in Florida).
All of this hints that Giroux coming back wouldn’t be the smart thing to do, especially if the Flyers aren’t going to be winners in the near future (a very real possibility).
But then, there’s…
Door Three: Giroux retired
This…could happen? It is perhaps a bit unlikely, but there is a non-zero percent chance of Giroux hanging up the skates.
Do we think it will happen, however? No.
With all this being said, do you want Giroux back if there’s a chance? Vote below, we’re curious to find out…