Reports from earlier today suggested that the Flyers were getting very close to wrapping up a long-term extension with their captain and their best player, Claude Giroux. Reports are now suggesting that the deal is just about wrapped up. (UPDATE: The Flyers confirmed and announced the contract on Friday morning.)
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that the deal is finalized, at a number right around where we were expecting:
An update on Giroux deal I tweeted about earlier today... It's finalized now: 8 years, $66.2 M _ $8.275 M AAV. Includes full NMC— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 5, 2013
Eight years, sixty-six point two million dollars (and a full no-move clause that will kick in when he turns 27) for the guy who now figures to be this team's captain for the next decade. $8,275,000 per year against the cap. That is indeed a large sum of money, and one that'll loom large on the Flyers' cap for eight years beginning next summer (the deal will begin in the 2014-15 season).
But given the way superstar players are going to get paid under the new collective bargaining agreement -- now that long-term deals with fake years at the end aren't allowed -- it's what it'll cost to re-sign a player of Giroux's caliber.
And it's worth it, too. In an offseason where he's coming off of a "down year", Giroux just wrapped up a point-per-game season for the Flyers, despite everything else that went wrong with this team in 2013. This contract begins when he's 26 and will cover most of the rest of his prime, and Paul Holmgren and company have locked him up at a rate that's assuredly less than he'd make on the open market if he ever reached it.
He's probably not the best player in the world, but here's the reality about Claude Giroux: he's a point-per-game-plus center who can log huge minutes in all situations, play good defense, and provide leadership for this team. That's a skillset worth a lot of money in this league. We've got a really, really good player on our hands here, folks, and he'll be here for at least the next nine seasons.