Amidst everything happening in Flyers news nowadays, from goalie rumors to defense rumors to everything else, we haven't yet really discussed the one thing that's a virtual certainty to happen at some point this offseason: Claude Giroux getting a new contract extension.
Giroux, one of the best players in the league, is due up for a new deal after this upcoming season, and there's about a zero percent chance that the Flyers are going to let July 1, 2014 come around without already having re-signed their captain and best player. The Flyers can sign him as soon as we hit noon on July 5 of this summer, and negotiations on that front
are probably already underway, or will be soon. have begun, as per TSN's Darren Dreger on Friday afternoon.
We talked about this back in March, when John Boruk of CSN Philly reported that Giroux was likely to get an eight-year deal (the maximum allowed under the new CBA) worth approximately $71-72 million. Here's what we wrote:
Despite a step back this season -- the whole team has taken a step back this season, so I don't see this season an indictment on his potential or his captaincy or anything -- Giroux is still one of the best players in the NHL. He's elite. He is still growing into his potential and when all is said and done, I'd put pretty good odds on him being one of the best players to ever pull on a Flyers sweater. And he will get paid as such.
Just in case we weren't thinking about that already, a lot of Flyers fans were probably wondering this morning after Evgeni Malkin signed an eight-year, $76 million contract with the Penguins. Now, Malkin is undeniably one of the two-four best players in the world, so his annual value of $9.5 million against the cap is probably more of an aspiration point than something that Giroux will realistically expect to make. Regardless, that contract, along with the max deals signed by Corey Perry (who's now making $8.625 million against the cap per year) and Ryan Getzlaf ($8.25 million) in Anaheim last March, are likely the main points of comparison that Giroux and agent Pat Brisson will use in negotiations.
I know -- something north of $8 million seems like a lot given what most stars in the NHL are making nowadays. Anaheim got laughed at by a lot of people when they signed those two contracts because of how ridiculous they sounded at the time. Before those deals, the only players making that much against the cap were Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Eric Staal.
But that's the nature of this new CBA. I'm sure the Flyers would love to sign Claude Giroux to a 14-year deal where the last few years are basically free years, in order to lower his cap hit to somewhere in the $7-million-or-so range, but that's not allowed any more. No more Ilya Kovalchuk or Marian Hossa or Chris Pronger contracts are getting signed. Giroux's next contract will start when he's 26 and end when he's 34 -- that's the tail end of the prime of his career, and he's going to want to get paid for it.
Out of curiosity, though, how does he stack up to those other three guys? (Values under year columns stand for points per game.)
|'07-'08||'08-'09||'09-'10||'10-'11||'11-'12||'12-13||Career PPG||Games Missed w/Injury Since '09||AAV on next deal||Years (in age) covered in next deal||UFA years covered in next deal|
Now these aren't the ONLY points of comparison, but given the new CBA these are the most relevant ones. All of them had a bit longer of a track record of elite production than Giroux does, though that also means the Flyers are getting more of Giroux's prime years on this deal than those other teams were (i.e. Claude Giroux at 27 is worth more than Ryan Getzlaf at 35). Those will probably be the cruxes of the arguments used by Paul Holmgren and Brisson, respectively, to try and keep that cap number down/up.
But even if we don't know exactly where the annual value of Claude Giroux's next deal will be, the point remains that it's almost certainly going to be a number above $8 million per year and maybe even closer to $9 million. That's the nature of signing superstar players under this new CBA, and it's worth it for the Flyers to get their elite center under contract for the remainder of his dominant years.
And that's something the Flyers are probably keeping in mind as they go about this summer. Any more long-term money they add to the cap for 2014-15 and beyond -- whether it's giving Mark Streit $5 million for multiple years or getting another expensive defenseman or a goalie or what-have-you -- needs to be added with the knowledge that their elite center is going to be taking up a lot more of their cap room than he was before. Couple that with extensions that are coming for Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier as well, and it going to take some shrewd maneuvering from Holmgren to make it all work.