Amidst the normal chaos that is a Philadelphia Flyers season, the looming presence of a future contract negotiation or a future franchise-altering trade is seeping into every result. Captain Claude Giroux is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer for the first time in his lengthy career, and with every loss that might become more of a reality, but with every rare win, the desire to keep him around grows.
This debate will last all the way up until the Mar. 21 trade deadline and possibly beyond that into the off-season, but right now, Giroux is solely focused on what is directly in front of him.
“I’m not worried about that right now,” Giroux said on Friday when asked whether the Flyers’ current eight-game losing streak is having an effect on his future decision. “I’m worried about the games coming up. And, you know, we’re in a hole right now—thinking about that stuff is not going to help the team get out of this. I still have a lot of confidence in this group. I really believe that if we win one here, we might win a few in a row. Confidence is a big part of it right now.”
Of course Giroux would not come out in December and state that the way this team is playing makes him want to sprint out of the state to play for a better hockey club, but it is yet again his position as a leader on this team shining through. Thinking about the team first and how they can get out of this difficult spot that they are currently in; but also shining a light on the more positive aspect of this weird sport. Just a couple lucky bounces and a handful of points in the standings can change the outlook and general feeling about the future of any team.
“Sometimes you can have a bad game, but you have that one play and the puck finds its way to the back of the net, and for some reason your confidence is back,” Giroux said.
“It’s funny how it works. Right now we’re not scoring goals, goalies are playing great for us, so we just have to score goals and, like I said, when we start winning one, we can win a few in a row here. Right now it’s all about confidence and actually believing that we’re a good team.”
That last sentence must have been extremely hard to say without either bursting a gut laughing or saying it through gritted teeth.
Giroux has a full No-Move Clause on his contract, so he will be the ultimate decider of what happens before the deadline—should he re-commit to a team that certainly has good players, but always finds a way to have problems winning games for some reason? Or should he find solitude making a monumental championship run with a better team, and potentially re-upping with that team, since they are, you know, better?
We will eventually find out what the outcome of all of this is, but right now, there’s still some hockey games to be played.