As if the Philadelphia Flyers have enough to worry about with this quasi trainwreck of a season, they have some substantial contracts to hand out in the near future.
Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, their top two forwards — argue amongst yourselves about that statement — are set to be unrestricted free agents after next season and the latter will surely get a massive pay raise after taking a team-friendly deal through the prime of his career.
On the other side of this two-headed negotiation, Giroux has been carrying the burden of being a member of the Flyers for 14 years now and wants to stick around until he’s ready to call it a career.
“I think when you have a chance to play with one organization your whole career,” Giroux told the media on Monday, “it’s something to be proud of. This organization has a great reputation and since I’ve been here, they have treated me great. So, if I can, that would be great.”
With his level of production unwavering through this hellish season — Giroux has scored 13 goals and 35 points through 46 games — he certainly deserves a large portion of the team’s available cap space when that time comes. It will be difficult with the two negotiations taking place, but with someone so historically established within your organization, it’s tough to just let him walk away like it’s nothing.
Hell, he just passed Brian Propp for third in all-time Philadelphia scoring on Sunday and is just 34 points away from taking the second spot from Bill Barber. He even has his eyes on the franchise points leader Bobby Clarke and his 1210 career points with the franchise compared to Giroux’s 850.
“Like in life, you try to put goals out there, even if they’re hard to achieve,” Giroux said. “Bobby Clarke had an amazing career, Hall-of-Famer, and you know, it’s a lot of points to get there.”
Beyond the lofty goals of cementing himself as one of the all-time greats, Giroux is currently dealing with an unideal situation with how the Flyers have performed this year.
Despite just waiting around and twiddling thumbs until they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the captain believes that his team deserves to be higher in the standings and to play beyond the 56 games.
“Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating to be a part of the situation that we’re in right now,” Giroux said. “We believe that we are a playoff team, and to not even be in the race at this point of the season, is very disappointing. You know, last year we took a huge step forward and we weren’t able to get that momentum from last year and keep winning games. It’s definitely frustrating and disappointing.”
The Flyers play the New Jersey Devils in four out of their eight remaining games this season, so maybe the luck will turn around and they’ll finish just outside of the playoffs. One can dream of being just inches away from another postseason appearance — pondering about this overtime or that late equalizing goal and what could have been.
Well, at least Claude will be here.