Claude Giroux’s contract is on the mind of every single Philadelphia Flyers fan and staff member as they head into an all-important season to show that last year’s tumble down the standings was a fluke. It is the final year of the captain’s eight-year contract extension signed way back in 2013.
And while the contract talk between Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher and Giroux will be had a later date, letting this season play out to determine where to go from here with one of the franchise’s most beloved stars.
The general feeling is not a matter of if they are going to sign him, but for how long and how much. Especially considering just how damn respected he is around his locker room and even players that have only caught glimpses of him against them.
Case in point, new free agent signee Derick Brassard couldn’t sing Claude’s praises enough when given the chance to.
“Obviously he’s got the world-class talent in him, but for me, I think he’s one of the best competitors around,” Brassard said Saturday. “Whether it’s on the ice, outside the ice, I think that guy’s a gamer. That’s what you want as your captain, as your leader of your team. He’s been doing it for so many years; it’s pretty impressive what he has done.
“That’s another guy I’m pretty excited to play with. I feel his energy, he always wants to get better, he’s 33. We’re almost the same age. He’s got some good hockey left in him, he’s up there as one of the best players in the last few years in the league, so I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
Brassard has had enough time with divisional rivals — six years with the Columbus Blue Jackets, four with the New York Rangers, two as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even one with the disgusting New York Islanders — so he has had heaps and heaps of experience facing Giroux and most likely being frustrated as shit when he scores against his team.
A journeyman like that can easily acknowledge the players that often play above them in any lineup, but it’s quite a bit more interesting when it’s from someone that could have been seen as a peer, and a fellow All Star.
“Playing against him for a long time, you know how competitive he is, but I didn’t realize how competitive he is — on the ice, off the ice,” new Flyers blueliner Keith Yandle said Friday. ”In the gym, he wants to get better every day, he’s pushing himself, he’s pushing everybody else around him. A guy that’s a lot of fun to be around. You can’t have a bad day around him or he’s going to make you pay. Definitely a fun guy to play with.”
Giroux made a lot of defensemen pay, but at least Yandle can breathe a sigh of relief that he’s going to most likely get some decent minutes with him wearing the same colors.
Both of these newcomers bring more experience than last year’s Flyers had in a lot of their guys. Yandle and Brassard are certainly your typical everyday players that will show up, no matter what, no matter how crap the team they play for is, and at least look better than some other dudes on the ice.
Not even just on the ice, but they’re ability to lead off of it has been duly noted by most and certainly by their new captain that they love so much.
“Anytime you bring guys with experience, whether they have an ‘A’ or not, it doesn’t matter, you bring leadership,” Giroux said. “The leadership group got a little bit bigger. You can’t have too many leaders in one team. I think the important thing is to make sure that we get all on the same page and there’s only one message out there. I think that’s one thing that we’re going to have to work on.”
Will it be too many cooks in the kitchen, or beneficial to have some strong and established voices in the room? It will certainly be determined — or not, because you know, we’re not there — throughout the season. And that season begins on with their first preseason match on Sept. 28 against the Islanders.
This is either going to work out perfectly or be a disaster. It’s Philadelphia.