As was reported informally by Elliotte Friedman on his ’32 Thoughts’ podcast, and in his column of the same name, there is league interest in acquiring Claude Giroux from the Flyers.
“During All-Star, expect Claude Giroux to sit down with his agent (Pat Brisson) to discuss his future. I think there are Avalanche players who’d love to have him. The question is if the organization decides that’s the move they need to make. The right-hand shot makes sense. But it won’t be easy for Colorado to fit. That means the possibility of a third team, which raises the asset cost. There’s still time for it to play out, and Giroux has control.”
Obviously, where teams will struggle in making this move a reality comes with both Giroux’s cap hit, and the assets the Flyers will demand in return for their captain.
The Avalanche have been the most discussed destination for Giroux, given the fit for a right-handed shot and Colorado’s status as one of the best teams in hockey. Obviously, it will be up to Giroux whether or not he does move on. However, if that conversation with his agent leads to a determination that he wants to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere, it could end up looking something like this.
As discussed, the Colorado Avalanche make sense for Giroux. He could provide a weapon with his right handed shot, and could slide in alongside Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the Avs top line (oh now that is scary), and though this could potentially push Gabriel Landeskog down the lineup, the depth the Avalanche would have with this move would border on 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings level of scary.
As for the price of such a move, it should be a hefty one. We already touched on this previously, and this determination hasn’t changed in our opinion:
“A first-round pick, high-level prospect, and possibly another piece would likely be Chuck Fletcher’s ask.”
The Avalanche, given their position, should be more than willing to trade a first round pick that will be a very late first round pick. Additionally, given their abundance of young talent, losing one high level prospect won’t put too much of a dent in Colorado’s farm system.
However, given the Avalanche’s lack of cap space, that last piece would likely need to be a current roster player. Assuming the Flyers would be willing to keep 50% of his cap hit (leaving Giroux at around a $4.0 million hit), the Avalanche would still need to clear space for him.
The only player on Colorado’s roster who wouldn’t be a rental who the Flyers may wish to trade for, given their likely rebuild, would be Devon Toews. This would be risky for Colorado given they would be trading a defenseman for a forward, but simply put, it doesn’t appear likely the Flyers would do that same deal for Nazem Kadri.
Another option for a trade partner could be the Tampa Bay Lightning. Especially as they will get Nikita Kucherov back in the fray after his stay on the COVID protocol, adding Giroux would bolster an equally deep Lightning squad, though Giroux likely isn’t being placed on the top line in Tampa.
The cap situation in Tampa is even more tenuous than Colorado, but they do have more viable pieces to trade at the NHL level. Especially if the Flyers eat 50% of Giroux’s salary, and are willing to take on the contract of a player such as Alex Killorn with a similar cap hit, they could perhaps receive more assets from Tampa as the result of a trade.
Giroux is a certain upgrade over Killorn, undoubtedly, and for such an upgrade, more prospects or draft picks could be garnered from Tampa as a result.
It is also possible that the likes of the Florida Panthers could be in a position to benefit from a Claude Giroux trade. However, at least in our eyes, the Panthers have less prospects who would excite in the event the Flyers trade for them, as well as less exciting NHL ready players already in their system. When comparing the likes of Colorado and Tampa to Florida, it becomes apparent they are not as good a fit as the former.