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‘Long time left’: Giroux still focused on Flyers as trade rumors swirl

Of course, he still has hope.

2022 NHL All-Star Skills Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

What else is he supposed to say? That he wants out of this organization almost immediately and there’s no hope to even pay attention to the team for the second half? Well, maybe that’s what we’re all thinking, but the captain isn’t going to let one of those words slip out of his mouth anytime soon.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux was at center stage for NHL All-Star Weekend, and it only brought more attention to his uncertain future as the 34-year-old was awarded MVP and put on a clinic in front of the national audience. Maybe it was on purpose to be a look what I can still do performance, or he just enjoyed being among his elite peers.

The pending free agent is no doubt going to get a lot of suitors before the March 21 trade deadline, as he is certainly one of the best talents in the last decade or so to reach this point and become a rental for a contender.

But before all the trade rumors and anonymous Twitter accounts get their spotlight in the next six weeks, Giroux still has some hope for the Flyers season and puts a lot of the blame on the terrible injury luck this team has gone through the last few months.

“Long time left. That’s all I have to tell you right now,” Giroux told media during All-Star Weekend. “There’s a lot of hockey left. I know the playoffs, for us, it’s going to be a long-shot where we’re at, but I’ve seen crazier things.

“For us, it’s to keep getting better as a team and just keep racking up the wins as we get bodies back healthy — guys like Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes and (Joel) Farabee, hopefully Ryan Ellis. If those guys all come back, hopefully we can get back on track.”

I mean, he’s not wrong. If all four of those players were fully healthy for the entire first half of the season, we might be looking at a list of potential rental players instead of looking to sell off whoever isn’t stapled down to The Farg’s floor or has an immovable cap hit. Unfortunately, it’s a big question whether or not the majority of those players even suit up for the Flyers again this season, and even if some players do make a comeback, it will probably be later and after Giroux and GM Chuck Fletcher make their collective decision to ship out the franchise legend off to another team.

Apparently, one of those teams might be the Colorado Avalanche, who has reportedly targetted the hard-working captain — but truly what Cup-contending team wouldn’t want Giroux on their roster?

One member of the Tampa Bay Lightning sure would.

“It’ll be certainly interesting to see what transpires here with him and the trade deadline and all of the rumors and stuff,” Steven Stamkos said. “Obviously I would love to see him get a chance to win, but he’s also a proud guy that I know loves being the captain and wearing that jersey in Philly. So we’ll see what happens.”

We are nowhere near the phase of Fletcher asking Giroux for the list of teams he would waive his No-Move Clause to go to, so many things can certainly still happen in the coming weeks — but let’s not get crazy here and think that he will be staying here for much longer the way the team is going with uncertainty in every position but Giroux’s.

At the All-Star break, the Flyers are sitting 17 points out of a playoff spot, and only the disasters known as the Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, and Montreal Canadiens, have worse goal differentials in the entire league — if you’re in the same realm as those teams, then maybe the whole “you never know” thing can be just something to say to not show any quit for your new employers.

Yeah, yeah Claude, we know you love to compete. We’ll miss you.