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NHL Free Agency: Former Flyers captain Claude Giroux signs with Ottawa Senators

Captain Claude is headed to Ottawa, which is kind of near his hometown of Hearst, Ontario, but not really.

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Former Flyers captain Claude Giroux has a new home — again.

The Ottawa Senators signed Giroux to a three-year contract on the first day of the NHL’s free agent signing period. Giroux’s contract carries an average annual value of $6.5 million. The Senators made the signing official Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re thrilled to add a player of Claude’s calibre to our lineup,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion in a release. “He’s an elite offensive talent with exceptional face-off prowess and a player who maintains a strong work ethic. His leadership skills are arguably among his best assets. We’ve set out to bolster our roster this off-season and this addition is another important component in helping us achieve that. We’re very happy to welcome Claude and his family home to Ottawa.”

The Flyers shipped Giroux to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Owen Tippett and draft picks at the trade deadline. After the Panthers’ offense sputtered in the postseason, many were hoping Giroux would re-sign with Florida and make another run at winning the Stanley Cup. But with Giroux growing up in Hearst, Ontario, which is (kind of, but not really) near Canada’s capital city, the possibility of him signing with the Senators was always very real.

The main criticism of Giroux’s decision to head to Ottawa is that the Senators don’t exactly provide him the best opportunity to win the Cup, which at this point is the only key item missing from his impressive resume. However, the Senators have been making some intriguing moves as of late.

Last week, the Senators acquired star winger Alex DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks, and Tuesday evening they nabbed goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild. With Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Thomas Chabot and Tim Stützle already in the fold, the Senators suddenly have a solid core of young players. Add Giroux, 34, to the mix and Ottawa could become a dark horse to compete for a playoff spot in the not-too-distant future — though that’s far from a guarantee given the strength of the Atlantic Division.

Flyers fans won’t have to wait long for Giroux to make his return to Philadelphia as a member of the Senators. The Flyers will host Ottawa on Saturday, November 12 at Wells Fargo Center for a 1 p.m. (ET) matinee game. The Flyers will also take on the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, November 5 — exactly one week prior to Giroux’s homecoming.

Giroux spent 15 seasons in Philadelphia, logging 291 goals and 609 assists for 900 total points in 1,000 games as a Flyer. Since 2010, only four players — Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos — have logged more points than Giroux.