Things have not been going according to plan for the Philadelphia Flyers through 35 games. They are currently two games below.500, five points behind second wild-card spot and have played four more games than Boston Bruins. They have plenty of time to make a comeback but it is not enough to move in the right direction.
This has us looking at who may be the top rental of this season’s trade deadline, Claude Giroux. He’s played 975 regular-season games without a Stanley Cup, so the Flyers should give him the opportunity this season to chase that and allow them to bring assets back. He’s set to become a free agent this summer anyways, so the Flyers and Giroux can always talk numbers before he’s traded or in the offseason to bring him back.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the topic with Jeff Marek at The Jeff Marek Show. Chances of Giroux being tradedBefore the trade deadline. He said, “I would bet that Claude Giroux gets traded. I just think they have to figure out between him and them, where he’s gonna go.”
Giroux has a no move clause at the moment, so any trades would need to be through him. He turns 34 in three days, so he’s not getting any younger, and not many more opportunities to chase a Cup will come around. He will likely agree to play for a contender, and then he’ll likely return to Philadelphia as a free agent. This would give him another chance, and the Flyers will be better positioned to retool for next season.
Related: Flyers could use John Klingberg as a QB for the PP, and to fill in for Ellis
Here are three possible contenders Giroux could consider before the trade deadline.
The Minnesota Wild are without a true top-of-the-line centre. Their depth is a questionable. This could be their downfall in the playoffs against Western Conference teams with a well-equipped middle. Giroux, a veteran who has won Selke Trophy votes over the years, can help stabilize their team and provide them with another offensive weapon.
Joel Eriksson Ek has a great game. However, Giroux could play the wing in top-six and exchange, which would make matchups much more interesting. I say that due to the performance Ryan Hartman has put on this season, but he could also slide down to a third-line centre role and outmatch the opponents’ third lines.
Giroux will bring his experience and leadership to a group of veterans who are already well-rounded. They are confident in their defense and will likely add a forward before the deadline.
Of course, they will have to move some money around, but I’m sure the Flyers would be willing to retain money to get assets back. I believe Giroux will be at least a first round pick, and possibly a prospect. It’s a good thing Minnesota has held on to all of their draft picks.
A big hole left in the offseason that the Boston Bruins did not address was their second-line centre position. Instead of replacing David Krejci, the Boston Bruins decided that Charlie Coyle could fill that void. Coyle isn’t a bad centreman, but he’d be much better suited in the third hole like last season.
This is why Giroux’s acquisition is so important. This season’s high-end centre market will be very thin, meaning teams will have to compete for fewer players. With Tuukka Rask back, the Bruins are well-stocked in net. The focus now shifts to centre and defense, which is where they must address both. It is now up to you to decide who is available at what price. The core of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Rask isn’t getting any younger, so all in would be the best, even if it’s just for a rental like Giroux could change the whole complexion of your team.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are going to make a splash before the trade deadline; it’s just a matter of how big (“Rangers May Look to Add Forward On Expiring Deal Ahead, NHL Trade Talk, Nov. 25, 2021). They have plenty of cap space and are tied at the top of the Metropolitan Division with Carolina Hurricanes. They have been legitimate contenders for this season’s Stanley Cup in a difficult division and should make the most of the prospects and picks they have to trade.
Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad are two of the Rangers’ best centremen. Strome can play the wing as well. The benefit of acquiring Giroux was that he can also play on the wing. Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider are the left wingers of the top-six. Strome can then slide over to the right wing and Giroux will come in and center one of the lines.
Rangers could ease the pressure on their forwards by adding a veteran that is capable of being defensively responsible. The time to buy big on rentals is now, as they won’t have to pay that extra little bit for the Flyers to retain salary.
Each team has to strengthen their top-six forwards before the trade deadline. They all look like contenders. It doesn’t matter how they get in, only that they do, and Giroux can help with the battle ahead.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance journalist who covers mainly the Philadelphia Flyers as well as the Edmonton Oilers. He provides all the information you need about fantasy hockey. He will keep you informed about the NHL Stat Corner, trade discussions and other news from the NHL.
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