Why The Flyers Must Consider Extending Claude Giroux

Flyers' Claude Giroux
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 18: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Claude Giroux (28) celebrates a goal in the first period during the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers on November 18, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

One of the most polarizing topics surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers is what to do with Claude Giroux. Some want to free cap space and trade for a different superstar. Others recognize Giroux’s consistent contributions and want him to finish on the Flyers.

What’s undisputed is that he’s playing for arbitration in a sense. He may not be scribbling a figure to negotiate terms with Chuck Fletcher during the season, but he’s making a case for Philadelphia to extend his contract. Agreeing to a team-friendly average annual value isn’t unreasonable, especially with how badly Giroux wants to win with this organization. It makes more sense than going to the Ottawa Senators, a team ranking in the bottom five of the NHL.

“I’m not worried about that right now. I’m just worried about games coming up. I got a lot of confidence in this group.”

Claude Giroux; 12/3/2021 – The Inquirer

The question regarding Giroux’s future is more of a “how much, how long?” Not a “where to, for what?”

Not including Giroux during the retooling of the Flyers would be a miscalculation of team chemistry and mentorship.

CC: Claude and Cam

These two continue to thrive together. Claude Giroux wanted to play with Cam Atkinson for a while now. It’s poetic that Jakub Voracek, opposite of Giroux on the top line with the Philadelphia Flyers, was dealt back to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Atkinson, a scorer who fits as conveniently.

“I saw a player where he works, he battles, he can put the puck in the net; you always think a little bit, ‘Oh, I would like to play with him.”

Claude Giroux; 11/1/2021

Chuck Fletcher received Atkinson, one-for-one, by sending Voracek. In doing so, he alleviated $2.375mil in cap space. Giroux currently earns $8.275mil per season. A pay cut to ~$7mil per season would do wonders for the Flyers. Fletcher could afford to keep Giroux with Atkinson, make an offer to Morgan Frost, then wait out the remainder of James van Riemsdyk’s contract.

A retooling process wouldn’t truly take form until after 2022-2023. Fletcher could surprise us at the trade deadline to gain an extra draft pick or two. Philadelphia doesn’t have a 2022 second-round pick. A trade for draft capital between rounds four to seven makes sense but shouldn’t alleviate credible cap space.

Progress is making the postseason in 2021-2022, followed by a consecutive playoff berth. Once James van Riemsdyk is off the payroll, the Flyers can aggressively add talent to compete in 2023-2024 under a minimally increasing flat cap.

Through 2024-2025, Atkinson and Giroux could spread scoring throughout the lineup, especially on the second line.

Guiding Frost

Dating back to 2019-2020, Morgan Frost and Claude Giroux display undeniable chemistry. Frost provides a spark on special teams. Giroux has his fingerprints on 54.5% of scoring plays that include Frost. Broken down, that includes five even-strength and one shorthanded scoring play.

There isn’t any denying what this duo can become, especially when they share a line with Cam Atkinson.

Under Mike Yeo, Frost is branching out to LW. He’s becoming more reminiscent of Giroux but in reverse order. Giroux began as the superstar C before embracing the playmaker role at LW. Frost could allow Giroux back to 2C while remaining an understudy. The current captain serves as a fountain of knowledge to top prospects like Frost.

“I think the thing for me is to just focus on some of the little details and hopefully the offense will come. I am just trying to focus on being a 200 ft player and the details that the coaches share with us before practice. I think I can do some things offensively, but if I can contribute in other ways it will give me a better chance to make the team.”

Morgan Frost; 07/01/2021

When 2024-2025 is through, Frost could very well be a crucial element of the future Philadelphia Flyers core. Extending Giroux for around three more seasons could be best for business.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire