I don’t believe that there’s anyone besides Alexandre Daigle that’s ever picked up a hockey stick and didn’t dream of one day holding the Stanley Cup over their head in celebration of winning an NHL Championship. It’s something that millions of young men dream of daily, and very few get a chance to actually compete for, even less winning the trophy.
Claude Giroux is one of those lucky ones. He’s been in the league since a two-game stint during the 2007-08 season. He’s been the captain of the Flyers since January of 2013, the longest-tenured Flyer to have held the distinction.
Giroux has been everything that the Flyers could want during his career in Philadelphia, and he’s been one of the top players in the league over the course of his career. He bleeds orange and black and loves the city of Philadelphia, the fans, and the team.
Looking at it like that, you would think that Giroux should remain a Flyer for the remainder of his career. It’s not so. It’s time for the Flyers to send Giroux to a title contender. While the Florida Panthers have been playing their hearts out and are at the top of the league with 61 points this season, they’re also tied with two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Panthers have been the best team in the league, the Lightning know what it takes to win a title, and the Flyers have had a good relationship with the team.
Send Claude Giroux to the Lightning. Don’t try to take advantage of the team. Take back some prospects and maybe, a good young player. But, don’t hold them to paying a premium like they’re getting one of the top forwards of the past ten years, like Claude Giroux.
Look at the top point producers since the 2010 season. The list is amazing.
The only difference in any of the top players on that list is that Giroux doesn’t have any Stanley Cup victories next to his name. Ovechkin has one. Stamkos has the past two and is on a fast track toward number three this season. Crosby and Kane each have three to their names.
The Flyers, as an organization, have done nothing for Giroux. I don’t want to hear about Hartnell, Simmonds, Voracek, etc. The team hasn’t ever really provided him with quality defense, nor, up until this season, have they had anyone that they didn’t trade away (Bobrovsky) who was worth a damn in the net. They’re not doing Carter Hart any favors this year and, despite his record, he’s having a fantastic year.
The team has been so poorly mismanaged over the course of Giroux’s career that they’ve only finished in the top ten in the league twice over the past ten seasons. They’ve failed to develop top prospects, they’ve tailed to secure quality defenders, and they’ve for sure never seen a mediocre goalie that they didn’t like.
Giroux has given his all to the team for his whole career. There are two plays in the past 15 years that Flyers fans can look back on and remember how amazing they were.
May 14, 2010
The Flyers are playing the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Mike Richards is a man on a mission during “the shift” and after a clearing pass and collision with the Canadiens goalie, Richards gets up and backhands the puck into the net. Do you know who passed him the puck? Claude Giroux, working deep in the defensive zone corner and trying to clear the zone, put Richards out on his break.
April 22, 2012
Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the hated Pittsburgh Penguins. Giroux, famously, told coach Peter Laviolette that he wanted to be on the ice to open the game. He started off by absolutely destroying Sidney Crosby with a solid check at the Penguins’ blue line. Just a moment later, Jaromir Jagr would be fighting for the puck in the Penguins zone when it was tipped away by the defenseman. Giroux was right there to scoop it up, curl towards the center lane and fire a goal past the Penguins goaltender. I don’t even care enough to look up who that was; it was such an amazing goal I can watch it over and over in my head.
They are the two biggest plays in the recent Flyers history, and Giroux is involved in them both. He’s given everything to the team. It’s time that they give him what’s owed. A chance to compete, really compete, for a Stanley Cup. Ever Since Bobby Clarke botched his name at the 2006 NHL draft, the team has done nothing for him.
It would pain every single fan of the team to see Giroux skating on the ice, wearing a different uniform during the playoffs but, the Flyers have no chance of making the playoffs, and there’s an even slimmer chance they could win the Stanley Cup. Giroux is set to become a free agent this summer. Hell, he could go to Tampa Bay, win a championship and then re-sign with the Flyers in the offseason. Giroux would easily put the Lightning over the top on the odds to win the title this year.
It’s only fair to give the man a chance that every hockey player dreams of, and that’s playing for the Lord Stanley Cup. The Flyers owe him that for all the mistakes they’ve made. The only thing I’m concerned about is that they’ll selfishly screw this up too and wind up trading Giroux to a team like the Kings, Wild, or Ducks.
Here’s hoping that they get their heads out of their rear ends long enough to do the right thing.