Where do we begin?
Yesterday, the entire fanbase stomached it as Dave Scott provided us with who he thought was the Philadelphia Flyers’ core players. Every last one of them is injured. He cited Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee, and Ryan Ellis. Ellis, who dressed for four games, is the eldest (31.) Next season, Couturier and Hayes turn 30, leaving Farabee as the only future piece of this “core.”
Excluded are Ivan Provorov, Carter Hart, and Travis Konecny. Provorov played 403 straight games before landing in COVID protocol, ruining his ironman streak. Hart has kept the Flyers in games despite two double-digit losing streaks. Konecny improved his two-hundred-foot play, noticeable in any version of the lineup.
Chuck Fletcher, unsurprisingly, likes a veteran lineup. He relies on “aggressive retools” that strap the cap, as he did with the Minnesota Wild.
Philadelphia is morphing into Minnesota. Will Fletcher try to maintain Claude Giroux or trade to acquire draft picks and a budding star to complement a retool? What is the asking price for Giroux, and who will bite?
Humans are creatures of habit.
Fletcher checked a few boxes with the Wild. He helped them make the playoffs six years in a row. The Flyers haven’t in back-to-back years for over a decade. Similar to Philadelphia, Minnesota never made a deep playoff run.
Remember the Wild against the Winnipeg Jets? How would you describe the lineup iced in Minnesota? Old and injured are accurate responses that resonate with his Flyers.
Giroux isn’t injured. He’s been the best forward all season. At 34-years-old, he’s an expensive trade asset. Other teams will bite, but does Fletcher believe he can extend Giroux to a team-friendly deal? Settled in Philadelphia, Giroux could stay on a pay cut.
Many have their heart set on trading Giroux because it’s been a focal point of many conversations. Dropping the price tag to ~$7mil is reasonable, but it’s up to Giroux.
To Who and For What?
If the Flyers find a trade partner, they’ll ask for a grip to trade their franchise player. A first-round pick and a high-level prospect with a middle-six forward make sense. Which teams can make this happen? Here’s some smoke on the water:
Five days ago, these teams had scouts at the Wells Fargo Center. The Colorado Avalanche seems to be the favorite to land Giroux. The discussion on “32 Thoughts: The Podcast” with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman makes sense:
“During All-Star, expect Claude Giroux to sit down with his agent to discuss his future. I think there are Avalanche players who’d love to have him. The question is if the organization decides that’s the move they need to make. The right-hand shot makes sense. But it won’t be easy for Colorado to fit.”Elliotte Friedman; 1/25/2022
The Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and New York Islanders were upcoming opponents. It made sense for scouts to be there, indifferent from Giroux.
Another team to eliminate from that list would be the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That leaves the Vegas Golden Knights, the Avalanche, the Boston Bruins, the Florida Panthers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Ottawa Senators as options from the scouts in attendance. We’ve established Colorado as the frontrunner. The Bruins are a wildcard team, and the Devils are a point ahead of Philadelphia. A third team, which Friedman also touched on, could be included in a trade for Giroux. The Golden Knights, the Panthers, or the Senators make sense as a candidate to be that third wheel.
They do not have a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. A second-round selection and Chandler Stephenson. Salary retention will play a role. Fletcher has some pull with negotiations wherever Giroux decides because he has a superstar player who could propel a franchise to win the Stanley Cup. Another target could be William Karlsson.
They’re also without a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, and they can’t offer a second-round selection either. Fletcher could raise his asking price. Stars like Aleksander Barkov or Johnny Huberdeau are attractive. Huberdeau could work, especially since he’s due for a new deal at the end of 2022-2023. Already, I could tell that this could be the favorite landing place for Flyers fans.
Consider that if Giroux moved for the rest of his career, where he calls home plays a critical factor. It’s such a factor; he may choose to remain in Philadelphia. His hometown of Hearst is closest to Ottawa of all NHL markets. The Senators are top-heavy with selections, featuring a valuable first-round pick followed by multiple second and thirds. Package a first-round, Victor Mete, and Ridly Greig or Viktor Lodin.
Once more, they do not have a first or second-round pick. Gabriel Landeskog is the pipedream. What about a package for Alex Newhook and Drew Helleson? Trading for these two players acts as a first-round pick and a high-level prospect. Knock on the door to inquire about Landeskog first.
The Senators could be the third wheel to the Golden Knights, the Panthers, and the Avalanche. They’re all without first-round picks, which the Senators become an asset. Pending if this is a two-team or three-team trade, those targets and packages will fluctuate.
(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)