It became clear Wednesday that the Philadelphia Flyers are hoping they can trade All-Star forward Claude Giroux, a franchise icon who would bring a big haul if he is dealt before the March 21 deadline.
Giroux, 34, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July, leads the going-nowhere Flyers in points (34) and is tied with Cam Atkinson with a team-high 15 goals.
He has a no-movement clause in his contract and would have to waive it in order to be dealt.
In a news conference Wednesday in Voorhees, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he has had talks with Giroux’s agent, Pat Brisson.
“We will continue to have conversations, and ultimately, a decision will have to be made one way or the other. It’ll be Claude’s decision” on whether he is agreeable to a trade, Fletcher said.
How much would the Flyers get in return for Giroux, who is on a 29-goal pace?
Well, they will get a lot if if Nick Foligno, who was one of the faces of Columbus’ franchise for nearly a decade, is used as a comparison.
Just before last year’s trade deadline, Columbus dealt its long-time captain to Toronto for a first-round pick in 2021 and fourth-rounder in 2022, and the Blue Jackets retained 50% of Foligno’s $5.5 million cap hit. (San Jose was peripherally a part of the three-way deal.)
At the time, Foligno was 33 and a pending UFA, and he had just 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 42 games.
Giroux is have a much better season and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Dave Scott on Fletcher: "Chuck made some smart moves. I think we put a really strong roster together. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out for us. If you would ask me what our No. 1 challenge is today, it's injuries. It's not an excuse, but it's our reality." #Flyers
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 26, 2022
“Bob Clarke is probably the best player in franchise history,” Fletcher said. “Once we get beyond Clarke, there’s been some great players. Billy Barber, Bernie Parent, (Eric) Lindros, Simon Gagne, Brian Propp. You can go on and on. … And Eric Desjardins. I shouldn’t forget him. And I think Claude is certainly right in that group. He’s one of the best Flyers to ever play. He’s our captain; he’s been our best player this year. Nobody cares more about the Flyers than he does.
“I think we have to realize what we’re dealing with here,” Fletcher added. “He’s a franchise icon. His jersey’s going to be in the rafters. To me, he’s a Hall of Fame player.”
If Giroux is dealt, he probably will have some teammates on the move as well.
“Everything’s on the table,” Fletcher said. “We;re going to try and aggressively retool here.”
If Giroux was traded, there’s always a chance he could re-sign with Philly as a free agent in the summer.