Another day, another serious Claude Giroux suitor. The list is getting longer.
The Florida Panthers’ interest in the Philadelphia Flyers’ captain is growing, according to a well-placed NHL source.
Giroux, 34, is expected to waive his no-movement clause and be dealt by the March 21 trade deadline.
In 52 games this season, Giroux has 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) for the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that is at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings. He was named the MVP of the All-Star tournament.
And, yes, he would like a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Florida (37-13-5) is a strong contender as it has the fourth-most points in the NHL.
Giroux has struggled lately, and interim coach Mike Yeo believes he is pressing because of all the trade speculation. He has just two points (goal, assist) over his last six games, and is minus-6 in that span.
“I think we can all see that it’s probably weighing on him,” Yeo said the other day. “It’s hard to remember sometimes that they’re human beings. You look at G, and this is not your average player who has been with an organization for three or four years and might potentially get traded. We’re talking about (him) growing up in this organization and this town — and a guy who has really given a lot, so this is a really difficult time for him, no question.
“As difficult as it is, we need him to go out and do what he does, and I’m real confident he will,” Yeo added before Saturday’s 4-3 win over Chicago. “It’s a bit of a distraction, I would say, for everybody.”
Besides Florida, many other teams are in the hunt for Giroux, including Colorado, Carolina, St. Louis and Minnesota.
The Philadelphia Flyers sent heavy hitters, including general manager Chuck Fletcher and his special assistant, Danny Briere, to watch Florida’s AHL Charlotte team face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last weekend.
Florida doesn’t have a No. 1 draft pick this year, so the Flyers would probably seek a first-rounder in 2023, left winger Grigori Denisenko, and defenseman Lucas Carlsson, according to Russ Cohen, prospect expert for SiriusXM NHL Network Radio and sportsology.com.
Right winger Owen Tippett, he said, is another possibility.
Here is a look at the players, along with Cohen’s comments:
Carlsson (6-foot, 189 pounds): A fourth-round selection by Chicago in 2016, the 24-year-old defenseman has nine points in 32 games with Florida this season. The Sweden native is a lefthanded shooter.
“I don’t think he’s a top-four (defenseman), but he’s solid, he blocks shots, he moves the puck,” Cohen said. “He’s already playing in the NHL, and you’d plug him in for (Keith) Yandle and you would have upgraded your defense.”
Denisenko (5-11, 186): He was a first-round selection (15th overall) in 2018. “He has tremendous skating ability. He’s only 21 and he needs to get better defensively and get stronger,” Cohen said. “These are things Florida has sort of been waiting on. The Flyers would be getting him at the right time, because this is a guy with high-scoring capability. He did it at the junior level. He hasn’t really shown it at the pro level” — although he had nine goals and 18 points in 30 games with AHL Charlotte before getting injured this season — “but he really can make plays with his speed, and he has a great shot and instincts.”
Tippett (6-1, 207): He had 14 points in 42 games with Florida this season and is now in the AHL. Denisenko has more upside than Tippett, per Cohen. Tippett is an average skater and has a great shot, but he “doesn’t get the space (in the NHL) that he had at the junior level to get that shot off. Denisenko has greater stickhandling ability and deking ability. That’s a guy you want.”
The 23-year-old Tippett, Florida’s first-round pick (10th overall) in 2017, has 10 points (2-8) in eight games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this season. He has 14 goals in 94 career NHL games despite not seeing an extensive amount of ice time.
The Philadelphia Flyers (17-28-10) will host Vegas (32-21-4) on Tuesday and end their eight-game homestand, the longest in franchise history. Philly is 2-4-1 on the homestand. … The Flyers scored a 4-3 win in Vegas on Dec. 10 as they got goals from Kevin Hayes, Max Willman, Sean Couturier, and James van Riemsdyk. Carter Hart stopped 41 of 44 shots. … On Tuesday, Jack Eichel will make his first appearance against the Flyers this season. He scored with 5.2 seconds left Sunday to give the Golden Knights a 2-1 win over Ottawa. … Flyers center Patrick Brown will face his former Vegas teammates Tuesday.