The Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche remain the top contenders for Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, but no trade was imminent as of this afternoon, according to an NHL source.
The source said the Flyers were “not close” to a deal with Florida, but acknowledged things can change quickly.
“Things will heat up on Sunday,” he said. “Right now, teams are just positioning themselves” for deals.
The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m.
Florida doesn’t have a No. 1 draft pick until 2024, and the Panthers are reluctant to give up that selection — at least at the moment.
Right winger Owen Tippett, who has played for both the Panthers and the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this season, has been discussed by the Flyers and Florida. But from the Flyers’ perspective, if he is considered the centerpiece of the deal, it’s not attractive enough.
Tippett has 18 points in 12 games with Charlotte this season; he had 14 points in 42 games with Florida this year.
Denisenko (15th overall in 2018) and Samoskevich (24th overall last year) are both former first-round selections. Samoskevich has had a quality freshman season at the University of Michigan, collecting 26 points in 36 games.
According to prospects expert Russ Cohen, Denisenko has more upside than Tippett.
Tippett played on Florida’s second line a lot last season, and in the playoffs alongside Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Bennett. This year, he was on the second, third, and fourth lines before being sent down to Charlotte in the AHL, where the Flyers scouted him numerous times. (Huberdeau is an MVP candidate this season.)
Avs still in it
Some unconfirmed reports said Colorado had offered promising defenseman Justin Barron and its first-round draft pick in 2023 for Giroux.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Barron, 20, was a first-round selection in the 2020 draft (25th overall). He has spent most of the season with the Avs’ AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. In 41 games, he has 20 points (five goals, 15 assists), and a plus-12 rating.
Adrian Dater, one of my colleagues, said in his Colorado Hockey Now story that the Avs have made an offer to the Flyers.
The New York Rangers have been scouting most games at the Wells Fargo Center recently and could be a darkhorse candidate. Ditto Washington, St. Louis and Minnesota.
But Giroux, who took a tearful victory lap around the ice after Thursday’s win over Nashville, holds all the cards and can pick where he wants to go.
Giroux did not make the trip to Ottawa to play in Friday’s game because the Flyers don’t want to risk him getting injured.
In parts of 15 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Giroux played in 1,000 games, collected 900 points, and established himself among the leaders in most franchise categories.
All that is missing is a Stanley Cup.