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Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers captain Claude Giroux displays the puck from his 1,000th NHL game. He is expected to be dealt soon. Photo: Zack Hill.

The countdown to Monday’s trade deadline is getting closer, and the Philadelphia Flyers are about to deal franchise icon Claude Giroux.

Florida and Colorado seem to be the two teams with the best chance to land Giroux, 34, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Giroux will not travel to Ottawa for Friday’s game, a sure sign the Flyers are about to trade him and don’t want to risk an injury. If he is still with Philly on Sunday, he won’t play in that game (vs. the visiting Islanders), either.

After the Philadelphia Flyers rallied for a 5-4 win over Nashville in Giroux’s 1,000th career game Thursday at the reverberating Wells Fargo Center, a well-placed source said Florida had not closed the deal.

“It’s not close yet, but it can happen,” the source said. “There’s another team in on him, too.”

Washington, St. Louis, Minnesota, and have also reportedly shown varying degrees of interest, and the Rangers have scouted most of the Flyers’ recent games at the Wells Fargo Center, including Thursday’s.

Emotional night

Giroux said he had never played in a more emotional game than Thursday’s. He wore his emotions on his sleeve as he took a victory lap after the game and wiped tears from his eyes as he waved his stick to the fans as they stood and clapped until their palms hurt.

It felt like both sides were saying goodbye to each other.

“Tonight,” Giroux said, “was pretty awesome.”

After parts of 15 seasons with the Flyers, after playing in 1,000 games, collecting 900 points, and moving near the top of most of the offensive lists in franchise history, Giroux has played his final game for the Orange and Black.

At least for this season. There’s always a chance he signs with the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

“I was fortunate enough to play three years with him,” center Kevin Hayes said. “… We’re not sure what’s going to happen in the next couple days here. If he does get moved, he’ll be on a new team I’m rooting for.”

Giroux has been on the other side, watching his teammates and good friends — like Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek — get traded.

“To be honest, I’ve seen a lot of players I’ve played with that I liked (get traded), and it’s tough when you leave a team.” he said. “I actually didn’t realize how tough it is. I wish I knew back then. But it’s not something that is really fun. In saying that, tonight we were just telling stories about things that happened the last few years. It was great.”

Great, but sad at the same time.

Deeply appreciative

He said he wasn’t comfortable with the spotlight on him, but he was deeply appreciative of Thursday’s tribute.

“The fans, the organization, my teammates have been so good to me for so many years, and that’s one of the reasons it was pretty emotional after the game,” he said.

In the locker room, his teammates “gave me the player-of-the-game sweater, which I didn’t deserve one bit,” Giroux said,. “But you know, it was a fun night and to get the win on top of it obviously made it more special.”

For Giroux, the highlight of the pregame ceremony, he said, was when he waved to the crowd to say thanks, and his young son, Gavin, “decided to do the same thing. It cracked me up a bit.”

He said his teammates were “on me all day.” Playfully, of course.

“They know I don’t like attention too much, and they were doing more things,” he said. “I should have played my cards better.”

Huge crowd

The Wells Fargo Center was packed Thursday for one of the few times this season. The building percolated with energy as the fans wanted to show their appreciation for Giroux,  whose No. 28 should one day be retired by the Philadelphia Flyers and hang from the rafters.

“I feel like I’ve had a great relationship with the fans and this city,” Giroux said.  I get them, and they get me. … I love them, and that’s one of the reasons why tonight was so tough.”

When Giroux was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) in 2006, then GM Bob Clarke temporary forgot the Giroux’s name as he was announcing the selection at the podium.

“Well, I’d like to think he knew my name but just forgot it,” Giroux cracked. “Me and Mr. Clarke have had a great relationship since Year 1. Maybe because he felt a little bad because he forgot my name.”

Giroux smiled.

“He’s a great man. When times were tough, he was there to support me, and to help me out,” Giroux said. “He’s just a good man.”

So is the player they call “G,” a guy who played with relentlessness and a love for the game that hasn’t been seen in these parts since … well, perhaps since Clarke’s playing days.

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