Claude Giroux is used to being in demand.
He was rumored all season to be headed out of Philadelphia as he approached free agency this summer, and keyboards were abuzz for weeks with ideas about where he’d wind up.
He ultimately went to Florida to help the Panthers on a would-be run toward the Stanley Cup, but now that a sweep by Tampa Bay ended that dream, it’s back to wondering where he’ll suit up next.
The expiring deal paid him $66.2 million over eight years, and it’s no great stretch to suggest he’ll still be making pretty good money no matter where he winds up—whether he prioritizes perennial contention for a sought-after championship, a return to hometown roots or simply the best available payout.
The B/R hockey team considered those questions and others while ranking the five best destinations for the 34-year-old forward, considering cash on hand and prospects for winning in those cities alongside other factors that could influence his decision.
Scroll through to see what we came up with and share your opinion in the comments.
5. Philadelphia Flyers
Giroux played 1,000 games for the Philadelphia Flyers, climbed to heady heights in the team’s record book and was regarded as a model professional in the locker room and the organization as a whole.
GM Chuck Fletcher didn’t trade him to the Panthers because of a lack of interest in keeping him or a tail-off in productivity. Instead, it was to give him a chance at the championship he’d never won.
So could he return this summer? Yes. But don’t count on it.
The Flyers were fourth from the bottom of the league’s standings, experienced several prolonged losing streaks and had transition in the coaching position. All that occurred with Giroux, so simply putting ink on a new contract and bringing him back won’t solve the problems.
Sentiment matters, and there’s plenty to be had, but Philadelphia has systemic issues to address and the guess is that reacquiring a 34-year-old, even an elite one, isn’t the highest priority.
4. Boston Bruins
Giroux could have been a Bruin already.
The word before the trade deadline was that Boston was trying to acquire his services, but he nixed the idea to prioritize possible paths to Florida or Colorado, both perceived as stronger Cup contenders.
The Panthers won out but didn’t get their title, which opens the door for the Bruins to at least sniff out his interest. He’d have made sense on the depth chart back in March for the flexibility he’d have provided coach Bruce Cassidy to roll three lines with proven centers.
That still applies now, and it’s not hard to imagine the numbers of former MVP Taylor Hall spiking on the left side with Giroux consistently feeding him.
Nevertheless, though it’s a better competitive situation than Philadelphia, it’s also still a long shot because of finances and the other options he’ll presumably have on the table.