Oh captain, goodbye captain: Flyers trade Giroux for Panthers

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Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux waves to the crowd after playing his 1,000th NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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After 1,000 games and a reign as the longest-serving captain in Flyers history, Claude Giroux flies to Florida to try to win his first Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia traded Giroux on Saturday in a deal that sent this season’s All-Star Game MVP to Florida in a bid to bolster the Panthers’ status as Stanley Cup contenders.

“Every day you trade your captain is a tough day, and with everything Claude has meant to this organization and how he’s represented himself for 15 years, it’s that much harder to say goodbye,” said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher. . “Claude is one of the best players to ever wear a Flyer uniform.”

The Flyers acquired forward Owen Tippett, a conditional 2024 first-round pick and third-round pick in the 2023 draft. They also traded Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and their 2024 fifth-round pick as part of of the agreement.

The Flyers will receive Florida’s 2024 first-round selection unless the pick is a top-10 pick. In that condition, Philadelphia will receive Florida’s 2025 first-round selection.

Giroux has 18 goals and 43 points this season.

“He has demonstrated his elite leadership and work ethic during his tenure in Philadelphia and we are thrilled to be able to welcome a player of his caliber to our roster,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said.

The Panthers lead the Eastern Conference with 90 points (42-14-6).

The arrival of Giroux gives Aleksander Barkov an elite teammate and one of the best faceoff aces in the NHL. Earlier in the week, the Panthers traded a first-round pick and up for Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot.

Giroux was traded after playing his 1,000th game with the Flyers and was celebrated Thursday with a game in his honor. Drafted in the first round in 2006, Giroux made his Philadelphia debut on February 19, 2008 and played his entire career with the Flyers. He has 900 career points and is eighth on the Flyers career list with 291 goals. He helped the Flyers reach the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals and was awarded All-Star MVP that season.

Giroux had to waive his no-move clause in the final months of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract. The Flyers will pay 50% of what remains on his contract.

He joined Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Bobby Clarke as the only players to reach 1,000 games entirely with the Flyers. Giroux was named captain on January 15, 2013.

The Flyers have just 19 wins and are tied for last in the Metropolitan Division.

It’s the second big trade for Florida heading into the deadline, after the Panthers landed Chiarot.

The defender is expected to join Florida next week when the Panthers play in Montreal. It will also likely be Giroux’s first game with his new club.

This is yet another clear sign that Florida is ready to turn the tables. The Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, the franchise’s third season.

They haven’t won a playoff since, going through more than a dozen coaches, going from one rebuild to another, often playing in front of an empty arena and dogged by years of rumors that they would leave the Florida.

But it’s as good as ever for the Panthers, who have the NHL’s second-best record on Saturday, have a Hart Trophy contender in Jonathan Huberdeau, a half-dozen 20-goal scorers already this season and an elite player in Barkov locked up for seven more years.

Additionally, the Panthers have survived a ton of adversity this season.

The team saw Joel Quenneville quit coaching seven games unbeaten in the season as part of the fallout from the Chicago Blackhawks scandal involving an abused player – something that happened when Quenneville coached there there is over ten years old. And on Friday, the team saw top defenseman Aaron Ekblad crawl to the bench in agony after suffering a leg injury in Anaheim. But by the end of the night, the team already had enough information to believe that Ekblad had dodged the kind of significant injury that likely would have ended his season and put a huge dent in the team’s title hopes. Florida.

The Flyers have long been out of the league. But Giroux’s 1,000th game was a rare occasion to celebrate in Philadelphia. Clarke presented Giroux with the silver stick to mark the occasion, and he received a Rolex watch from his teammates and an NHL crystal. Giroux also played in 85 career playoff games for Philadelphia.

Giroux, 34, ranks second in Flyers history in games played, assists (609) and points (900). he has the eighth most goals (291). Giroux also holds the Flyers’ all-time regular season records for shootout goals (30) and overtime goals (11). He celebrated his final game this week in Philadelphia with his wife, two young sons and friends and former teammates.

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

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AP sportswriters Stephen Whyno and Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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