July 13, 2022
Claude Giroux is headed to Ottawa.
The former Flyers captain and Hearst, Ontario native agreed to a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Senators right after free agency opened at noon on Wednesday, meaning he'll spend what's likely the twilight of his career in what has long been his offseason home.
The deal, reported by TSN and The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, carries a cap hit of $6.5 million per year and includes a full no-movement clause, per Cap Friendly.
Giroux, 34, was traded away by the Flyers to the Florida Panthers just before the deadline this past season, after 15 years, 1,000 NHL games played, and the longest-tenured run as the franchise's captain.
He left with his name all over the team's record books — second all-time in games played (1,000), points (900) and assists (609), and the all-time leader in power-play points (339) and assists (255) — and as the Flyers' best player throughout the past decade, with seven All-Star appearances and Hart Trophy consideration for the NHL's MVP following the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.
The Flyers, however, failed to generate much team success with Giroux at the helm, and with the 2021-22 squad completely falling apart and their captain in the final of an eight-year deal, they moved him to a Stanley Cup contender in Florida after a 1,000th game ceremony that was just as much of a goodbye as it was a celebration.
The Panthers, with a rejuvenated Giroux who went on to score 23 points in 18 games to close out the regular season, did go on to win the Presidents' Trophy for the league's best regular-season record but were swept out of the second round of the playoffs by Tampa Bay.
Giroux had interest in returning to the Panthers, but Florida entered the offseason strapped for cash. Then Ottawa, Toronto, and Edmonton were rumored to have entered the mix, and with a young family and the possibility of playing for the hometown team, the Senators were an attractive option.
There was also the possibility of a return to the Flyers on a new contract, but the chances of that only grew slimmer with more time removed from the trade.
Ottawa has been down the past few years, having missed the playoffs five straight seasons, but does have something promising growing with a young core of Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, Tim Stützle, and the recently acquired Alex DeBrincat — not to mention a highly-skilled defenseman in Thomas Chabot.
Adding Giroux, who is still a very effective winger with a game that has aged well even into his mid-30s, gives the Sens an impressive top six heading into the 2022-23 season.
The Flyers visit Ottawa on November 5, then the Sens will come to the Wells Fargo Center on November 12.
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