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April 07, 2017

Giroux says he's 'not leaving' Philly, but admits 'anything is possible'

The Flyers have two more games left this season and will wrap up their 2016-17 schedule on Sunday against the Hurricanes.

After missing the playoffs this season – and barely sneaking in last year before being bounced by the Capitals in the first round – there are some questions surrounding the status of some of the team's biggest names, including captain Claude Giroux.

His 57 points would be his fewest in an 82-game season since he recorded 47 back in 2009-10, his second season in the NHL. Furthermore, he's never scored this few goals – he's currently at 14 on the year – in a full, 82-game season; his previous low was 16 (also in '09-10). Even in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Giroux notched 13 goals in 48 games.

And considering he's the Flyers' highest paid player – he's under contract for the next five seasons at $8.275 million per year – it's natural to speculate that the team could try to unload him in the offseason if general manager Ron Hextall decides the current core – which in addition to Giroux includes guys like Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, etc. – isn't going to get this team over the hump.

Since coming closest in 2010 when they lost to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, it seems that dream of winning the organization's first Cup in over 40 years is getting further and further out of their reach.

In other words, it seems as though their window is closing.

But the players from that core in the most danger of finding themselves in a new city next year are not only the ones who get paid the most but the ones whose skill-sets would be attractive to other organizations. And despite having a down year, Giroux is still a talented forward who could be the missing piece to put a contender over the top.

The same goes for Voracek, who carries an $8.25 million cap hit and costs nearly as much as the Flyers captain. Sure, they're the team's top two point scorers, but they're also near the bottom of the team in plus/minus. And they cost the team $3 million more than the next closest player, Schenn ($5.125 million), and over $5 million more than Simmonds ($3.975 million). 

But their on-ice numbers a lot closer than their salaries would suggest.

G/A PTS +/-$$/PT*
Voracek 19/41 60 -24$137,500
Giroux 14/43 57 -15$145,175
Schenn 25/29 54 -16$94,907
Simmonds 30/22 52 -19$76,442

Based on those numbers above, Giroux's cost per point ($145,175) ranks 452nd in the NHL. By comparison, the league leader, Connor McDavid, costs the Oilers a measly $9,737/point. [Side note: Sam Gagner, who recorded just 16 points in 53 games for the Flyers a year ago, has 49 points in 78 games for the Blue Jackets this season and is currently seventh in the NHL at $13,265/point. Last year, he cost the Flyers $300,000/point. Let that sink in for a moment.]

Despite that, Giroux doesn't seem all that concerned about the possibility of having to play for a team other than the Flyers for the first time in his nine-year NHL career. On Thursday, he told reports that he's trying not to focus on that right now, he has no intentions of leaving Philly.

But, like he said, that's not entirely up to him...

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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