NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman called the Florida Panthers as a “team to watch” in the Claude Giroux sweepstakes heading into the NHL Trade Deadline.
“No guarantees, but it makes a lot of sense for everyone involved,” Friedman wrote in his ‘32 Thoughts’ column for Sportsnet.
The NHL Trade Deadline is March 21.
Giroux, 34, is in the last year of his contract with an $8.25 million cap hit with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The veteran forward has let it be known to Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher that his preferred destination is the Colorado Avalanche per reporting by Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now.
If a deal could not be done with Colorado, Dater reports the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild would be acceptable alternatives.
The Flyers want to do right by Giroux, who ranks second in franchise history in points (894), so Fletcher will do the best he can to deliver him to Colorado if they can get back an acceptable return.
If not, the Panthers could be one of a few teams who could swoop in and give Philadelphia a better offer.
Owen Tippett, who turns 24 on Wednesday, is reportedly available via trade and could serve as both an asset for the future and a current roster player for the Flyers.
Despite not owning their 2022 first or second-round picks, Florida does have a myriad of prospects to include in the trade as well.
Giroux currently has 36 points in 44 games and could be a good fit for Florida, a team who just may be looking for a top-flight forward who can take them to the next level.
There is currently a hole on the top line alongside Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, one the Panthers tried to fill with Tippett and Maxim Mamin.
Giroux could fit seamlessly there.
Giroux’s playmaking ability compliments the dynamic scoring abilities of Barkov and Verhaeghe, which could kickstart that line into being one of the best in the league.
Keeping Florida’s second and third lines, which found a lot of chemistry over the last few months, will be important come playoff time, so slotting Giroux on the top line would work for all parties involved.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
- WHEN: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
- WHERE: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: TNT
- RADIO: WQAM 560-AM
- Last season: Carolina won 6-0-2
- All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 69-45-9, 11 ties
- This season — Florida leads 2-0: @Florida 5, Carolina 2 (Nov. 6), Florida 4, @Carolina 3 OT (Jan. 8)