After 1,000 games and parts of 15 seasons, Claude Giroux's storied tenure in Philadelphia has come to an end.
Giroux, one of the greatest players in Flyers history and the city’s longest-tenured active athlete, was traded Saturday night to the Panthers.
In exchange for their captain, the Flyers received winger Owen Tippett, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick. Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and a 2024 fifth-round pick were sent to Florida with Giroux. The Flyers will retain 50 percent of the average annual value on Giroux's contract.
The deal comes two days after Giroux's emotional send-off at the Wells Fargo Center in the Flyers' come-from-behind, 5-4 win over the Predators and two days before the trade deadline. The organization and fan base celebrated Giroux's 1,000th career game before puck drop Thursday night and after the final buzzer.
"It was awesome," Giroux said. "I mean, the fans and the organization, my teammates, they've been so good to me for so many years. That's one of the reasons why I was pretty emotional after the game."
Giroux entered the season in the final year of his eight-year, $66.2 million contract, which had a no-movement clause. As this season suddenly went awry, Giroux and the retooling Flyers understood each side's position. The 34-year-old is a dogged competitor still humming at a high level and had experienced just one playoff series victory after the 2011-12 season. The Flyers are amid one of their worst seasons in franchise history and set to miss the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns.
With Giroux's pending unrestricted free agent status and desire to win coupled with the Flyers' remaking motives, a trade ended up making sense — and felt inevitable — for both parties.
"He’s our captain, he’s been our best player this year," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in late January. "Nobody cares more about the Flyers than he does. I think we have to recognize what we’re dealing with here, he’s a franchise icon, his jersey’s going to be in the rafters. To me, he’s a Hall of Fame player."
More: A look at the Flyers' reality with Giroux trade
Giroux's run in Philadelphia was marked by durability and production. After being taken 22nd overall in the 2006 draft, Giroux turned out to be a player who fit the Philly mold, a gamer that was driven by max effort and a hatred of losing.
He made his NHL debut with the Flyers as a 20-year-old kid in February 2008, before the Phillies won the World Series that fall. He capped his Flyers career as a husband and a father of two boys, with 1,000 games under his belt.
Since 2009-10, over the last 13 seasons, Giroux is the only NHL player to rank among the top six in both games played and points scored. The 15-year Flyer entered Saturday tied for fourth in games with 956 and sixth in points with 873. After the Flyers' 2010 run to the Stanley Cup Final, only one NHL player has put up more assists than Giroux's 560 — Patrick Kane with 580.
The Hearst, Ontario native finished second on the Flyers' all-time leaderboards in games played (1,000), points (900) and assists (609), behind only Hall of Famer and franchise icon Bob Clarke. His 291 goals rank eighth, while his 73 playoff points rank sixth (0.86 per game).
Giroux was a seven-time All-Star in Philadelphia, a Hart Memorial Trophy finalist in 2013-14 and finished fourth in 2017-18.
"He's continued to push and just his longevity is super impressive, especially to play in one city, one organization your whole career — that doesn't happen too often," James van Riemsdyk said in December. "For him to be able to do that, in a place like this, a pretty storied franchise, it's pretty cool to see him climb the ranks for all these different milestones that he seems to be passing in the last couple of years."
There will be a longstanding debate about Giroux's playoff legacy and whether the Flyers surrounded him with enough help during his prime years as the franchise's centerpiece. When Giroux put up 102 points at 30 years old in 2017-18, the Flyers had to clinch their playoff berth on the final day of the regular season. Over his final 10 seasons, this one included, the Flyers missed the playoffs six times and went past the first round only once.
The Flyers, of course, haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1975, well before Giroux's time.
"That is completely unfair, in my opinion, to place that on G — the fact that we don't have a Stanley Cup," Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo said Wednesday.
"Hopefully that moment does come for him, where he is a Stanley Cup winner. Because you always like to see the great players have that opportunity to do that."
Before Giroux hits unrestricted free agency this summer, he'll get a shot at the Cup with the Panthers.
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