Flyers

Is it important for Claude Giroux to finish his career with Flyers?

Is it important for Claude Giroux to finish his career with Flyers?

Claude Giroux has made it known he wants to plays into his 40s.

He could even become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

However, does the longest-tenured captain next to Bobby Clarke see himself as a lifelong Flyer?

Recently, Giroux sat down with NBC’s Jeremy Roenick for a 1-on-1 interview that explored a number of topics, including some of those grade-school challenges you might ask a sibling on a long car ride. 

For example, Roenick pondered, “Would you be unable to chew with your mouth closed for the rest of your life or be unable to breathe through your nose?”

However, J.R. also explored Giroux’s long-term outlook and where his career might lead.

Roenick: “Ten years from now, where do you want Claude Giroux’s life to be? How do you want people to remember you when you’re done with this game and you’re … where’s Claude Giroux in 10 years?”

Giroux: “In 10 years? Uh, hopefully playing my last year.”

Roenick: “Good.”

Giroux: “You know, I understand it’s not easy, not a lot of players get a chance to play when they’re 40. But if you put the time in I think you can do it and after that, I don’t know. We’ll see … we’ll see where it takes me. I know I’ve been in Philly for a long time now, so … I can see staying there, but you know it’s … I've got other things to focus on.”

Other things to focus on? 

Giroux didn’t elaborate on that last point. We know he’ll become a father for the first time in August, and as players enter the latter stages of their careers, family life certainly takes priority. However, you would also think for Giroux, who began his career in 2008, and hasn’t advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2012, that the desire to bring Philadelphia its first Stanley Cup championship since 1975 would be a way to cement his Flyers legacy.

Interestingly, Roenick followed up with a question that Giroux could have answered accordingly.

Roenick: "And how important is it for you to stay in Philly and finish off what you started there?"

Giroux: “Well, you know, I got lucky enough to have a chance to play in the NHL with Philly and it’s an intense, I mean, it’s an intense city. They love their sports. You play bad, they’re gonna let you know. You play good, they’ll let you know. You’re not gonna go home one night and think I wonder how they feel. You know how they feel, so it’s good.”

Huh? A very noncommittal answer to which, once again, Giroux could have reaffirmed his desire to bring the city a championship. 

How does the intensity of playing in a passionate sports town figure into that equation?

Perhaps, Giroux is looking beyond the 2021-22 season, the final year of his current eight-year contract, when he’ll be 34, having played 14 seasons in orange and black. At that time, he will have earned the right to test free agency if that’s what he elects to do.  

Then again, if Chuck Fletcher doesn’t make significant upgrades over the summer, Giroux might be the final piece to some other team’s championship puzzle.

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One Flyer was reportedly a hot trade target, but Chuck Fletcher shut it down

One Flyer was reportedly a hot trade target, but Chuck Fletcher shut it down

The suddenly-ascendant Flyers pieced together a somewhat busy trade deadline, acquiring a pair of depth forwards in Derek Grant and Nate Thompson to pad a playoff run, but things could've been much busier if rival executives had their way Monday.

One young Flyers player not named Shayne Gostisbehere was attracting a lot of attention as general managers circled the wagons before the deadline, according to a report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

That player? Scott Laughton:

Another player I heard a lot of teams liked: Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton.

'Chuck (Fletcher) couldn’t hang up fast enough,' another exec joked.

That's a great quote. I can see Fletcher laughing to himself, and quietly hitting "end call," when Laughton's name came up.

And it makes plenty of sense for Fletcher to shut down Laughton talks, on two fronts — both of which should excite Flyers fans.

For one, Fletcher avoiding temptation at the deadline means he has his eyes on the postseason prize. The Flyers, after Tuesday night's win (see story), are just five points behind Metro-leading Washington, with 19 games left before the playoffs. It would take a serious meltdown to miss the postseason, and it seems Fletcher feels like the Flyers can make noise in April (and May, and maybe even June?) so he stood pat.

Also, and this is probably a little more obvious: Laughton has turned into a young, sought-after talent in the eyes of league execs this season.

It's no secret that the 2019-20 season has been the best of Laughton's young career. He's already tied his career high in goals with 12, he's averaging a point every two games, and he's just 25 years old. The hard-nosed 2012 first-round pick is officially coming into his own this year, and he's still under contract through the end of the 2020-21 season. Really, it's an ideal development for the Flyers.

Is Laughton currently the kind of player who defines your team? Not just yet.

But he's become the kind of player other teams want, which is always a good sign.

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With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

With newcomers, Flyers keep on humming in NHL playoff race, have Penguins in their sights

BOX SCORE

A day after the NHL trade deadline, the Flyers showed off their new look and didn't miss a beat.

With reinforcements Derek Grant and Nate Thompson, the Flyers defeated the Sharks, 4-2, Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (36-20-7) have won four straight games, their longest win streak since Dec. 17-23, when they also won four in a row.

Not many in the league have been better than the Flyers over their last 20 games. The Flyers are 14-5-1 with an NHL-high 72 goals since Jan. 8. Over that stretch, only one club has more points than the Flyers' 29 — the Lightning with 31.

The Sharks (26-33-4), who have a number of injuries and traded away Barclay Goodrow and Patrick Marleau before Monday's deadline, have lost five straight.

• Good work by the Flyers handling a lesser opponent.

Tuesday was a big night in the playoff race as the Islanders, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes were all in action

The Flyers are still in third place of the Metropolitan Division and climbed to within one point of the second-place Penguins.

• The new line of Scott Laughton, Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny sure was fun to watch.

During the second period, Hayes and Konecny scored goals to help the Flyers restore order with a 3-1 lead at intermission.

Hayes tacked on another in the third period, giving him 21 markers this season. The 27-year-old is projected to break his career high of 25 set in 2017-18 and he might flirt with 30.

On Hayes' first goal, the 6-foot-5 center used his impressive reach to snag Laughton's pass and bury the shot. The Flyers are 17-0-1 when Hayes scores a goal.

Meanwhile, Konecny finished with his third three-point effort over the last four games. He had two three-point games over his first three NHL seasons.

Laughton continued his always reliable play with two assists and a plus-3 mark.

• Grant and Thompson, both acquired by the Flyers Monday, were eased into duty.

Both went scoreless as Grant committed a penalty and was solid in the faceoff circle, while Thompson centered the fourth line.

Here's how they're getting acclimated (see story).

• At home, Carter Hart has been an absolute nightmare for opponents.

With 26 saves, he improved his home mark to 17-2-2.

The 21-year-old has yielded two or fewer goals in 17 of his 21 home games. He is a must-see ticket in Philly.

• Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim made clutch third-period plays to break up juicy scoring chances for the Sharks.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel has six goals this season. He has turned into one of the biggest surprises since his mid-December call-up.

Last season, he went scoreless over nine outings, playing just 5:35 minutes per game.

• A beautiful job by the Flyers.

• The Flyers are off Wednesday and practice Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Rangers Friday night (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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