So far this off-season Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren obtained New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit and used both amnesty options to buy out Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov. Then, he signed veteran free agent center Vincent Lecavalier after he was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning and signed him to a five-year, $22.5 million contract.
Now, he’s extended captain Claude Giroux’s contract by eight seasons, at a projected cost of approximately $66 million. That translates to an average salary of more than $8 million per season.
Giroux’s deal (which contains a full no-trade clause), along with other pending Flyers’ news, nicely coincided with fireworks that were seen across the United States in celebration of the Declaration of Independence on July 4.
Giroux didn’t have a great shortened-season, but still scored 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists) while playing a full slate of games (48) during the recently-ended hockey year.
He’s clearly the most skilled player to wear orange and black since Peter Forsberg finally donned his original employer’s colors at the tail end of his great career. ‘G’ has already posted 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists) in 50 National Hockey League playoff games in four postseason campaigns.
Agreeing to a long-term deal with a professional athlete of any age is risky. But, Giroux (25) is special and that’s why he stands to remain in Philadelphia for awhile.
More moves are coming
Holmgren still needs to add another goaltender to his roster before training camp begins.
A variety of names have been floated, including: Tim Thomas, Ray Emery, Johan Hedberg and Jaroslav Halak among others. Further Flyers’ deal-making may provide perspective as to who will be paired with Steve Mason between the pipes next season.
The apparent need to move one veteran defenseman from the trio of Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann and Andrej Meszaros might play out very soon. Jettisoning one of those contracts would open payroll space and potentially allow a young defenseman to take the departing veteran’s spot.
This week’s re-signing of veteran forward Adam Hall, who had been obtained from the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline, also helps to keep lower line depth in place as well. Significant roster flexibility will be needed to withstand the rigors of what will be a normal 82-game regular NHL season.
Sean O’Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He began his professional career in the front office for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A team that was formerly located in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Sean has written over 2,000 feature articles for a variety of outlets since adapting his print skills to the online world in the fall of 2010. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his blog Insight.
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