Knowing that the dagger is coming doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Dagger? More like the Grafted Blade Greatsword wielded by a 40 STR character in Elden Ring.
The Philadelphia Flyers traded Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, days after playing his 1,000th game with the franchise. It was a home game that served as a thank you for all that he had done for a team that has never done enough for him.
Giroux never wanted to leave and he deserved to join the ranks of legends like Mike Modano, Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic as Hall of Fame centers and captains who played their entire career for one team and won a Stanley Cup.
It’s a move that not only marks the end of an era, but the full acknowledgement of the failure of Chuck Fletcher and president Dave Scott. When Fletcher was hired as GM halfway through the 2018-19 season, it was with the understanding that his predecessor, Ron Hextall, had done such a great job of collecting assets, building up the prospect pool and creating salary-cap space that the team needed to WIN NOW and end the mediocrity of the past decade. That of course, didn’t happen.
It’s easy to forget but Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Morgan Frost, Phil Myers, Travis Sanheim and many others were considered potential stars. Shockingly, a franchise stuck in the 1970s has a whole bunch of dinosaur coaches and a development philosophy that doesn’t translate in the modern world.
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Fletcher, Harvard grad, son of former longtime Hockey Man Cliff Fletcher and a protegee of Flyers legend Bobby Clarke, has one great skill and it’s his unparalleled ability to turn a dollar into 50 cents. He certainly did that with the Giroux trade, getting back Owen Tippett — who has the ceiling of an NHL third liner — a first-round pick in 2024 and a third rounder in 2023. The Flyers also sent Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and a fifth rounder in 2024 to Florida, because Fletcher is a guy who likes to make sure the other GM is happy and just bleeds value all over the place. Oh, and the Flyers retained half of G’s salary. Fifty cents? This was a bank opening its vault and removing all security measures.
Sure, you can say that Giroux had a no-movement clause, and he limited his choice of destinations to Florida, so Fletcher’s hands were tied. (There were rumors of Giroux going to Colorado, but maybe Nate MacKinnon doesn’t approve of G’s love of grilled cheese sandwiches.) But the reason the first-round pick the Flyers got is a 2024 one and not a 2023 pick is because Florida traded the latter away to Montreal for rental plug Ben Chiarot earlier in the week. Chiarot is a guy who’s going to get third-pair minutes while Giroux will most likely be running shotgun with Sasha Barkov on the first line and top power-play unit. Sure sounds like Fletcher got outmaneuvered and had to settle for less.
So yes, the key piece the Flyers got back for their captain, still playing at a star level, is an unknown 15-year-old, who, given the Flyers’ track record of development, may be ready for his NHL debut in 2028 after marinating in the AHL a bit to make sure any creativity and skill are removed from his repertoire. Giroux is 34, and the chances of his remaining career being magnitudes better than this horsehit package the Flyers got seem really high. Why not just keep him?
Flyers fans are hoping that maybe Giroux goes and wins the Cup and comes back as a free agent. And maybe he will. But there’s a good chance that Giroux will enjoy the Florida sun, playing with Barkov and most importantly, being on a winning franchise.
The Flyers aren’t a winning franchise, haven’t been one for a long time, and basically need a total reset to ever have hope of being one once that 2024 first rounder is ready to go.