Earlier this month, Elliotte Friedman mentioned on his 30 Thoughts Podcast that he would “bet” Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux will gets moved at this year’s NHL trade deadline. On the same podcast this week, Friedman mentioned that the Colorado Avalanche are the team connected to nearly every big time trade rumor as the deadline approaches.
Friedman elaborates a little bit when it comes to the rumor saying that Joe Sakic is looking for a right handed shot up front and that an impact player on an expiring contract like Giroux would be his preference.
With the Flyers sitting at the bottom or the Metropolitan Division standings, it stands to reason that they would be looking to move out guys like Giroux who can could bring back a decent return as a rental at the deadline. Moving on from the face of the franchise is hard but it’s the best thing for a team that has fallen well below expectations over the last few seasons and should be looking at a complete roster overhaul.
At the end of the day, any trade will be Giroux’s decision to make. With a full no-movement clause, the Flyers would have to get permission from the captain to pursue a trade. With that being the case, it’s easy to see Giroux having the Avalanche at the top of his list of preferred destinations as he tries to go win a Stanley Cup.
As is often the case, the biggest obstacle in a trade like this comes down to the salary cap. Giroux is on the books for $8.275m against the salary cap this season. That’s a big ticket but one that is a lot more manageable that it looks on it’s surface. As of today, more than $4m of Giroux’s cause has already accrued against the cap. By the time the trade deadline arrives, that total will be more than $6m. The Avalanche would need just under $2m in order to make a trade work without any money moving out. According to CapFriendly, the Avalanche are currently expected to have approximately $780k of space at the deadline meaning that even if the Flyers were to retain half of Giroux’s remaining salary, the Avs would still need to find a little extra money under the cap to make the trade work.
An easy way to clear the cap space would be to put Nicolas Aube-Kubel back on waivers. There’s a chance he could clear and be assigned to the taxi-squad but if not, losing a guy who averages fewer than 10 minutes a game is an easy pill to swallow in order to bring in a player the caliber of Giroux.
One other option to make a deal work is bringing in a third team to eat another quarter of Giroux’s salary. This option would, however, make the trade more expensive in terms of assets as you would have to pay the third team a pick or two to eat the cap space.
So what would the price be?
A lack of draft picks in this summer’s draft makes trading with re-building teams more difficult. Sending the 2023 first round pick to the Flyers for Giroux could make some sense but it’s likely that Philly would be looking for more immediate help. Tyson Jost would likely be a target for the Flyers. There are also former first round picks like Shane Bowers and Martin Kaut as well as high-end prospects like Sampo Ranta and Jean-Luc Foudy who could all step into a rebuilding lineup and make an impact as early as next season.
The prospect to keep an eye on this deadline - in a potential deal with Philly but also in other perspective trades - is 2022 Olympian Drew Helleson. The young defender has been developing incredibly well since he was selected in the second round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and it is beleived that he has a ton of trade value around the league as opposing GMs see him as a lock to be a top-4 defender in the NHL in the very near future.
Given the respect Giroux has within the Flyers organization, if he were to tell the front office that he wants to go chase a Cup in Denver, and that he’ll only waive his no-trade clause to go the the Avalanche, it’s easy to imagine the acquisition cost being relatively low.
For now, all this is speculation but as we get closer to the March 21st trade deadline, rumors like this are only going to become louder.
In the past, Colorado has been a team linked to a number of big-time trade rumors only to have deadline day come and go without much of a splash. It’s a commonly held belief that Joe Sakic likes to do his work in the offseason and that making a big trade for a top line player at the deadline simply isn’t his m/o. That’s likely to change this season. The Avalanche are a team that absolutely needs to make a deep run in the playoffs this year. This is a team built to win now and with a number of key players heading towards free agency this summer, this might be the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.
If there’s ever a time to be a true buyer at the deadline, it’s now. A trade for a player like Giroux doesn’t guarantee anything but it would improve the Avalanche in a big way and it would be a way for Sakic to put his team in the best position to achieve their ultimate goal.
Would you like to see Claude Giroux on the Avalanche?
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