We’re playing a little bit of catch-up here today, because while we were out celebrating the Fourth of July on Thursday, the Flyers were taking care of business with their franchise player. The big news from over the holiday was Claude Giroux agreeing to an eight-year extension worth $66.2 million, with a full no-movement clause that should ensure the 25-year-old All Star will be in Orange & Black for the better part of the next decade.
Giroux was scheduled to become a free agent next summer, which for the Flyers’ captain and best skater means a new contract was little more than a formality. The eight years were the maximum under the collective bargaining agreement settled upon in January, while the new cap hit of $8.275 million is currently scheduled to become the fifth-largest in the NHL for 2014-15. Only Alex Ovechkin’s ($9.53), Evgeni Malkin’s ($9.5), Sidney Crosby’s ($8.7), and Corey Perry's ($8.625) are higher.
Obviously, future free-agent signings and contract extensions could push Giroux's number down the list.
As you might expect, Giroux was pumped about the news. He spoke to reporters about the new deal via conference call:
“I’m very excited. I’ve been able to play with the organization for five years… it’s been unbelievable, the fans are always expecting great things. So just to be a part of that, it’s a really great feeling.”
“It’s a great honor to be able to have that kind of contract. It just shows the trust they have in me, and I’m going to do my best to not let them down. A little bit of pressure like that never hurts. I have a lot of good teammates that are playing well, so I’m just pretty excited to move on from this.
In case you’re wondering how the Flyers can fit such an enormous figure with their existing salary cap situation – currently an estimated $1 million over the threshold after signing Vinny Lecavalier and Ray Emery – the extension doesn’t begin until 2014-15. G’s cap hit is still a friendly $3.75 million for the season ahead. For those concerned with future cap implications, the limit should be on the rise again beginning next year.
Paul Holmgren issued a statement after the signing was made official:
"Claude is a high-quality young man that over the past few years has blossomed into our best player and also one of the top players in the league," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement issued by the team. "We look forward to more and better things to come from Claude over the next number of years as we try to achieve our goal of becoming a championship team."
In his first season after being named captain, Giroux played in all 48 games in 2013. It was a down year from a goal-scoring standpoint, finding the back of the net just 13 times. However, he was seventh in the NHL with 34 assists, and tied for 13th with 48 points. The numbers weren’t bad at all, especially given his slow start while recovering from double wrist surgery over the offseason. Once Jakub Voracek joined him on the top line, Giroux looked like an elite playmaker again.
As far as the contract is concerned, there’s not much to see here. Giroux, 25, was going to get max years, and while there may be some small level of concern over whether or not he’s truly an $8-million-per-year player, G could certainly command that on the open market next summer – maybe more if he continues growing as a superstar. It was a no-brainer for general manager Paul Holmgren to lock up his premier player for as long as possible.
Glad to see Giroux will be in Philadelphia for many years to come. At this point, fans can only hope he will become the catalyst behind ending the city’s painful Stanley Cup drought.