Claude Giroux’s Cap Hit to Become Fifth-Largest in the NHL

Claude Giroux’s Cap Hit to Become Fifth-Largest in the NHL

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.

>> Claude Giroux, Flyers agree to 8-year deal [CSN]

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds took a hit, the Eagles' Super Bowl odds shortened and the Vikings' lengthened after Sunday's 21-10 win.

The Eagles are 33/1 to win it all, a week after being listed by Bovada at 50/1. The Vikings, meanwhile, went from 7/1 to 9/1. They still have the third-shortest Super Bowl odds in the NFL and are two spots ahead of the Cowboys (14/1). 

Wentz, who had his worst statistical game against Minnesota, is now 9/1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada. Last Wednesday, he was 6/1.

Wentz trails Cowboys studs Ezekiel Elliott (2/5) and Dak Prescott (11/5) on that leaderboard.

As far as this week, Wentz is favored to throw for more yards than Prescott. Wentz is 5/7 to outgain Prescott through the air in Week 8, while Prescott is 1/1 to outgain Wentz.

Elliott's over/under rushing total against the Eagles is 99.5. He's rushed for 130-plus yards in each of his last four games, and the odds are 3/1 that he'll reach that number again this week. 

The Eagles have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, Washington's Matt Jones (16 for 135).

Elliott is also now on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. Dickerson had 1,808 in 1983; Elliott is on pace for 1,875. Will Elliott break that 33-year-old mark? A "yes" bet pays 2/1; a "no" bet pays 1/3.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie the game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious but significant point that happened late in the second period, and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Neuvirth was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.” ​