The franchise is secure for a while longer.
Thursday, the Flyers locked up 25-year-old center Claude Giroux to a long-term contract, guaranteeing that the face of the franchise will remain in the spotlight for years to come.
Giroux agreed to an eight-year contract extension worth $66.2 million with an annual cap hit of $8.275 million. The Flyers had prepared themselves for a cap hit of between $8.21 million and $8.41 million. The deal contains a full no-movement clause, as reported by ESPN.com.
“We are pleased to announce that we have agreed to an eight-year contract extension with Claude Giroux,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. “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. 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.”
The native of Hearst, Ontario would have become a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season. He is represented by agent Pat Brisson, who also handles Mark Streit, Danny Briere and Max Talbot.
Giroux was named the 19th Flyers captain last January once the lockout ended. Needless to say, he had a very difficult first year with a team that struggled throughout the shortened season and failed to make the playoffs.
“For us, it’s about getting better. It’s about being on the same system, being on the same plan,” Giroux said of his experience.
“I think we didn’t stop working. We kept working, we keep working together, that’s what’s going to happen: We win four in a row.
“You can’t really put a lot of pressure on yourself. Obviously there’s more responsibility, but you’ve got to go out there and play, just play your game.”
As for living up to the deal, he said, "a little pressure like that never hurts."
Giroux has grown considerably since his first full season with the Flyers in 2008-09 when he played in 42 games, tallied 27 points and displayed a keen sense that he was going to do something special during the playoffs that season against Pittsburgh.
Look at his goal progression since then: nine goals, 16, 25, 28 and though he had only 13 in this recent half-season, he still led the Flyers with 48 points in as many games. He has become a point-a-game player.
Giroux’s team-high 93 points in 2011-12 saw him become the first Flyer to hit that mark since Eric Lindros.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said on breakup day in late April he expects Giroux will be a better captain for the adversity he experienced this year.
“It was a tough year for a first-year captain, and I think he did a really good job,” Laviolette said. “He has terrific leadership qualities. He's driven. He is an excellent teammate.
“I think sometimes when you're not successful -- or not as successful as you'd like to be -- you really get to, whether you want to or not, use and try that leadership and it becomes more in the forefront.
“I think that when sometimes things are cruising along in the right direction and you just go day-to-day winning hockey games, you really get to see what kind of a leader he is and what kind of a person he is. And I think he did an excellent job in his first year as the captain of this team.”