Is the NHL trade market set for a potential Claude Giroux trade?

Claude Giroux
Flyers forward Claude Giroux.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Let the 2022 NHL trade season begin.

The Calgary Flames made a significant move last week to acquire Tyler Toffoli from the Montreal Canadiens. Calgary sent former Philadelphia Flyer, Tyler Pitlick, forward prospect Emil Heineman, their first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and their fifth-round selection in the 2024 NHL Draft.

This is the first major trade reported as the NHL inches towards the trade deadline on March 21. The question is how will this impact the Flyers?

Did Calgary and Montreal set the market?

This is an interesting question, and if you are judging apples to apples, then they did. However, the Flyers are looking to move their expiring contracts. Toffoli is a good player, a goal scorer, and has hoisted the Stanley Cup, but in comparing careers he isn’t near the caliber of Giroux.

In his career, Toffoli has played in 615 games and scored 371 points (183G, 188A.) Giroux played in 988 games, scoring 895 points (289G, 606A). Looking at these stats, Giroux is by far a better player. So the question is why shouldn’t fans get excited about this trade?

Toffoli has term left on the contract, running through the 2023-2024 season. Giroux is considered a rental. A more accurate representation comes from pending unrestricted free agents.

2021 Deadline Comparison

In order to see understand what a return could be for Giroux, we need to look at last year’s deadline deals. The biggest comparison should be when the Toronto Maple Leafs secured Nick Foligno from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  • To Toronto: Nick Foligno (LW, CBJ/SJ each retain 50 percent), Stefan Noesen (RW)
  • To Columbus: 2021 first-round pick (TOR), 2022 fourth-round pick (TOR)
  • To San Jose: 2021 fourth-round pick (TOR)

Foligno is a good player, but at the time he had 16 points (7G, 9A) in 42 games. He didn’t hold a candle to Giroux. This sets the bar that unless a first-round pick is involved, Fletcher should not consider it. Here is an example of what Fletcher can’t do:

  • To Boston: Taylor Hall (RW), Curtis Lazar (C)
  • To Buffalo: Anders Bjork (LW), second-round pick

Now, this is a trade that screamed salary dump. Remember, the Buffalo Sabres signed Jeff Skinner to a contract that had a $ million cap hit. Bjork has just six points this season. Hall and Lazar currently combine for 45 points.

Does Colorado make sense for Giroux?

Last week it was reported that Giroux told Fletcher that he wanted to go to three teams, with the Colorado Avalanche as his top pick.

That rumor has since been debunked by Giroux. He said they haven’t spoken yet. Does the Avalanche make sense for Giroux after all?

If you are looking at sending Giroux to the best place to potentially win the Stanley Cup, then yes. If you are looking for a faster rebuild, or retool as some would say, then no. The Avalanche traded away their 2022 first-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Darcy Kuemper. They also don’t have a second-round pick this year because they made a deal with the New York Islanders for Devon Toews. Since they lack the necessary picks, any deal should include either Bowen Byrum or Alex Newhook.

Colorado is tight to the cap. To pick up a contract like Giroux, the Flyers will have to eat a decent amount of salary.

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