What do you do with a 22 year-old center who’s having a breakout season and he’s in the final year of his contract before becoming a restricted free agent? You make sure that you sign him up for a few more seasons with your team before he becomes a target for offer sheets in the off=season. That’s exactly what Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has done with Claude Giroux, signing him to a three-year contract extension worth $11.25 million.
For Giroux, it’s been a slowly building process for him to reach this level of play. He’s in his third NHL season this year, and coming off a playoffs that saw him emerge as one of the better Flyers forwards on their run to the Stanley Cup finals. Giroux has picked up where he left off last year as he leads the Flyers in points this season ahead of more notable Flyers scorers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. The cap hit for Giroux is a cozy $3.75 million per year. If he continues to be a threat in all manners of the game at even strength, on the power play, and on the penalty kill that price tag will be a bargain for the Flyers.
Now the Flyers just have to hope the scoring continues and his ability as a wreaker of havoc on special teams can evolve to an even more dangerous level. They’ll also hope that the semi-sweetheart deal Giroux signed sets a good example for future free agent-to-be Jeff Carter whose contract ends after this season.
Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.