NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Finding the right spot for Claude Giroux to chase the Stanley Cup

NHL Trade Deadline Claude Giroux
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The 2022 NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, March 21 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be on the move. We continue today with Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux has been one of the most productive players in the NHL throughout his 15 year career, but he is missing just one thing from his resume. The Stanley Cup.

With the Flyers near the bottom of the NHL standings, Giroux being a pending unrestricted free agent, and wanting to no doubt chase after a championship it seems to only be a matter of when and where, and not if, he gets traded before the NHL trade deadline. There are no shortage of options among the top Stanley Cup contenders.

Giroux has a ton of say in where he ends up given his no-trade clause, so you have to assume he is going to want to be in a situation where he feels there is a strong chance to contend for a championship.

He is still an outstanding top-line player and point producer, entering the week with 40 total points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 51 games. That is pretty much a 28-goal, 64-point pace over 82 games, which is exactly the pace he has scored at for three years now. He would be an outstanding addition to any Stanley Cup contender.

What the return might look like

Giroux having so much control over where he could potentially go, as well as the fact he is a pending unrestricted free agent and would almost certainly be a pure rental for his next team, could hurt a little bit of the Flyers’ leverage in trade talks, but they should still easily be able to get a first-round pick, and probably more. It is not going to be the type of return that greatly accelerates the Flyers’ rebuild, but he is still by far the most tradable asset they have and should bring them a solid return.

The most logical landing spots

• Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins

Colorardo and St. Louis have been reported as potential landing spots and while neither team really needs an offensive upgrade right now, Giroux would definitely add to their scoring potential and make each even more dangerous. While also giving Giroux a legitimate contender to play for.

The Rangers, again, just need somebody beyond their top two lines that can put the puck in the net. No matter how good your goalie is you still need balanced scoring from throughout your lineup to win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Rangers simply do not have that right now. Giroux would be a strong add.

Boston has always made sense as a possible landing spot for Giroux because he could help fix their second-line center spot that was vacated when David Krejci went overseas to play this season. They have an opening, they have a need, and while they are not getting a lot of attention right now they still have a lot of very important ingredients to be a contender. As long as the goaltending keeps going the way it is with Jeremy Swayman in net as the new starter.

Wild Card team: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs focus is probably going to be elsewhere, but Giroux would be an intriguing add as he chases his first Cup and the Maple Leafs chase their first Cup in decades. And decades. Toronto is going to do something at the deadline, and given the pressure on them to win it feels like it could be something significant. This would be significant.

Spot I want to see just for fun: Pittsburgh Penguins

This would just be funny. After 15 years of being on opposite sides of one of the NHL’s most intense rivalries, Giroux pursuits his Stanley Cup dream with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is an obvious connection with Ron Hextall now running the Penguins, and there is a need for another top-six option in Pittsburgh. Giroux’s ability to play on the wing certainly would make him an option. But could you just imagine the reaction in Philadelphia if Giroux (and Jeff Carter. And Ron Hextall) all joining forces together in Pittsburgh to win a Stanley Cup? If you thought Carter, Mike Richards, Justin Williams (and Hextall) winning multiple Stanley Cups together in Los Angeles was frustrating for them, imagine this. Just imagine it. The obvious road block here is these two teams actually making a trade of this magnitude. Back in 2017 they needed to get a third team involved just to trade Mark Streit to Pittsburgh (Philadelphia sent Streit to Tampa Bay, who then sent Streit to Pittsburgh).

NHL Trade Deadline prediction

Giroux is going to get traded somewhere, it is just a matter of where. Colorado or Boston seem like the most logical landing spots with Colorado being the ideal spot for Giroux’s quest to win a championship. He would play a smaller role than he would in Boston, but the odds of winning are significantly higher just based on the overall talent and ability of the Avalanche. The Avalanche do not have a first-round pick this year (traded to Arizona Coyotes for goalie Darcy Kuemper) but a future first-round pick, or a combination of picks and prospects could make up for that. It is not like Colorado’s first-round pick is likely to be very high in the draft anyway.

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    Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

    The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

    Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

    Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

    Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

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    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.