There was never a question as to whether or not the Flyers would sign Claude Giroux to a long-term contract extension, it was just a matter of when, and for how long.
We now have the answer.
Giroux agreed Friday to an eight-year contract extension that kicks in next season that will keep him locked up with the organization through 2022.
Giroux will make $66.2 million in that time, the second-richest contract ever signed by a Flyer (Mike Richards $69 million). The Average Annual Value (AAV) of the contract is $8.275 million, which will serve as Giroux’s cap hit beginning in the 2014-15 season. He also has a no movement clause in the contract.
“I’m very excited,” Giroux said. “I’ve been a part of the organization for five years and they treat their players unbelievably. The fans always expect great things, so just to be a part of that is obviously a really good feeling.
“It’s a great honor to have that kind of contract. It shows the kind of trust they have in me. I will do the best not to let them down.”
Giroux, 25, was named the 19th captain of the Flyers on January 15, 2013. The 5-11, 172-lb native of Hearst, Ontario is entering his sixth season with the Flyers. He is coming off a 2012-13 campaign where he posted 13 goals and 34 assists for 47 points while appearing in all 48 games.
“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. “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.”
Both the Flyers and Giroux made it a priority to get this deal done during the summer and not let it linger into next season.
“That’s one thing me and [Holmgren] wanted to do – make sure we get this out of the way,” Giroux said, admitting that negotiations were relatively easy as both sides were on practically the same page with both term and dollars. “We wanted to do the right thing and it’s a great thing that it’s done with.”
Giroux is no doubt the top line center on the Flyers, but now has a heck of a second banana in Vincent Lecavalier, who officially became a Flyer today as well, signing a five year deal worth $22.5 million.
“I don’t know him personally but I heard a lot of good things about him,” Giroux said. “He’s going to be a player the Flyers fans are going to enjoy watching. He’s an intense guy… I’ve been talking to the other players and they’re all pretty pumped to have him.”
Another addition that appears to be on the horizon is goalie Ray Emery, who looks to be bound for a second stint with the Flyers after winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
A report from TSN in Canada had Emery signing a one-year deal with the Flyers, although that had not been confirmed as of 12:15 p.m. Friday.
“I had a chance to play with him before,” Giroux said. “He’s an unreal guy, a good teammate and a great goalie. It’s a shame what happened to him last time [with his injuries] but [if the reports are true and he’s back] it is going to be fun.”
In the 2011-12 season, Giroux enjoyed a breakout campaign as he led the Flyers to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He posted some of the best offensive numbers for a Flyers player in a dozen years, finishing the regular season with 28 goals and 65 assists for 93 points on the season, all career highs.
The 93 points were the most by a Flyer in a single season since Eric Lindros had 93 points in 1998-99, and the 65 assists were the most by a Flyer since Lindros posted 68 in 1995-96.
Giroux also became just the fourth Flyer ever to record 50 or more assists in consecutive seasons, joining Bobby Clarke (8 seasons, 1972-1980), Brian Propp (3 seasons, 1983-86) and Mark Recchi (2 seasons twice). Giroux ranked third in the NHL in scoring and led the league in power play points with 38 (6G, 32A).
Giroux went on to have a record-setting performance during the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs vs. Pittsburgh. He scored 14 points in the six-game series, leading all NHL players. He became just the second player in Flyers history to score 14 or more points in a playoff series, trailing only Tim Kerr’s 15 points (10G, 5A) in the 1989 Division Finals vs. Pittsburgh. He also set a Flyers franchise record for points in a playoff game with his six-point night in Game 2. The previous record was five, shared by Reggie Leach, Bob Dailey and Mark Recchi.
Giroux appeared in 42 games as a rookie in 2008-09, recording nine goals and 18 assists for 27 points. He scored his first career NHL goal on January 27, 2009 at Florida. He went on to appear in all 82 games in each of his first two full NHL seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11. During the Flyers’ run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, Giroux recorded 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points in 23 games, including the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 3 of the Final against Chicago.
Giroux has posted a total of 91 goals and 199 assists for 290 points in 333 career games, while adding 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points in 50 playoff games. He was selected by the Flyers in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
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