Claude Giroux is on to the next 1,000 games in a new city.
After celebrating an incredible milestone with the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this week, Giroux has been dealt to the Florida Panthers in a move that could prove to be the most significant ahead of the NHL trade deadline.
The Panthers will send Owen Tippett, a first-round pick in 2024, and an additional pick to the Flyers for the services of their former captain, who is set to step into unrestricted free agency this summer.
It’s believed that Giroux preferred the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference-leading Panthers in a trade, and that there were better offers on the table — possibly including one from the Colorado Avalanche. If that was indeed the case, Philadelphia did right by the longest-serving captain in franchise history by obliging his request to move to Florida.
The Panthers will take back forward prospect Connor Bunnaman as part of the deal.
With 900 points for his career, Giroux will only add to the most explosive attack in the entire NHL. The Panthers are averaging well over four goals per game through three quarters of the schedule, and would become the first team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to hit that average mark if sustained through the remainder of the season.
Management has rewarded that incredible success with unmatched assertiveness in the trade market.
OFFICIAL: We have acquired forward Owen Tippett, a first round pick in 2024 and a third round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Drafts in exchange for forwards Claude Giroux, Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov and the Flyers’ fifth round pick in 2024. https://t.co/n603iR5T9C
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 20, 2022
Despite a franchise-best season and the rewards from the front office, there are plenty of potential landmines ahead for the Panthers. Tampa Bay, Toronto and Boston are their most likely first- and second-round opponents, and are, too, actively improving in advance of Monday’s deadline. The Lightning spent an incredible package to acquire Brandon Hagel from the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Boston Bruins have since added Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks. It’s believed Lindholm will sign an extension with the Bruins.
It is far from a certainty that spending big (two first-round picks, big) on Giroux and Chiarot will pay off. But with the best team in franchise history and virtually no success in decades on the postseason stage, the Panthers are most certainly justified in their decisions to chase a championship.
More from Yahoo Sports