The St. Louis Blues should count themselves lucky because they have had a much better season than Claude Giroux and the Flyers, but a potential change of scenery could benefit both Giroux and the Blues’ chances of competing for another Stanley Cup.
The St. Louis Blues are virtually locked into a playoff spot. The only thing left to decide in the regular season is where they will finish in the standings and how much different will the roster look? A trade for Claude Giroux would influence the answer to both of those questions.
The Philadelphia Flyers are perhaps one of the most disappointing teams in 2022. A team that many people had making the playoffs before the season started, now stand without a head coach and a 15-win season so far.
To no fault of his own, NHL veteran and lifelong Flyers forward Giroux is now facing trade rumors and could be traded away from the organization he has spent his entire 15-year carer with.
The Western Conference teams rumored to be in on the Giroux sweepstakes are the Colorado Avalance, the Minnesota Wild, and the St. Louis Blues. If the 895 career point scorer gets traded, that team becomes a dangerous playoff team and, in the case of the Wild or Blues, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
For months the Blues’ glaring need for improvement has been defense. However, rumors persist that Doug Armstrong and the Blues have at least made a call about the Flyers forward.
The question that will be asked regarding any trade the Blues make, whether for a forward or defensemen, is how does the trade keep the Blues cap compliant.
Giroux is a pending unrestricted free agent, but he holds a cap hit of $8.275m for this season. He alone takes up 10.2% of the Flyers cap space, and the Blues do not have the money to add anyone who makes more than $22,000.
This means that in order for the Blues to bring in money, they will also need to move money off the current payroll, or they will need to present multiple high draft picks and top prospects to convince the other side to retain most, if not all of the salary.
The rumors surrounding Giroux and the Blues seem odd on the surface. Sure, any team would love to add a player who is approaching 1,000 career games played and who is nearing 1,000 career points.
However, the Blues have tremendous forward depth that they have been using all year long due to players ending up in COVID protocols. The good news for the Blues is, they are doubtful to lose the same players to COVID twice in one season.
Realistically, Giroux would either slot in as the Blues’ third-line center, or play in one of the top two pairings on the wing. Adding a player of his caliber would give the Blues 12 of the best forward groups in the entire NHL.
Even at 34 years old, he does not appear to be slowing down. He has played in 45 of the Flyers’ 48 games this season and has scored 16 goals to pair with 21 assists. He is on pace for his ninth season of at least 20 goals, and his 37 points on the year would rank fourth on the team.
Acquiring Giroux makes the Blues better. However, it doesn’t make them a better team than the Avalanche, the Vegas Golden Knights, or the Calgary Flames. Of course, you don’t play the games on paper, but acquiring the Flyer forward would shorten the gap between the top of the league and where the Blues sit now.