10:32 PM BST
Kristen ShiltonESPN NHL reporter
- Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.
The Philadelphia Flyers have traded longtime captain Claude Giroux, who recently played his 1,000th career game with the franchise, to the Florida Panthers, sources told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan on Saturday.
The Flyers’ return package will include forward Owen Tippett, according to sources.
Giroux, 34, is a pending unrestricted free agent and was expected to be moved before the NHL’s trade deadline on March 21. He had to waive his no-movement clause that was part of his $66.2 million, eight-year contract.
Now that the Panthers have won out, Giroux could slot in next to Florida’s superstar center Aleksander Barkov and take the Panthers’ already potent offense up a notch. Plus, Giroux is one of the best faceoff players in the league, at 60.9%.
Florida enters play Saturday night with the second-best record in the NHL at 42-14-6, and has been one of the league’s most dominant clubs all season.
It’ll be a definite change of pace for Giroux, given the abysmal year Philadelphia is having. The Flyers (19-31-11) are tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division and appear headed toward a significant organizational overhaul. But Giroux has individually shown he’s still a valuable commodity with 18 goals and 42 points in 57 games.
What will also be new for Giroux is playing for a team other than Philadelphia. He has spent his entire career with the club since being drafted 22nd overall in 2006, and on Thursday joined Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Bobby Clarke as the only players to reach 1,000 games entirely with the Flyers.
Clarke presented Giroux with the silver stick to mark the occasion, and he was given a Rolex watch by his teammates and a crystal by the NHL. Giroux also has played in 85 career playoff games for Philadelphia.
“The fans and the organization, my teammates have been so good to me for so many years and that’s one of the reasons it was pretty emotional after the game,” Giroux said.
He was a healthy scratch for the Flyers on Friday night in Ottawa, as the organization sorted through his many suitors.
Giroux has 900 career points and is eighth on the Flyers’ career list with 291 goals. He helped the Flyers reach the 2010 Stanley Cup finals and was awarded the All-Star MVP this season.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.