The Hearst native Claude Giroux said any time he looked at his future, he only saw the Florida Panthers. The forward, who spent his 15-season NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers, accepted that he was going to be traded ahead of the 2022 National Hockey League (NHL) Trade Deadline on Monday.
“I did a lot of homework for myself and kept it to myself,” Giroux said. “It was a decision me and my wife were talking about pretty much every night. At the end of the night, it was always coming down to Florida. It’s something that just felt like it was meant to be.”
Reacting to this deal, the former Philadelphia skipper recalled the games he played against his current side.
“Florida was at the top of my list,” he added. “If there was a team I wanted to go to, it was here. I had a chance to play against them three times this year, and watched a few of their games.”
Here’s why Panthers GM called Giroux a unique player?
Giroux, 34, might play his maiden game for the Panthers at the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. As a result, this gives their support staff two days of practice to figure out where he best fits on a deep Panthers team.
“He’s a unique player because he could play a first-line role with [Aleksander Barkov] where he can complement ‘Sasha,'” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “He’s the type of player who allows Barkov to be Barkov. He doesn’t have to help Claude Giroux, maybe Giroux helps Barkov. He’s a top face-off guy in the League.”
Notably, Giroux, who has featured in as many as 1000+ NHL games, has 42 points in 57 games this season, his 15th in the NHL.