As the clock struck noon, Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion made his next fantastic move of the offseason by signing veteran forward Claude Giroux to a three year deal with an AAV of $6.5M.
Over the course of the last few months, Sens fans and media have been mentioning Ottawa and Giroux in the same breathe pretty consistently but for most of us, I think it felt more like an unlikely dream than something that could come to fruition. Then last week rolled around and the dominoes started to fall. After acquiring Alex DeBrincat, moving out contracts for Matt Murray and Colin White and bringing in veteran goaltending support in Cam Talbot, Dorion was successfully able to shift the free agency perception of Ottawa from a big question mark to a team officially on the rise.
In Giroux, there’s one small risk with a ton of reward. The small risk is, of course, his age. At 34 years old, the pride of Hearst, Ontario has over a thousand NHL games under his belt. While most players in his age and experience window would likely be considered over the hill, Giroux has still consistently been able to produce reliably every season. Just last season, Giroux compiled 65 points in 75 games between the Flyers and Panthers. So, while it remains to be seen how long Giroux can continue being productive at the level he is, there are no indications that he’s going to slow down any time soon.
Now, let’s talk about the reward.
Since 2017-18, over a span of five seasons, Giroux ranks 28th in the NHL for points per game with 0.94. He’s kept excellent company in this category, with Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point and Mika Zibanejad all have an identical pts/gp rate. Despite shifting back and forth between centre and the wing, Giroux is also in elite company when it comes to his ability to win draws. His 59.1% faceoff percentage is good for fourth in the league in this span, right up there with Patrice Bergeron (59.2%) and Ryan O’Reilly (57.9%). Giroux also has 113 powerplay goals to his name over this time period, sitting comfortably with Johnny Gaudreau, Mika Zibanejad and Aleksander Barkov.
The moral of the story is Giroux was good and still very much is good. A huge addition to the Sens forward group, with a ton of playoff and international experience under his belt. He’ll easily slot into the top six and will give Ottawa a chance at having two very potent powerplay units.
Claude, welcome home. Sens fans are elated to have you!
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