Connect with us


Almost Two Years After Giroux-Tippett Trade, It Seems Like the Flyers Made Out Like Gangbusters

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

This year’s trade deadline chatter has brought about a lot of excitement and links to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Everyone under the sun had the Flyers finishing near or at the bottom of the NHL’s standings this season so they assumed players like Sean Walker, Marc Staal, Nick Seeler, and anyone else that Daniel Brière wanted to get rid of would be made available. However as we reach closer to the March 8th deadline, there’s a very good chance the Flyers stand pat go virtually unchanged.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that they are currently 30-20-7, sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division and according to oddsmakers and sportsbooks they have a very good chance at making the playoffs. Another reason is that with Rasmus Ristolainen sidelined for several weeks – and maybe longer – that players like Walker become more important for the present and future. Nevertheless, the price of acquisition is set for players like Walker and Scott Laughton at a lofty tag of a first round pick and a lot of teams are intrigued.

Chuck Fletcher fumbled the bag last year when he couldn’t find a taker for James van Riemsdyk and only managed to move Patrick Brown and Zack MacEwen. Quite honestly, the only good deadline move he ended up making in his Flyers tenure was the most obvious one in Claude Giroux. Everyone knew he was available, both sides understood what was at stake, and a trade came to fruition after months of incessant rumours.

On the 19th of March in 2022, the Flyers traded their longest tenured captain in Giroux to the Florida Panthers in a package centered around former first round pick in Owen Tippett. It was a trade that everyone was waiting for, it was a deal that had to be done, but as we slowly approach the two-year anniversary of that deal, it looks like the Flyers have made out like gangbusters.

At the time of the trade, there were several factors playing against Philadelphia. For starters, Giroux carried a full no-movement clause and it was widely believed and reported that he would not waive it for anyone other than Florida. There was real interest coming from Colorado and teams like Boston, New York Rangers, and Toronto had reportedly circled like vultures to test the waters. Ultimately, then-general manager Chuck Fletcher had to pull the trigger even if he was somewhat handcuffed.

Due to Florida being the only team he’d waive his NMC for, the Panthers held more leverage as the buyer than the Flyers did as the seller. If there was more of a bidding war, perhaps the Flyers would have made out with a better prospect or a better secondary asset, but in the end the Panthers received 4 assets to the Flyers’ 3. The full trade was Connor Bunnaman, German Rubstov, Giroux, and a 5th round pick in 2024 for Tippett, a 1st round pick in 2024, and a 3rd round pick in 2023.

And honestly, that worked out in the Flyers’ favour as well because the package that Colorado was reportedly sending – and one that Fletcher and company were very interested in – was centered around Justin Barron and a first round pick. The 22-year-old defenseman was moved 2 days later to Montréal in a deal that centered around Artturi Lehkonen.

Giroux only played 18 regular season games and an additional 10 contests in the postseason for Florida before walking as a free agent and signing with the Ottawa Senators. After spending the 2022-23 season buried in the minors, Bunnaman signed overseas with Kärpät in the Finnish Liiga and Rubstov signed with HC Spartak Moscow of the KHL in the summer of 2022.

The Flyers, on the other hand, received Tippett who has not only played in 151 games with the club, but has scored 52 goals along the way and has signed two contracts, including his most recent 8-year pact worth $49.6 million dollars. On top of receiving a true building block for the future, they still have the Panthers’ first round pick heading into the upcoming 2024 draft, and with the 3rd round pick they received in 2023 they drafted Denver Barkey.

A truly underrated part of the packaged deal was the 3rd round pick because it was widely forgotten in essence. However, as we reach the midway point of February, Barkey has been nothing short of sensational in his draft+1 season.

It has been said countless times since he was drafted but Barkey was always a true second round talent, however he dropped to the third round with concerns surrounding his size. The London Knights are one of the most storied organizations in the junior circuit and the OHL is known for its high scoring affairs, nevertheless Barkey has been impressive with 28 goals and 79 points in 51 games.

He is currently ranked fourth in the entire OHL in points, his linemate and fellow first round pick in Easton Cowan has 75 points in 42 games, and his teammate and fellow Flyers draftee in Oliver Bonk ranks second amongst OHL defensemen in goals with 21 and tied for 3rd in points with 58.

The Flyers look at Tippett as a member of the newly-built core that Brière and company hope propel the club to new heights. As is the case with goal scorers, Tippett has plenty of hot and cold streaks but it’s been a very long time since the Flyers have had a legitimate shoot-first threat and goal scorer.

On Saturday night during the Stadium Series match against New Jersey, Tippett put all of that on full display with 2 goals – including a power play marker – and fired 10 shots on goal, making that the second time he’s reached that mark in his last 9 games. He has taken 5+ shots on goal 16 times this season, has taken 7+ shots on goal 5 times, and has failed to register a shot just twice.

After a dry spell at the end of December and into the first few games of January that saw him go without a goal in 6 games, he has since scored 9 times with an additional 4 assists in 13 games, has fired 60 shots, and is averaging 18 minutes of ice-time.

Losing Giroux was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people but after 15 seasons, 1,000 games, and a future that looked very bleak at that very moment, it was time for the veteran to pursue a Stanley Cup elsewhere. Tippett alone was a great haul but when you add in Barkey and a first round pick, it makes it that much sweeter.

Who knows what Brière has up his sleeve this year, but with teams circling around him like vultures for Laughton and Walker, he can really pull on their heartstrings and start a bidding war with a very thin trade market.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

More in Analysis