Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

The Philadelphia Flyers have traded forward Claude Giroux and minor-league center Connor Bunnaman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Owen Tippett, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-rounder in 2023 (as per RDS’ Francois Gagnon) while TSN’s Chris Johnston reports the Flyers will retain 50 percent of Giroux’ $8.275 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux’s no-movement clause gave him full control over this situation and severely limited where the Flyers could ship him. While the Colorado Avalanche were also considered among the bidders, it was apparent in recent days that the Panthers were emerging as the most likely destination.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

Panthers general manager Bill Zito was considered to be in “go-for-it” mode this season with his club riding high in the Eastern Conference standings. Having bolstered his blueline earlier this week by acquiring defenseman Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens, he’s provided additional firepower to his forward lines with Giroux.

A versatile, productive forward who can play all three forward positions and is among the best faceoff men in the league, the 34-year-old Giroux will provide the Panthers with veteran experience and leadership to go with his impressive skill set. It’ll be interesting to see where they put him on their already deep forward lines.

The return for the Flyers probably won’t sit well with their fans. Considering the Panthers were believed the only serious bidder, this is the best they could get.

Tippett, 23, should provide some immediate help and will have an opportunity to get his NHL career on track after seeing checking-line minutes with the Panthers. The first-rounder is worthwhile but it’s two years from now. Still, this return is quite light considering the harvest the Anaheim Ducks got from the Boston Bruins for Hampus Lindholm.

The Anaheim Ducks trade defenseman Hampus Lindholm and minor league blueliner Kodie Curran to the Boston Bruins for a first-round pick in 2022, a second-rounder in 2023 and a second-rounder in 2024, along with defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore. The Ducks will also retain 50 percent of Lindholm’s $5.205 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having traded Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has shipped out another of his veteran defense core in Lindholm after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension. The 28-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

This is a significant addition for the Bruins, who’ve been lacking skilled top-four left-side blueline depth since Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug departed via free agency two years ago. The 6’3, 208-pound Lindholm plays a solid all-around game and can log big minutes. He’ll lift some of the defensive burdens from Boston’s top rearguard Charlie McAvoy.

It remains to be seen if Lindholm will be merely a rental player or if the Bruins can re-sign him. It’s believed his insistence on a seven- or eight-year deal was the factor that scuttled his contract talks with the Ducks. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has a history of re-signing notable pending free agents acquired by the trade deadline (hello there, Taylor Hall) so perhaps he’ll take a stab at retaining Lindholm if he proves a good fit in Boston.

Verbeek has signaled the rebuild is on for the Ducks considering the draft picks he’s getting in this deal to go along with the 2023 second-rounder he got from the Avalanche in the Manson trade and the 2023 third-rounder he’s getting from the Wild. The Ducks are also getting a 23-year-old defenseman in Vaakanainen who had difficulty cracking the Bruins blueline but could have a better opportunity to reach his full potential with the Ducks.

The Ducks also trade forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin decides to add some muscle to his checking lines for the playoffs. Deslaurier, 31, is a big, physical depth forward with 10 points and 90 PIMs in 61 games with the Ducks this season. He’s also an unrestricted free agent this summer.