If Claude Giroux is to pull on an NHL jersey that does not bear the Philadelphia Flyers logo this season, it will be because he chose to do so.
That's the message Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher sent to reporters on Wednesday morning during his midseason media availability when asked about his captain's immediate future. It's not an unreasonable line of questioning, either.
With the Flyers sitting in last place in the Metropolitan division with a dismal 13-22-8 record, conducting a fire sale at the trade deadline is the likely path forward. Giroux, who has still managed to rack up 34 points in 40 games despite his team's lack of success and is a free agent at year's end, would be a likely rental target.
But sending Giroux away from the only team he's ever known is a sensitive matter. It must be handled delicately, with the 34-year-old, whose contract features a no-move clause, being able to choose where he would ultimately go.
And given Giroux's continued production and extensive leadership experience, it won't be hard to find suitors.
Still, it will be truly odd to see Giroux in a different jersey - if that's the outcome this situation ultimately reaches.
Since being selected by the Flyers in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Giroux has spent his entire 15-year career in Philadelphia, has donned the captain's "C" for nearly the past decade, and played a key role in the team's most successful run of the modern era.
Giroux a franchise legend, with the fact that he was never able to bring a Stanley Cup to the City of Brotherly Love likely being the only thing about his tenure left weighing on his mind.
If Giroux does capture that elusive hardware elsewhere, either this season or beyond, it won't change his legacy with the Flyers. Fletcher made that clear, reiterating the franchise's desire to retire Giroux's number when he ultimately retires.
How he will spend his remaining years, however, is no one's decision but his.