After being shipped by the Philadelphia Flyers to the Florida Panthers at the March trade deadline, Claude Giroux could be changing teams again when the free-agent market opens on July 13. Recent conjecture links the versatile 34-year-old forward to three Canadian teams.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported there remains mutual interest between Giroux and the Florida Panthers about a new contract. However, the Panthers' cap constraints could hamper their efforts to bring him back.
The Edmonton Oilers could be among Giroux's suitors if he heads to market next week. LeBrun said there have been internal discussions among Oilers management about that option if they're unable to re-sign Evander Kane. They've envisioned Giroux skating at left wing with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might put in a call to Giroux's camp on July 13 to inquire into what it would take to sign him. He pointed out he's building a home in Ottawa and indicated at the March trade deadline that he prefers playing in the Eastern Conference.
Speaking of Ottawa, Giroux's been linked to the Senators for months. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch suggested he could be among their targets as they seek a skilled winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle.
Salary-cap space could determine if Giroux signs with one of them. Cap Friendly shows the rebuilding Senators with $23.2 million in cap room for 2022-23, giving them a distinct advantage over the Oilers ($7.1 million) and Leafs ($6.4 million).
The Oilers and Leafs would offer Giroux an opportunity to play for a contender. However, both clubs have a pressing need to improve their goaltending, which could eat up most of their limited cap room.