This week's Eastern Edge is the third part of a series looking at how players performed in new surroundings this season. We'll discuss players that joined new teams ahead of the 2021-2022 regular season, as well as those that were traded during the campaign. Previous editions of this series are available here.
The 34-year-old forward started the season on an underpowered Flyers team and tallied 42 points in 57 games – a 60-point pace. After he was traded to Florida at the deadline, Giroux posted 23 points in 18 games (a 104-point pace) with the powerhouse Panthers.
When Giroux was traded on March 19th, the Flyers sat dead last in league scoring (tied with Montreal), averaging 2.52 goals per game. In contrast, Florida led the league with 4.06 goals per game at the time. Giroux went from a Philly team that had a 14% success rate on the power play, to a Florida team that scored on 24% of their opportunities. The power play upgrade was evident as he posted 11 power-play points in 18 games (0.61PPP/game) while enjoying a prominent role on Florida's star-studded top unit. He managed just 12 points with the man advantage in his 57 appearances with Philly (0.21 PPP/game).
Currently an unrestricted free agent, Giroux needs a new deal for next season. At this stage of his career, I expect a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup is more valuable to him than a lucrative contract. He's made a fair bit of money over his 15 seasons in the NHL, but hockey's greatest prize had eluded him so far. The thing is, Claude Giroux at a discounted rate is still worth more than most top contenders can afford to spend. As it stands, the Panthers don't have enough cap space to re-sign Giroux. However, there are options if they're willing to give up assets while unloading a sizeable contract – like Patric Hornqvist's. If the league's top contenders can't make room for Giroux, he may end up going to a middle-of-the-pack team in an attempt to put them over the edge. Ottawa has been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Giroux, seeing as the Senators have plenty of cap space, as well as a promising young roster that's looking to take the next step forward. It's certainly a possibility, but I imagine a long list of teams will be vying for Giroux's services, and he'll have his pick of the litter. I'm optimistic about Giroux's fantasy outlook next season, but I think his production and fantasy value will depend on the team he signs with.
In his final years with the Sabres, Reinhart was a reliable 60-point player and top line fixture, trusted with nearly 20 minutes per game. This past season was his first in Florida and boy did he fly to new heights in new surroundings. Reinhart racked up 82 points in 78 games this year, the highest output of his career. He was a key member of the team's third line, thriving beside breakout star