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Giroux shows in Vegas why Flames should be seeking his services

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Johnny Gaudreau and Claude Giroux never saw each other on the ice on Saturday, but Giroux should be one of the Calgary Flames’ top NHL trade targets.

Giroux showed us why on Saturday, leading the Metropolitan Division to NHL All-Star victory and earning MVP honours in the process.

Gaudreau could only watch as he finished early. The Calgary Flames star had an assist as the Pacific Division squad got bounced in their opening game. Giroux, meanwhile, netted three goals on the day, with a pair in the $1-million finale – a 5-3 win over the Central Division.

He showed many qualities the Flames could use more of. The 34-year-old Philadelphia Flyers captain was the motivating factor in his team’s fun-but-frenetic attitude about winning the extra cash.

“It was funny how guys just wanted to win. I’ve never seen (Capitals forward Evgeny) Kuznetsov work so hard for face-offs before. Even when I play against him in the regular season,” Giroux told ESPN. “It was kind of goofing around, but at the same time we wanted to win. Might as well. We’re here, right?”

Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Zach Werenski said it was Giroux, who took over as team captain when Alex Ovechkin had to sit out with COVID, that provided the inspiration.

Giroux inspires fellow Metro players to play hard

“You could tell right from the beginning, even before the game, he mentioned to us, ‘We’re here, we might as well win it,’” Werenski told NHL.com. “When a guy like him – he’s captain of the team here; he’s been captain of the Flyers for so long – when he’s saying that, he’s going hard, I think it kind of just drags everyone else into it.

“We all felt that from the beginning, and I think it just carried over throughout the games.”

Giroux is in the final year of his contract with the Flyers, who are unlikely to make the playoffs this season. His name is a logical one on the NHL trade block, but he controls his future with a full no-movement clause.

He said on Saturday he has been thinking about his future but that talk can wait for another day as he soaked in the All-Star atmosphere.

“I’m not going to think about (trades) right now,” Giroux said. “Just enjoy the weekend. There’s a lot of things to figure out, but that’s for another day.”

Calgary Flames looking for secondary scoring on NHL trade market

The Calgary Flames have a lot to figure out as well. They’ve got the second-best points percentage in the Pacific Division in large part because of Gaudreau and the top line. They need some more support on the scoreboard and Giroux is having a hell of a year as his eight-year-deal is set to expire.

The pending unrestricted free agent is chasing his first Stanley Cup and hasn’t been to the finals since 2010, and will essentially determine his own future on the trade front.

The Flames should be pounding on that door. The veteran centre still has the skills they need and can give them the depth down the middle head coach Darryl Sutter desires.

The ability to move Mikael Backlund to a third-line role would present more matchup options and Giroux would give them even more pop on the powerplay.

Giroux is having a strong season despite the Flyers’ struggles He has 15 goals and 34 points in 40 games so far and is still one of the league’s best playmakers who can feed guys like Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane on his wings. Giroux can also play the right side as a winger – and the versatility offers options in the team’s top nine.

And Sutter’s system is right up Giroux’s alley.

He comes with a big price tag but sending salary back in any deal and the potential for the Flyers to retain some salary can make it work.

We’ll see over the next six weeks whether the Flames are willing to go all-in on the season.

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