12:53 pm: The team has indeed signed Giroux to a three-year deal worth $19.5MM in total. Giroux will earn $7MM in the first two years of the deal and $5.5MM in year 3.
Giroux, 34, had never played for an NHL team other than the Philadelphia Flyers before this season. A deadline deal, one that was highly influenced by his no-movement clause, took him to the Florida Panthers, where he managed to show he can still be a top-end offensive player. With the goal-happy Panthers, he scored 23 points in 18 games down the stretch and then was still effective in the playoffs, even if Florida’s offense dried up in other areas.
Now, as he enters free agency, it isn’t a return to Philadelphia but a homecoming of another sort. Though originally from Hearst, Giroux and his family moved to Ottawa when he was still just a teenager, giving him the chance to go to high school in the area and play high-level minor hockey. Originally passed over in the OHL draft, he would eventually find himself joining the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, just across the river. In three seasons for Gatineau, he recorded 399 points, including a franchise-record 51 in 19 playoff games during the 2007-08 season.
His No. 28 is now retired by the Olympiques, and if the deal with Ottawa is completed, he’ll get a chance to wear it in front of the home crowd once again (if Connor Brown will give it up, at least).
Though he isn’t the MVP-caliber player of his youth, Giroux’s addition to the Senators lineup would be substantial. He and DeBrincat instantly legitimize a forward group that was previously considered young, talented, but unproven, and make them a force to be reckoned with. While there are still holes on the roster, Ottawa is making a case as a real contender in the Atlantic Division.