Claude Giroux may go on to experience a storybook ending, as in Stanley Cup, with the Florida Panthers but he will always have fond memories of his 15-year career with the Flyers.
During an NHL Network interview on Monday, Giroux said his final game with the Flyers in last Thursday night’s 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators was a once in a lifetime experience.
“It was a very emotional night,’’ said Giroux, who was traded on Saturday night for forward Owen Tippett plus a swap of prospects and draft picks. “The fans are amazing. It was very special. The whole day was just good. I had a tough time playing that game to be honest. I already knew it was probably my last game.’’
Although several teams were said to be interested in Giroux’s services, apparently the Panthers showed the most and were said to be the forward’s preferred destination.
Giroux, who played 1,000 games for the Fleyrs, had a no-move clause and no doubt he made it clear to Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher that he wanted to head to Florida.
“I had a chance to play against them this year,’’ Giroux said. “They’re very tough to play against. They play hard. Everybody’s on the same page. I did some homework, I knew a lot about them. I didn’t hear any bad things. So for me to come here, I want to work hard and have fun doing it.’’
Giroux is scheduled to make his Panthers debut when Florida visits Montreal on Thursday night.
The chance to have a few practices and settle in to a new living place probably will be beneficial.
“It’s good I have a few days to put it (the last game) behind me,’’ Giroux said. “It is incredible how it happened. To play for the Panthers. . .I’m just excited for the opportunity. It’s exciting how deep this team is. For me, it’s developing chemistry with whoever I’m playing with and helping this team win.’’
It would be pretty cool if Giroux gets to play on the first power-play unit with superstar forward Aleksander Barkow.
“I had a chance to talk to (interim head) coach (Andrew Brunette) today,’’ Giroux said. “There are a lot of good players here that are having great seasons, both offensively and defensively. Barkov is one of the best defensive forwards in the league. After that, he makes really good plays offensively. I just want to win some hockey games here.’’