the Detroit Red Wings have a problem.
Well, to be realistic, they have a number of problems. A lack of offensive depth, a porous defensive core and a goal situation that raised more questions than answers. Addressing one (or all) of these issues during the offseason takes a lot of effort. Steve Yzerman is not one to allow persistent problems to linger. The team that finished the 2021-22 season will not be the team that starts the 2022-23 season.
However, this offseason’s free-agent class leaves a lot to be desired. Except for large operations, there is not much that can be done to solve the most obvious problems. Sure, Johnny Gaudreau and Filip Forsberg are available. But given the litany of upcoming contracts and the problems with Detroit’s current core, swinging for fences seems far from a prudent strategy. That said, playing conservatively once again might seem like a slap in the face for players like Tyler Bertuzzi, who, at 27, are in the prime of their careers.
What if I told you that there is a solution to appease both parties? A way to stay on track while also showing the team that the front office believes in them?
Let me introduce you to the man who can make it possible: Claude Giroux.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or don’t watch Metro division hockey), you’re probably familiar with Claude Giroux. The former captain of the philadelphia flyers he has spent his entire career as the younger brother of superstars from the East, playing third fiddle to the brilliance of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. While Giroux is neither Crosby nor Ovechkin, downplaying his aptitude in hockey is a big mistake.
after all he made achieves a goal from Diet Datsyuk.
With 923 points in 1,018 games, Giroux has been one of the top forwards in the NHL for the past decade. Like a fine wine, Giroux’s game has aged beautifully along with his career. The criminally underrated center, at 34, finished with 65 points in 75 games this season. If he were on the Red Wings, he would have been second on the team in scoring. With the Flyers going into a rebuild, and the florida panthers (his current team) tightening his cap space, Giroux enters free agency for the first time in his career with no certainty behind a deal.
This is where the Red Wings come in.
In some alternate universe, Dylan Larkin and Claude Giroux are the same man at different times in his life. One endures the throes of adversity, fighting for his life to stay afloat in the midst of a terrible team. The other, free from the shackles of pain, seeks the same thing he has endured throughout his career. Together, the two of you can break the cycle. One can achieve his destiny, while the other can redeem all the time spent chasing his dream.
His role in Detroit is a match made in heaven. The Red Wings have ample cap space and need to hit the cap by the end of the offseason. Giroux is looking for another opportunity for Lord Stanley. The intersection between term, cost and time is there. All that is needed is a nod from both sides.
How Giroux can help the Red Wings
All narratives aside, Giroux fills an immediate need for Detroit in 2C. Pius Suter did an adequate job last season, but if the Red Wings hope to revive their offense, they need someone with a little more oomph. Giroux played center for most of his career until recently, where he has been in the peloton at full back. If the new head coach wants to keep Suter at 2C, he can simply put Giroux on the wing, filling the void left by Robby Fabbri’s injury.
The Red Wings need a talented two-way player like Giroux who can help Jakub Vrana chase the legendary 40-goal mark. They need someone who can shut down other teams’ depth, someone who can help carry the heavy load Larkin carries. Giroux embodies everything Winged Wheel has prioritized over the last century: two-way gameplay, great instincts, and a lot of experience. He takes a look at the way he uses his physicality to get the upper hand on Crosby before stealing the puck from Jaromir Jagr and scoring an outstanding goal.
If the Red Wings draft a 2C in the coming weeks, what better resource to turn to than a former 1C and former NHL team captain? Giroux can distill all the knowledge he has about this future player and help him transition into his role with the team. As he ages (and the Red Wings move closer to contention), the team can move Giroux to a position in the lineup that benefits both sides. Before he knows it, he’ll be back in the playoffs, this time with a new sense of purpose.
Giroux checks every box Detroit needs from a second-row player. He is intelligent, adaptable and versatile. The only thing standing in the way of him going into next season is a contract. Well, that, and the fact that the Ottawa Senators are doing a push for him. There are few players on the free-agent market worthy of a bidding war, especially during a rebuild. Giroux is a rare exception. With Giroux on the roster, the Red Wings have a legitimate opportunity to take a step toward rebuilding without sacrificing the progress they’ve already made. He is exactly the type of veteran you would want in a stanley mug– contending team.
Ultimately, it will all come down to where you choose to sign the dotted line. I hope it’s with the Wings.