Coming Home: The Ottawa Senators Sign Claude Giroux
The Ottawa Senators have had an aggressive off-season so it came as no surprise they were ready to make a huge splash in the opening moments of the NHL’s annual free agent frenzy on July 13th. The club had already acquired star sniper Alex DeBrincat and goalie Cam Talbot, traded away goalies Matt Murray and Filip Gustavsson and bought out Colin White and Michael Del Zotto.
Today, they signed forward Claude Giroux, one of the NHL’s top scorers over the last decade. “G” gets a three-year deal worth $19.5 million. He’ll get paid $7 million over the next two years and then $5.5 million in his final year.
In 1018 career games, mostly with the Flyers, Giroux has amassed 923 points. He’ll be 35 in January, so he’s probably not the Giroux of ten years ago, but the numbers were still there this past season, as Giroux collected 65 points in 75 games, split between Philly and Florida.
It’s a natural fit for both sides. Giroux gives Sens centre Tim Stutzle another elite winger to play with. He’s also a nice insurance policy at centre, having played the position for most of his first decade in the league. Giroux also provides the presence of a proven veteran, a player who’s competed in 95 NHL playoff games and had countless big moments throughout his career.
From Giroux’s perspective, he could have signed in a lot of NHL markets. This was a chance to be home all year round. He and his family moved to Ottawa in 2002 when he was 14. His wife Ryanne is from Kanata; his trainer, Tony Greco, is in Manotick; and the Girouxs spend all their off-seasons in Ottawa.
It sounds like the off-season chatter in Ottawa has had an impact on Giroux this summer.
“Going to the grocery store or doing anything else, a few people would say a few comments,” Giroux told TSN. “It’s just something that when I got the idea, also talking to my family and friends, and how the idea would work, the more and more I thought about it, I got excited.”
Giroux’s local ties also extend to his junior hockey days with Cumberland in the CCHL and then Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he posted ridiculous offensive numbers, leading them to a league title in 2008. In 2019, the Olympiques retired his number 28.
If the seven-time all-star had any reservations about the Senators’ commitment to winning, as he might have had this time last year, he only needed to look back at the past couple of weeks. They’ve had a flurry of roster improvements, some of which may not even public yet, but were probably shared with Giroux.
“The moves didn’t hurt (my decision), that’s for sure,” Giroux admitted to TSN. “A chance to play at home is very exciting. Last year, when we got to play against them, that’s when you know what kind of team they are. They were a hard team to play. They’re well coached. And when the idea (came up) to come back home and play for the Sens, I didn’t look back after that.
“I wouldn’t sign here if I didn’t think we had a chance win the Cup. Obviously, it’s a process and you have build on one good season. You need to have an identity. I’m just excited to play with young talent that likes to compete. They have character. I’m not saying we’re going to win the Cup this year. But the plan is still to build on it and have baby steps with that.”
Ottawa has always loved the “local kid makes good” hockey story. With Giroux, they can now see this one finish up right in their own backyard.