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Mailbag: Giroux’s chances of return to Flyers, Oilers goalies

Here’s the March 23 edition of the mailbag, where we answer your questions posed on Twitter using #OvertheBoards. Tweet your questions to @drosennhl.

Yes Claude Giroux wins the Stanley Cup, do you see him coming back with the Philadelphia Flyers? If he doesn’t, could he test the market? What is his relationship with Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher now after a rumored speech about him leaving Philadelphia? — @theashcity

It all depends on the conversations Giroux had with the Flyers, and especially Fletcher, before being traded to the Florida Panthers on Monday. You ask if the forward would sign with Philadelphia as a free agent in the offseason. My question is, do the Flyers want him or were they trading him the end of an era for an obvious franchise icon? The Flyers were focused on trading Giroux to their desired destination as he was in control of the situation with a no-move clause. Now they have to figure out where they go from here and if Giroux should be part of it. The puck is essentially back on the Flyers’ side of the rink. If they determine that Giroux is suitable and want him back, they will contact him. At that point, Giroux will have to decide what he wants. I guess he will want to test the market. And the status quo for the Flyers clearly can’t stay. They need to retool. They need to build a defense and a style of play that can help the keeper Carter Hart, which is too often hung up to dry. They must determine who will be their coach, after Mike Yeo replaced Alain Vigneault during the season. There are more decisions beyond that before even being able to move to free agents and the possibility of bringing Giroux back.

Do you see John Gibson be traded this offseason to the Edmonton Oilers or the Toronto Maple Leafs? I’m surprised Edmonton didn’t try to acquire a goaltender. — @GLaSnoST9

Don’t assume the Oilers haven’t tried to acquire a goaltender. The NHL’s salary cap space is tight, and the goaltending market after Marc-Andre Fleury was not strong. Maybe Edmonton didn’t feel it was worth paying a price for a goaltender who might not be better than the one they already have: Mikko Koskinen and mike smith. The Oilers are going to have to figure out their goaltending situation this offseason and, yes, Anaheim Ducks goaltender Gibson should be a priority target.

Video: [email protected]: Gibson dives to prevent the puck from crossing the line

I think Gibson’s availability will partly depend on how he feels about continuing the Ducks with a rebuilding plan. If Gibson doesn’t want to go all the way, Anaheim will probably want to move him. The Ducks may want to trade Gibson anyway. He is 28 and has five years left on an eight-year contract. The Ducks are clearly looking to rejuvenate forward and defender to build around Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Jamie Drysdale and eventually Mason McTavish. They traded forward Rickard Rakell (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Nicolas Deslauriers (Minnesota Wild) and defenders Josh Manson (Colorado Avalanche) and Hampus Lindholm (Boston Bruins). Anyone can become a free agent without restriction. The Ducks are going in a different direction, and trading Gibson could help speed up the rebuild, depending on the return. It would also make room for goaltender Lukas Dostal, a 21-year-old who plays for San Diego in the American Hockey League. Dostal may need another year of development, but he’s aiming to be in the NHL.

The Oilers and Maple Leafs make a lot of sense because each is unsure of their long-term plans as a goaltender. Gibson is a high-end No. 1. The Devils, Buffalo Sabers and Chicago Blackhawks could be in the market for a switch, so there should definitely be a strong market for Gibson this offseason.

What do you think of the New Jersey Devils mostly standing at the trade deadline? What do we need to see from them in the future to take the next step and start competing for a playoff spot? — @keithcaporelli

I was a little surprised PK Subban was not exchanged. I thought there would be a market for him as a veteran defender on an expiring contract who can play on third pair for a contending team. But general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Subban’s $9 million salary cap was a problem. It was probably even if the Devils were willing to keep 50%.

I was also a bit surprised that there was no market for the front Jimmy Vesey, also on an expiring contract. It’s not like the Devils got a major hit for either player, so staying up isn’t a big deal. In fact, keeping Subban and Vesey for the rest of this season keeps the Devils on course for next season. Their big moves will come in the offseason, when they’ll likely try to deal with their goalie again and add more spots through free agency and trades. They are in a good situation at the level of the cap. They have to sign again Jesper Bratta pending restricted free agent (RFA), and decisions on potential RFA attackers Pavel Zacha, Jesper Boqvist and Miles Wood must also be done.

Video: [email protected]: Bratt makes a brilliant breakaway

Try to do the Max Domi trade makes sense for Columbus Blue Jackets fans? — @Zanner10

The Blue Jackets wanted to find a taker for Domi, a forward in the final season of a two-year, $10.6 million contract. They didn’t see him as part of their future and are unlikely to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. It wasn’t easy because of Domi’s $5.3 million salary cap. The Carolina Hurricanes scouted Domi and wanted a forward to feature in their top nine. Domi has scored one goal in his last 31 games with Columbus and has 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) in 53 games. He can produce offensively, play with an advantage and can play center or wing. There’s value in Domi, especially for a Stanley Cup contender like Carolina. But to make it work, the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes had to find another team that could support part of Domi’s salary. The Panthers accepted because they get something out of it.

The Blue Jackets traded Domi and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Panthers for defenseman Tyler Inamoto, a 22-year-old who ended his playing career at the University of Wisconsin. Columbus kept 50% of Domi’s salary, leaving Florida with the other half. Florida got the sixth-round pick as an incentive to help broker Domi in Carolina. The Panthers then traded Domi to the Hurricanes for forward Egor Korshkov, an unsigned prospect playing in the Kontinental Hockey League. Korshkov may never play in the NHL, so in the end, the Panthers really end up with the sixth-round pick, at least for now. In doing so, they kept 25% of their share of Domi’s salary. Carolina then traded defenseman Aidan Hreschuk’s prospect to Columbus for Inamoto. Hreschuk is 19 and plays for Boston College. It’s possible the Blue Jackets liked him better than Inamoto.

Which team outside of the playoff bubble should be most excited about what they did at the trade deadline? — @TheMillsyMan

It was a seller’s market, so let’s give credit to the two biggest sellers, the Ducks and the Seattle Kraken. Each team was clear in their intent: to get as many high draft picks as possible for players who weren’t seen as part of the future to use as currency for an offseason rebuild. The Ducks traded Lindholm, Manson, Rakell and Deslauriers, and have 12 picks in the first two rounds of the next three NHL Drafts, starting with two in the first round and two in the second round of the 2022 Draft. The Kraken traded to the front Marcus Johansson (Capitals of Washington), Jarnkrok Street (Calgary Flames), Colin Blackwell (Maple Leafs) and Mason Appleton (Winnipeg Jets) and defensemen Marc Giordano (Maple Leafs) and Jeremy Lauzon (Nashville Predators). Seattle has 34 picks in the next three drafts, starting with 12 this year, including one in the first round and four in the second. They have three first-round picks and eight second-round picks over the next three years.

It will be shocking if the Ducks and Kraken make all those choices. Seattle general manager Ron Francis said that was not his intention. Some of those picks should and likely will be used in trades to acquire NHL-ready players. But if you’re going to rebuild, or in the case of the Kraken, just build from their inaugural season, you need to go all out. Anaheim and Seattle did.

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