by Fitzgerald Cecilio
The Philadelphia Flyers have locked in star center Claude Giroux to a reported eight-year contract worth between $8.25 million and $8.41 million annually.
It brings Giroux's contract to between $66 million and $67.28 million, making him among the league's highest paid players, second only to Los Angeles Kings Mike Richards who has a $69 million contract.
The deal is also be among the richest in franchise history.
Giroux still has one season left on his three-year, $11.25 million deal that carries a $3.75 million cap hit.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2006 draft, Giroux emerged as a star during a 2011-12 season in which he scored 28 goals, finished third in the league with 93 points and led the Flyers to a first-round playoff upset of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Last season, his scoring slipped to a point a game with 13 goals and 35 assists in 48 games with team MVP Jakub Voracek and Hartnell as his linemates.
The team chose Giroux as their captain last fall, even though he was just 24 and older veteran stars such as Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen had previous experience as captain.
"He has terrific leadership qualities. He's driven. He is an excellent teammate," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said about Giroux.
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