NHL Rumour Report: Claude Giroux Sweepstakes have a new frontrunner

The bidding war for Claude Giroux has intensified over the past few days.

- With just over two weeks before the NHL trade deadline, the Claude Giroux sweepstakes are entering a more serious phase.

- Though a discussion between Flyers management and Giroux's camp about his future has not yet taken place, the bidding war has intensified as teams prepare their best offers.

- The Blues, Avalanche, Maple Leafs, Wild, Rangers and Hurricanes are among the clubs that have shown varying degrees of interest.

- But one team appears to have become particularly aggressive in the past week or so: the Florida Panthers. Expected to make some kind of big splash before the deadline, Florida has been in on many of the big names available. But it sounds like they are now keying in on Giroux as a primary target.

- Owen Tippett's name has swirled in the rumour mill for months, but he's now being directly linked to the Giroux negotiations with Philadelphia. Tippett has struggled to hold a spot in a stacked Panthers lineup, but still offers value as a young forward with upside.

- There's plenty of time for other teams to step up. And because of Giroux's desire to play his 1000th game as a Flyer later this month and his large cap hit, any trade is more likely to happen in the days (hours?) leading up to the March 21st deadline. Stay tuned for more.
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