Big payday looms for Flyers' Giroux

Flyers captain Claude Giroux. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Though negotiations haven’t started yet between the Flyers and star center Claude Giroux, look for them to begin in the coming weeks, said a source close to the situation.

Giroux, 25, will make $5 million next season, but his cap hit is $3.75 million because most of the money was back-loaded in a three-year, $11.25 million contract. He can become a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, meaning the Flyers can match another team’s offer and keep him in the fold.

But they want to lock him up with a long-term deal.

In his last three seasons, Giroux had 76 points, 93 points and 48 points (pro-rated to 82 points in an 82-game season), respectively.

Giroux’s agent, Pat Brisson, did not respond to phone calls, but he must have smiled when Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin signed an eight-year deal Thursday for $76 million. The deal starts in 2014-15 and carries an average cap hit of $9.5 million.

Giroux doesn’t yet have Malkin’s pedigree _ the Penguins’ star has an MVP award and has won two scoring titles _ but he is considered one of the NHL’s premier players.

If a new deal is consummated, it will undoubtedly make Giroux the Flyers’ highest-paid player. Based on the market, he probably will average between $7 million and $8 million per season in a long-term deal.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.