Frozen Four Game-Day: Boston College vs. Union College (3pm MT, TSN2)

Ryan Pike
April 10 2014 11:00AM

Gang, it all comes down to this. This afternoon, the Boston College Eagles attempt to advance to the NCAA Championship game on Saturday when they play the Union College Dutchmen. It'll definitely be the last couple collegiate games for Flames 2010 fourth rounder Bill Arnold, but it may also be the final collegiate appearances for one Johnny Gaudreau.

You may have heard of him.

A win sends Arnold and Gaudreau to the championship game. A loss perhaps sends them NHL contracts and an NHL appearance this weekend.

Either way, the stakes are high as one (or both) of the Calgary Flames top prospects seek to end their NCAA career(s) in style. The game goes at 3pm MT on TSN2.

BOSTON COLLEGE

Lines, via Joe Meloni of College Hockey News. Goals scored in brackets.

J.Gaudreau (35) – Arnold (14) – Hayes (27)
Fitzgerald (12) – Brown (14) – Cangelosi (10)
Smith (2) – Sit (5) – Silk (3)
M.Gaudreau (1) – Gilmour (7) – Cainan (4)

Savage (4) – Matheson (3)
MacLeod (0) – Santini (2)
McCoshen (5) – Doherty (2)

2014 NHL Draft prospect Thatcher Demko starts for the Eagles. He's 16-4-3, with a 2.16 GAA, .920 SV% and 2 shutouts this year. He started as the back-up and has really taken the reins.

The Eagles were eliminated in their conference playoffs by Notre Dame, then sat home for a week before besting Denver and U-Mass Lowell to punch their ticket to Philadelphia.

Obviously, BC's team is top-heavy: the top line is SICK, and their defense is promising, but depth is an issue. The big question is if Boston College's aces have one (or two) more big games left in 'em. Fitzgerald is a bit of a sleeper, and the second line has been decent of late, but this is the Gaudreau & Co. Show.

Seniors: Hayes, Arnold, Brown, MacLeod
Freshmen: Fitzgerald, Cangelosi, Gilmour, Savage, McCoshen, Cainan, Santini, M.Gaudreau, Demko
NHL Picks: J.Gaudreau (CGY), Arnold (CGY), Hayes (CHI), Fitzgerald (BOS), Calnan (CHI), Matheson (FLA), McCoshen (FLA), Santini (NJ), MacLeod (SJ), Gilmour (MIN)
Leadership: captain is Patrick Brown; alternates are Isaac MacLeod and Bill Arnold

UNION COLLEGE

Lines, via Joe Meloni of College Hockey News. Goals scored in brackets.

Carr (22) – Vecchione (12) – Ciampini (19)
Hatch (13) – Novak (14) – Sullivan (8)
Wilkins (6) – Lichtenwald (8) – Pontarelli (10)
Ikkala (2) – Coatta (5) – Cruice (6)

Gostisbehere (8) – Taylor (3)
Bodie (6) – Gingras (2)
Henry (0) – Vasaturo (0)

Junior goaltender Colin Stevens starts for the Dutchmen. He's been superb this year, with a 26-4-2 record, 1.93 GAA, .932 SV% and 6 shutouts. He's easily the best goalie in the ECAC this year.

Union has a more balanced line-up than BC, relying on offense from everywhere rather than riding one line. Their challenge will be containing the BC top line and making hay offensively when they're not on the ice. Easier said than done, but the Dutchmen haven't lost since January (amassing a 14-0-1 stretch). Whatever they're doing, it's working.

But can it work just one (or two) more times?

Seniors: Carr, Hatch, Sullivan, Bodie, Ikkala
Freshmen: Taylor, Pontarelli, Lichtenwald, Vecchione, Henry
NHL Picks: Gostisbehere (PHI)
Leadership: captain is Mat Bodie; alternates are Shayne Gostisbehere, Cole Ikkala and Daniel Carr

SUM IT UP

One way or another, Boston College's season will end this weekend. Will it be via championship glory or the bitter taste of disappointment?

Either way, it'll be a great chance to watch Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold play ice hockey.

51a8cdc527ce12d222fdc583f3cf4368
Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 coachedpotatoe
April 10 2014, 08:45PM
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I am so tired about the whining of where we might draft or that we should have tanked to get a higher draft pick. How did this team that almost all the experts and most of the regulars on this site picked to be 29/30 do better than the expectations. 1. We had an NHL headcoach who set expectations for his team and held them accountable to these expectations. 2. We had a captain that bought into the coaches system and who put the team ahead of himself and the rest of the leadership group followed. 3. Some young players took big step forwards (Backs, Brodie) 4. We added some surprises to the lineup.(Colborne, Bouma, Byron) 5. The Kid was as advertised and the goalie eventually was as advertised. 6.Maybe we underestimated the talent of the prospects and the grit of this team.

While it appears that the top 5 of the draft class may be ahead of the next group of 10 how sure can we be sure. The Flames will have done their homework and will know which of the others is the best prospect for the organization. I'm not saying that next years team will make the playoffs but I am looking forward to seeing the work ethic continue and the what the prospects will bring in regards to skill.

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#2 the-wolf
April 11 2014, 11:22AM
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Yeah, ok.

I don't concede often, but I get the reasoning. Whatever to get it done. 5 games or 7 games vs 1 game, I'll grant you that it's not a big difference.

Cap issues because of too many good players is a nice problem to have anyways.

I humbly acquiesce.

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#3 Dave
April 11 2014, 09:27AM
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I've just got to say, sometimes I take a look at Oilersnation and Canucksarmy to see how the rest of the west is doing and I can honestly say that I will NEVER cheer for the flames to lose no matter how it affects their draft position. I hope they win as many games as possible and I hope the flames have hired a good scouting department that make the right calls. I can't help but be disappointed when the flames lose and happy when they win. NO MATTER WHAT!

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#4 Jeff Lebowski
April 11 2014, 02:52PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

Why is it so important that he plays in the Vancouver game? I'm hearing a lot of tension around the fact that if he's not in the Vancouver game that "this organization is going to crumble". I'm just saying it's not a huge deal if he doesn't sign for a few days or even a week. If he decides not to sign, then yes that's a problem.

I think the plan with all these college kids is give them a taste of what the NHL game is like, how fast, strong players are and how amazingly sweet all the ancillary aspects of professional sports is. Then their summer training is highly motivated and specific to what they felt they need to improve.

Now Hartley has chosen to not throw players to the wolves in the past and learn some systems and get some practice time in but there are no more games and practices left.

Not only do I expect them both to play but play extremely well. It might be a matter of too many guys available to play.

I truly hope both McGrattan and Westgarth stay in the line up with these guys. I'm not a fan of goons but this is special circumstance.

Anyone even looks sideways at any of our kids and I want immediate full scale nuclear response. Especially if rat bastards like Burrows, Kesler, Kassian, Bieksa are in the lineup.

ON a side note. I wonder if Jay Feaster is hired by Van. I personally think Feaster is one of the brightest and progressive minds out there. No one is perfect but hopefully he doesn't land in Van or Edm.

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#5 piscera.infada
April 11 2014, 08:15AM
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@Rockmorton65

I agree it's somewhat pointless to play him against Vancouver. However, the ELC, NHL money, signing bonus, and chance to play in an NHL game right away are the reasons he'd make a decision to sign right away. If that's how it goes down, then so be it. From his camp's perspective the "one year closer" to a second contract probably makes the most economic sense, and is likely the biggest reason he signs now. I'm sure from an organizational standpoint, if they can get pen to paper, they don't care too much about the ELC aspect.

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#6 SmellOfVictory
April 11 2014, 09:32AM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

For me, the ELC thing is secondary. He's never played the game at this level before. Tempers always seem to run high between Calgary and Vancouver. There is a fairly substantial risk of injury. All it's going to take is for him to have his head down once and someone on the Canucks deciding to send a message with a cheap shot. I say let him start his pro career at training camp.

He doesn't have to play half the game. What do you think the risk realistically is, if they put him out there for 8-10 minutes of ES time and some PP time? Besides, he'll have to play the Canucks eventually if he's going to be a Flame, and he's not going to get any taller.

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#7 Keith Fredlund
April 10 2014, 07:24PM
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So Shannaban is too good to run the Flames but he goes to work for Toronto. Really. They can have him.

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#8 Back in the Winter of '89
April 11 2014, 02:06PM
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Steinberg also confirming Arnold AND Gaudreau will be signed. #SweetRelief

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#9 Primo
April 10 2014, 11:14AM
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Dear Mr Edwards...If you haven't already done so please get Ken King and Brian Burke on your private jet and fly them to New Jersey to pick up Johnny's parents. From there go to the tourney with his parents and have a pen and contract in your hands.

Ditto for Billy Arnold! Your franchise simply cannot afford another Tim Erixon situation! Enough said on this already!!

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#10 Michael
April 10 2014, 03:51PM
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@JulieRobenhymer: CGY plays VAN Sunday. Word is the Flames have a charter in Philly ready to take Gaudreau (& Arnold, although not expected to play) ASAP.

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#11 Veggie Dog
April 11 2014, 02:32PM
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This is exciting and all, but I sort of feel embarrassed to be acting like a breathless school girl about it all.

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#12 Primo
April 10 2014, 05:57PM
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@McRib

In last years development camp Johnny raved about Kenny and there lifelong friendship. I'm guessing Weisbrod/Feaster factored this in the trade with Pittsburgh!

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#13 McRib
April 10 2014, 05:47PM
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Rodger Millions on twitter saying he thinks a Johnny Gadreau deal is coming soon. Kenny Agostino's recent play with the Flames also a NJ product and childhood rival/friend could help with signing Johnny Hockey. Not just Bill Arnold helping us out wonder if that was a factor when we got Agostino in Iggy deal.

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#14 MyTwoCents
April 10 2014, 11:54PM
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@coachedpotatoe Agree with everything. That's exactly why Flames fans are excited/optimistic about this team. Jay Feaster deserves ALL the credit for the assembly of this team and its philosophy. He reminds me of Bill Clinton... Managed the country well but made 1 critical mistake and got impeached. Only to be proceeded by an imbecile who ruined everything...but hopefully the second part doesn't happen.

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#15 Kypreos
April 10 2014, 07:45PM
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Keith Fredlund wrote:

So Shannaban is too good to run the Flames but he goes to work for Toronto. Really. They can have him.

Fill your boots Shanny!

You can have that over paid underachieving team.

Good luck!

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#16 prendrefeu
April 10 2014, 05:39PM
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Correction: 5-4 Union. It was almost ridiculous, Gaudreau managed to get a shot off in less than 4 seconds from the last center faceoff after BC scored one to draw closer.

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#17 GriffinJeff
April 10 2014, 09:25PM
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“Thanks everyone for all the support over my last 4 years at BC. It was an incredible experience that i won't forget. I will miss all of you,” Arnold wrote on Twitter.

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#18 McRib
April 10 2014, 09:36PM
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@Chambers

I don't know it sounded fairly certain from a few people following the team it was the kind of quote you wouldn't say if you weren't 90%+. It sounds like something got done during the NJ game and everyone knows around the team. Everyone involved with the Flames was tweeting non stop about Johnny Gaudreau during the game. If he had spurned management I don't think they would have made as big of a deal to be honest. I remember when Justin Schultz told Anaheim he wasn't going to any more Rookie Camps he was like dead to the franchise.

Lets put it this way the Flames are going to have two of his best friends in the world in Bill Arnold & Kenny Agostino. He just made a mockery of the NCAA and has nothing left to prove there. I honestly think its a matter of time even if I like you don't necessarily agree with him jumping on a plane right away to sneak in a NHL Game being certain.

I think the biggest thing is even though he put up great points and won a USHL title his draft year only three teams were even considering drafting him. We took him much higher than most were expecting and he remembers that.

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#19 Rockmorton65
April 11 2014, 08:05AM
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It'd be mistake to put him in against Van. The game means nothing. He'll have no chance to practise. How prepared can he be if all he gets in is a morning skate? Just so we can see him in a uniform? Especially when we're playing a hated rival who is still blaming us for their lost season. I wouldn't expose him to a potential cheap shot. Not to mention, burning a year of his ELC for 5-10 mins of one game. Sorry for being a wet blanket, but I can't find a good reason to have him in the lineup.

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#20 Dave
April 11 2014, 08:15AM
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@Rockmorton65

burning a year of his ELC could be incentive for him to sign. It means he'll get his payday sooner. Plus the PR of having him play would be good for the flames.

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#21 Dave
April 11 2014, 01:09PM
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@Rockmorton65

It's critical he plays that game because I want to see him play right now!

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#22 Back in the Winter of '89
April 11 2014, 01:22PM
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Via @bchockeyblog1 - Talked to a few sources today. BC expects that Johnny will sign either tonight or tomorrow. He is gone

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#23 prendrefeu
April 11 2014, 03:27PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

"Anyone even looks sideways at any of our kids and I want immediate full scale nuclear response. "

Quote of the day right there.

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#24 McRib
April 10 2014, 11:23AM
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@Primo

Tim Erixon situation? We actually easily won that trade give me Markus Granlund & Tyler Wotherspoon anyday over Tim Erixon. Not to mention we got 1/2 of Ladislav Smid for Roman Horak (not that I am a huge fan). At this point I think I would take just one of Wotherspoon or Granlund over Erixon. I want Johnny Hockey to sign with us as much as the next person, but imagine what kind of value he would get in return if we traded him. If he said he didn't want to sign with Calgary this offseason and would sign with a Boston or Philadelphia at this point I think he could get better return than Iggy did. Regardless I think he signs with us after the NCAA Tournament, as his parents seem to be just trolling the media more than anything. Or the media is trolling them which is much more likely setting them up for quotes to make a story.

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#25 SmellOfVictory
April 11 2014, 10:46AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Either he wants to come to Calgary or he doesn't. What does that say if we essentially have to offer him a bribe?

Burning a year on the ELC is a waste and a poor precedent to set.

I wouldn't call it a bribe. These guys are pro athletes. It's their job. Say you have a company that has taken you under its wing as an intern, and you're with that company as an intern for a couple of years while you get your education. They want to sign you after three years of this internship, although you have the option of extending it to four, and you have the option of joining the company right away, and getting an immediate pay bonus (for comparison's sake, we'll call it a $6,000 bonus/paycheque) and getting advanced a full year on the salary raise schedule. Or you can wait a month to get most of that money (minus what you would have gotten for the pay at the end of the fiscal year), and not be one year closer to your next raise.

And this company is thousands of km away from you, and there are dozens of other companies in your area, near your family, that would be perfectly willing to pay you the same amount once your full internship was up.

You tell me why, in rational terms, the Flames should deny JG the opportunity to sign with the organization immediately and burn off the first year of his ELC.

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#26 GriffinJeff
April 10 2014, 09:26PM
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Welcome to Flames Nation Arnold! Please bring your friend and line mate with you!!

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#27 Kevin R
April 11 2014, 12:34PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

I still haven't heard the benefits to the organization for him to be signed ASAP. As I understand it, the Flames have his rights for another year, if he goes back to college. There is a ton of time to get a deal done.

I think we should also cut him some slack. How many of us were ready to determine whether or not we wanted to go back to school for another year, less than 24 hours after we wrote our final exam? Let him take a couple weeks to figure out what it is he wants to do. There's plenty of time.

You sound like my kid who never listens because they are busy thinking too much about how right they think they are. In the case of Arnold, I would say yeah 1 game, whatever, sign him next week & get the ELC kicking in next year. He looks like a real good prospect but we have several real good looking prospects. With Johnny, this kid is exceptional. His stats have our math guys analysing with woody's & his NHLe is literally elite level. You want to cheap out, piss him & his family off for the sake of a few $$$$. He goes to be a UFA & then were whining on this board about what kind of return we can get instead of getting him inked to more or less a 2year ELC & get stoked about next year. Are you kidding me!!!!! If I can draw a picture on this I would but it's called, get this kid signed & on a plane this afternoon. He's in top shape, so throw him in the lineup against Winnipeg tonight as well if possible. Who cares, just get him in town.

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#28 piscera.infada
April 11 2014, 01:30PM
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@mattyc

It's kind of too bad the NCAA is garbage towards their athletes. Hockey is small potatoes to the entire NCAA apparatus. They make billions in TV rights for Basketball and Football alone. The players aren't allowed to receive a penny (or even have representation), the coaches are paid millions. It's a broken system that takes advantage of the players. The problems we see between the NHL and NCAA are just a product of the broken system, it's not an NHL CBA issue (at least in my view).

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#29 McRib
April 11 2014, 02:28PM
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Primo wrote:

Dear Mr Edwards...If you haven't already done so please get Ken King and Brian Burke on your private jet and fly them to New Jersey to pick up Johnny's parents. From there go to the tourney with his parents and have a pen and contract in your hands.

Ditto for Billy Arnold! Your franchise simply cannot afford another Tim Erixon situation! Enough said on this already!!

"He will sign with the Calgary Flames. Gaudreau will be picked up, along with his senior teammate Bill Arnold, and flown in the Flames’ corporate jet to Vancouver" Report from the Boston Herald.

They listened to you!!!! Hahaha. Apparently it has also leaked that he has won the Hobey Baker!!!

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#30 BobbyO
April 11 2014, 03:59PM
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FN writers where are you? Johnny and Arnold have signed with the Flames! The news has been out for hours!

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#31 beloch
April 11 2014, 12:34AM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

I am so tired about the whining of where we might draft or that we should have tanked to get a higher draft pick. How did this team that almost all the experts and most of the regulars on this site picked to be 29/30 do better than the expectations. 1. We had an NHL headcoach who set expectations for his team and held them accountable to these expectations. 2. We had a captain that bought into the coaches system and who put the team ahead of himself and the rest of the leadership group followed. 3. Some young players took big step forwards (Backs, Brodie) 4. We added some surprises to the lineup.(Colborne, Bouma, Byron) 5. The Kid was as advertised and the goalie eventually was as advertised. 6.Maybe we underestimated the talent of the prospects and the grit of this team.

While it appears that the top 5 of the draft class may be ahead of the next group of 10 how sure can we be sure. The Flames will have done their homework and will know which of the others is the best prospect for the organization. I'm not saying that next years team will make the playoffs but I am looking forward to seeing the work ethic continue and the what the prospects will bring in regards to skill.

At the start of the season I predicted the Flames would be significantly higher in the standings than they are now (but not in the playoffs). By any objective standard, finishing in the bottom six is damned awful. However, the Flames are poised to break the NHL record for most close games in a season and I wouldn't be surprised if they're close to the record for the most one goal losses in a season too. This is a team that is almost getting it done. That leaves room for optimism.

Where will the Flames finish next season? If Burke does absolutely nothing I think they'd finish much higher than they did this season. The goal-tending has improved, several players have taken big steps forward, and there are some injured players who will hopefully rebound next season (e.g. Wideman and Smid). If Arnold, Gaudreau, and Baertschi all make the team next season there is potential for a nice upgrade in firepower.

Burke, however, is highly unlikely to do nothing. He has lots of assets to work with and abundant cap space. He might content himself with signing UFA's, but I suspect he'll be making "hockey trades" galore. It remains to be seen if those trades will favor the future or the present more.

Whatever Burke does, the Flames are unlikely to be picking this high again next season. We fans should probably face facts. Calgary is not the city of lottery picks. If you want that, get onto the QE2 and head North.

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#32 piscera.infada
April 11 2014, 10:01AM
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@the-wolf

It's fairly standard with college players who come out at the end of their season though, no? They can't be sent to the AHL, and I think we can agree (especially in Gaudreau's case) we want his name on paper, then it's really the only way it can be done.

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#33 Dave
April 11 2014, 11:06AM
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just get er done! that's all. I don't care how.

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#34 lionlager
April 11 2014, 02:28PM
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IT'S HAPPENING!

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#35 dotfras
April 10 2014, 08:35PM
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Islanders with the win!

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#36 aloudoun
April 11 2014, 02:36PM
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I AM SO EXCITED.

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#37 wot96
April 11 2014, 04:53PM
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@BobbyO

Relax, Lambert is preparing 5 reasons why this sucks as we speak. I know, I know, that would be a change of position...but c'mon...

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#38 Primo
April 10 2014, 03:45PM
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I am just as impressed with Bill Arnold. Real hardworking centre, nice size and NHL speed. Solid on his skates and nice balance. Apparently a strong face-off guy. Can fill many gaps for the Flames.

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#39 Flash
April 10 2014, 07:09PM
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In other news, Washington is leading Carolina 5-1 and Ovechkin is -1. Go figure.

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#40 Kevin R
April 10 2014, 11:28PM
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Well thank Christ Winnipeg won & we don't have to worry about catching them. Now Carolina has to quit sucking lead rocks.

Please please please please announce the signing of both JG & Arnold & have them on a jet tomorrow. Captain, I cant take it any longer!!!

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#41 karimeeloranta
April 11 2014, 03:39AM
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Thanks for the link!

“It was emotional,’’ said Gaudreau, his voice trembling. “I had a ton of friends and family here and I got to play with my brother [Matthew] here, too, so it’s a pretty good memory I’m going to have.’’

Never been so relieved to see the past tense as a Flames fan, looks like he is on the way!

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#42 loudogYYC
April 11 2014, 11:10AM
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@the-wolf

It's basically a signing bonus. There's tons of lower paying jobs that offer this, why wouldn't pro sports offer the same?

It's a sign of good faith on the Flames behalf, they're telling Johnny G and other up and comers that they aren't cheap basically.

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#43 suba steve
April 11 2014, 12:28PM
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@Rockmorton65

If JG goes back to college, there is no negotiating with him until he is done with the 2014/15 season, so about this time next year. At that point the Flames have until Aug 15th (I think) to get him signed, or he becomes a free agent and can go wherever he wants, with no return to the Flames. That is not "a ton of time".

That is a pretty big gamble for the Flames to make. Sure, he may finish next season and then immediatly sign and play a few games with the Flames. Or, he may decide that it would be in his best interests to sign with a team that is closer to his home (like Philidelphia, NYR, NYI, etc), or maybe he wants to play in a city with a better climate (Tampa, LA), or maybe he doesn't like the thought of playing in Canada.

I like to think that that wouldn't happen, but we did see something similar with Tim Erixon a few years back. So, if he doesn't sign with the Flames this spring or summer, and he goes back to school in the fall, it is completely reasonable to assume that there may be a problem. That is why you hear a lot of "trade his rights if he doesn't sign" talk.

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#44 mattyc
April 11 2014, 01:15PM
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Kinda too bad the NCAA/NHL system is built to incentive teams to have players not finish their degrees. If instead of being a FA the August after their degree, if teams could retain their rights for another calendar year, we could do right by a lot of these kids and let them finish their college degrees.

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#45 mattyc
April 11 2014, 01:59PM
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(which is to say mainly that if someone was going to pay me a million dollars at 21 to not go back to school, it wouldn't take much to convince me to take the money and finish my degree in the summer or whatever)

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#46 Chambers
April 10 2014, 06:45PM
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@McRib

Roger (I know it all) Millions is only guessing like the rest of us. I guess I would expect him to provide facts as he is closer to the team than most fans. In his twitter comments he admits to guessing that there is a plane waiting to take Johnny and Billy to Vancouver! Total BS reporting!

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#47 Primo
April 10 2014, 09:54PM
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@coachedpotatoe

Great post ! If the Flames can sign Johnny and Arnold those two guys alone can match any of the top 5 in terms of skill and potential!

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#48 dotfras
April 10 2014, 10:07PM
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Would love to see those two guys in a game to end the year!

Hoping it happens.

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#49 Burnward
April 10 2014, 10:31PM
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What is this feeling? Hope and excitement mixed?

I don't remember this at all.

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#50 piscera.infada
April 11 2014, 08:53AM
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@Rockmorton65

I agree that I don't care about "the game" in and of itself. I'm of the same mind of a lot of people out there (like Elliot Freidman). If he doesn't sign here - when given an opportunity to make around $100,000 in real dollars (signing bonus and 4 days of pay) over the course of the next 4 days - he's likely not coming this season. If he does decide to go back for another year, he's likely not wearing a Flames jersey. The organization cannot afford to lose him for nothing next year. Pragmatically speaking, if Gaudreau stays at BC, he can have his pick of the litter - he's that in demand (unless he were to take a major step back in NCAA hockey next year, which is very unlikely).

I mean, logically, what would change between now and a few weeks from now other than Gaudreau missing out on a lot of money? It makes no sense if he wants to sign, to not take the money and be a year closer to a second contract

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