Gaudreau Watch: A Good Sign?

(image courtesy our pals at BC Interruption)

Philadelphia-based journalist Al Morganti made an appearance on Sportsnet 960 The Fan this morning and dropped some information on Calgary Flames wunderkind Johnny Gaudreau.

EDIT: Sportsnet960’s Twitter quoted Morganti as saying “I’m told that he feels he can’t do anything more in college. He’ll turn pro with Calgary.”

Wait, what?

You can listen to the audio on the Sportsnet 960 site, but the actual verbiage is a bit different:

“From what I can gather here from people I’ve talked to, there’s no more that can be done at Boston College. His brother being there, winning the Beanpot agan – which is huge. For people that don’t understand it, the Beanpot there is…I believe it more important than a national championship. It’s a tremendous traditional series and they’ve won it every year. It’s incredible what BC has done, and I’m told that everybody realizes you jus can’t get any more out of this experience here. You’re gonna have to turn, you’re gonna have to go and sign – whenever it’s done here, and it’s probably not gonna be for awhile because BC’s good – turn pro with the Flames.”

Morganti’s based in Philadelphia – Gaudreau is from South Jersey, across the river from Philly – and went to school in the Boston area, and the Sportsnet 960 hosts made sure to ask Morganti about the connection before leaping into the statement made above. In short: he’s probably credible and he’s definitely connected in both Boston and the Philly area, so he’d be in a position to hear these things.

Granted, nothing is signed yet and nothing will be official until Boston College’s season ends and the ink is dry on an actual contract, but this is yet another declaration that Johnny Gaudreau is intending to join the Calgary Flames organization in the near future and probably won’t pull a “Justin Schultz” and try to go elsewhere. This is consistent with Gaudreau’s own comments to Calgary media ever since he was drafted in the 2011 NHL Draft and became a really good NCAA player the following season.

  • BurningSensation

    Burke’s dream (previous post)

    Trade Gio to the Oilers for their 1st (2014) plus one of Nurse / Klefbom / Marincin (let the scouts decide). Oilers need experience quality defender to stabilize the D..not guys 2-4 years away.

    Flames want/need the Oilers 1st and 2nd rounders this year or next so we can acquire top talent within a narrow age-range. Buffalo has done a marvellous job with their trades and is stocking up fast..are the Flames able to do the same?

    Flames Top 3 D core
    – Nurse (for example)
    – Ekblad (Oilers 1st 2014)
    – Brodie

    Flames Top 6
    – Reinhart, Bennett or Dal Colle (1st 2014)
    – 1st rounders Monahan, Poirier, Gaudreau, Baertschi, Klimchuk

    Goalies – Ramo, Gillies, Ortio

    Can Burke turn this dream into reality..?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Regarding the morning show. Boomer has no clue what he is talking about. Pinder had to explain to him that the NCAA was a higher level of competition than the CHL and that you can’t compare Gaudreau’s 2.0 ppg to the ppg pace of other prospects in the CHL! And Boomer still argued with him! Ever heard of NHLE?

    Is this guy for real? So tired of his bullying “know-it-all” attitude; he knows nothing IMO. A good sports reporter would do as much research as possible to understand the sport. He should at least be researching advanced stats to understand what everyone else is talking about.

    end rant/

    • Parallex

      Agreed, Boomer is an oaf and uses his humor to bully.

      Not sure I agree with beloch though that NCAA is on par with AHL. It’s still men against largely kids.

      I listened to the show this morning with Al and Eric. Definitely encouraging. It will be interesting to see if Gaudreau needs a year in the minors or not.

      I’m inlcined to think not. The word I heard when Feaster was here is that they would’ve given him a roster spot this season with the big club, but until you actually see the guy in regular season games it’s hard to say.

      • Parallex

        “Not sure I agree with beloch though that NCAA is on par with AHL. It’s still men against largely kids.”

        It’s not quite on par but the NCAA certainly isn’t kids. Not in the same sense that the CHL is… the NCAA is a mens (as opposed to boys)league… young men sure but men none the less.

        • Parallex

          For sure. I never meant it in a literal sense, but rather in comparing the two. The AHL players are, on average, older and moee physically mature with a lot more games of hockey behnd them.

    • loudogYYC

      I don’t even think Boomer would call himself a journalist. He’s not paid for accuracy or insight, he’s paid to be a personality. Al Morganti said something kinda telling about Boomer when talking about meeting him in Philadelphia, that he’s smarter than he sounds. That said, I’m pretty sure he’s the only one putting on a show cuz Rhett might actually be as dumb as he sounds. I like em both, they’re pretty funny IMO.

      Regarding Klimchuk, I can’t help but think of a higher scoring Stempniak/Langkow type of player. If he turns out that way, he’ll be a very useful complimentary player in 3 to 4 years. Every team needs those.


  • Parallex

    I really really really wish people would stop referring to it as “pulling a Justin Schultz”… for starters the Schultz thing would be better referred to as “pulling a Blake Wheeler” (since he did the same thing before Schultz did it)… and secondly the difference is that Wheeler and Schultz were able to use the gap year clause which Gaudreau would not as he went straight to the NCAA.

    @Byron Bader

    I continue to think that Gaudreau ought to play at least a full season in the AHL in order to get acclimated to a pro-level schedule. Let him get used to the full season grind and then have him strut his stuff in the NHL. Unless he goes there (the AHL) and just destroys the competition through the first 2/3rds of the season… if he does that then obviously the increased workload isn’t a concern.

    • Byron Bader

      Makes the team out of camp and plays with the Flames until/if he struggles. I don’t see him doing much time in the AHL, especially given the circumstance he finds himself in (a bottom feeder team that really needs a skill guy).

      • Byron Bader

        I don’t know… given his age (little bit older) I see him skipping the AHL step and playing with the Flames next year at least for the first few games. Similar to Monahan this year. Give him the first 9 or whatever and see how he does.

        Curious to see what happens at the end of this year though. AHL? NHL?

        • EducatedHockeyFan

          Let’s say BC makes the Frozen Four Final (big assumption, but they’re good) which is on April 12th. The Flames last game is on April 13th. I doubt he can play in a Flames sweater at the end of this year unless there is a big upset.

          However, I could easily see an AHL stint. Regular season for the Heat wraps up April 19th and they are most likely due for a little playoff run! Get excited!

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I actually think Burke’s joining the Flames will help with Gaudreau wanting to sign. Burke’s strong connections with US hockey would have Johnny thinking twice about snubbing the Flames organization IMO.

    • Byron Bader

      Could be. I don’t think he was ever thinking of snubbing though. It’s the exception not the rule that a guy does that. He’s never had a bad word to say about Calgary or the team … only really good things.

  • beloch

    “(Arnold) is one of my better buddies on the team, and he’s fun to play with,” Gaudreau said. “We’re both drafted to Calgary, and we go to prospects camps together, and we talk about how cool it would be to one day get to play together in the NHL for the Flames.

    “It would be pretty exciting to go from BC teammates to NHL Calgary Flames teammates, so we get pretty excited talking about that every once in a while.

    “Just having someone around the city and being able to be pretty close with someone that I’ve known for a while, it would be a little bit easier for our transition if that ever happened.”

    –Gaudreau (Source: )

    Arnold’s time with the Eagles is up at the end of this season and, with a NHLE that’s 19.1 points better than Reinhart (the best in Abby), he’s a lock to get a cup of coffee at the end of the Flames’ season and possibly even make an immediate impact. The above quotes from Johnny strongly indicate his desire to make the jump with Arnold.

    If you’re Burke, I don’t see how you could deny these two the chance to debut together. We’re not talking about kids from the WHL or CHL here. Gaudreau and Arnold have proven themselves against NCAA competition that is basically on par with the AHL. They might finish this season in the AHL (likely so they can commit grand theft larceny in the AHL playoffs) and possibly start next season there so they can completely adapt to the Flames system, which the Heat also plays. However, if Gaudreau goes pro with Arnold, my money’s on them debuting in Flames sweaters together. It’s simply the right thing to do for these kids, the fans, and the team.

  • BurningSensation

    So big picture thinking for a second. Elite, perpetually competitive teams typically rely on a core of 4 elite forwards. Looking ahead to how the Flames are developing, here are the candidates that are in-house or coming;






    Bennett/Reinhart/Draisaitl/Dal Colle (one of); personally, I’m sorta hoping we miss out on the Ekblad sweepstakes and snag a future 1st/2nd line center or a power winger with sniper-mitts. Of the four guys, my least favourite is Dal Colle, the team can always use a scoring winger with size and grit, but long-term investing in the C position with a high pick is more prudent.

    Ladies and gents, that could shape up to be a very nice core of forwards as we move ahead.

      • Parallex

        Choices for Backlund:

        Would you keep Backs around, even tho he is 5 years older than the rest of the core being built?


        Would you max his value next year and then trade him to reap the considerable rewards for a well-performing RFA like a Turris, Schenn or Couturier?

        • BurningSensation

          Two things;

          1. The trade you suggest with the Oilers (at least as I deduce from your post above) is pure fantasy. The Oilers aren’t going to part with two futures (1st and prospect) for just Giordano. I’d originally floated;

          —> Edm: Gio, Backlund

          —>: Cgy: 1st, Nurse

          With that drawing a large chorus of boos from both Flames and Oilers fans (Oiler fans don’t like Backlund, and Flames fans don’t want to part with both GIo and Backs).

          Factor in that Burke and Lowe would rather trade head shots than players and I just don’t see a deal.

          2. I don’t see any problem having Backlund do the heavy lifting at center while the kids develop around him. He’s versatile, smart, and can play all 200ft. I actually like him better than Turris, and about equal with B.Schenn.

          I would move him in a cocaine-heartbeat for Couturier though.

          • BurningSensation

            If the Oilers (or any other team) need a veteran D and a young C, I would Expect Burke to shop Wideman and Reinhart…….not Gio and Backlund.

            It may not get you 2top players, but probably one.


          • BurningSensation

            A. Nobody is calling about Max Power.

            B. Wideman’s contract is both too long, and too rich to be attractive to other GMs, and as a killshot he has been both injured and unproductive this year. We couldn’t be selling on him any lower.

            C. Far, FAR more likely is that Calgary dangles Stajan and Smid to teams looking for C/D assistance than Reinhart/Wideman. Neither player has a contract that will upset the apple-cart and both can reliably be deployed at various places on the roster.

          • BurningSensation

            Giordano has the same contract as Wideman, he has also been injured this year,(He has not sucked like Wideman though).

            Nobody is calling about Smid ……

            Stajan won’t get dangled…….

            I wish someone would call about Reinhart…….or we put him on waivers.


          • BurningSensation

            re could be right.

            On the other hand there is extreme pressure in Oilerville, they need help now and their D prospects are 2-3 years away.

            Gio is a top 15 D-man in the league and provide leadership, grit, tenacity and puck possession. Given recent trades his value is likely worth a good prospect and a 1st rounder (although perhaps not a top 3 pick just by himself).

            Agree Backs is likely overvalued with Flames fans right now..another year will max his value. However as a 1st rounder with 5 years of grooming, a 20 goal 50 point pace, and RFA status his value is likely too great to throw in that deal, no matter what Oiler fans say (and the larger we care!).

            However throwing in another decent player (Russell, Stemper, Stajan..Hudler?) and some other switch of late picks or prospects may likely muddy the waters enough to do a deal.

          • BurningSensation

            There is indeed some building pressure in Oilerland, but given their season is shot, there is no necessity to do anything right now.

            I agree though that Giordano would fill a screaming need, and that he would be the right age, and skillset to face heavy minutes and mentor the pups.

            I also think that Backlund would fill a screaming void on the Oilers – 2nd line C who can face the toughs, and push the river back.

            The chances that they would pay what these two players would cost though is the rub.

            But that too may be beside the point.

            The truth is that Calgary needs Giordano and Backlund for its own rebuild. Burke has often made it clear he has no patience, and shipping out both Gio and Backs (whatever the haul in return in the form of prospects/picks) significantly stretches out the timeline for the Flames by at least a couple of more years (the length of time for whatever prospects/picks we get to develop into actual players).

            Yes, something like a Gio for picks/prospects with Edmonton might happen, but I highly, highly, doubt it. MacT may well be motivated to do a deal, but unless Burke has his socks blown off, Calgary likely isn’t.

      • BurningSensation

        If his offense is ‘real’ (.75ppg or thereabouts over rest of the year), I’ll agree.

        If he returns to the 40pt pace plateau he’s been on, then I think he might move on.

    • Don’t think I’d put Klimchuk there. His results are good, but not “future star” good.

      The Flames will be lucky if one or two of those guys turn out to be elite, frankly. Which is no insult to the players, just that elite players are exceptionally rare.

      The good news, there seems to be a lot of at least solid bet players in the hopper for the first time since, uh…

      • Byron Bader

        Flames are covered when it comes to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines. I just hope they don’t rush guys like Reinhart, Knight and Granlund. Leave them down for another year to develop. I’m not saying those guys will be 2nd liners the day they step into the NHL, but I think Granlund and Reinhart have that potential to eventually do it.

        Reinhart has taken his time at every level, but he ends up an impact player at every level. Just don’t want all of these guys turned into career 3rd liners.

        Hopefully Monahan, Gaudreau, Poirier can fill out the top line.

        – Backlund, Baerstchi, Gaudreau, Arnold, Hanowski, Agostino, Granlund, Knight, Reinhart, Street, Bouma, Poirier, Klimchuk, Monahan, Jankowski.

        Not all will make it or be more than muckers as it were, but that’s still 15 names there that are 26 or under. It’s no nice to finally see some depth. Apparently THN Future Watch even had troubles deciding on the Flames’ top 10 this year.

        Flames just need some D prospects now, goaltending is solid. I’m hoping BB swings a trade to be able to draft Ekblad.

      • BurningSensation

        I can’t argue with your concerns about Klimchuk’s ceiling as I share them, but he does seem to be a good bet to be an NHL player.

        Still, if we take him out of the mix, we still have; Monahan, Gaudreau, Poirier, and Baertschi, with a top 5 draft pick coming on.

        As for whether or not they will be elite, that really remains to be determined. I’ll be happy if they can play above average for their roster spot; i.e. so if Monahan is really a 2nd line center, instead of a 1st, fine – so long as he is above average at being a 2nd line C.

  • Parallex

    Lot’s to talk about based upon a number of recent threads, but lets start with today. The trade that people are talking about via Gio is just silly; at this point in the rebuild we need him as much as Edmonton, not only that but I’m sure Nurse is as good as people think.

    The news about Johnny hockey is great news but more or less what I expected. He would not become a UFA until August 2015. I suspect unless BC gets upset early in the NCAA tournament that we will not see him with big club but there is a good chance of seeing him with the Heat for the playoffs.( this could be quite an addition for the playoff run, Johnny, Arnold, Agostina and possibly Monahan)Can the guys who playoff runs in the CHL end play in the AHL playoffs?

    Lot’s of discussion about how to move forward with the rebuild. A couple of people have suggested dumping the AHL vets like BJones, Street, Billins and Cundari; I’m not sure this is a good idea for the organization; we need these type of bridge players while some of the younger guys develop. One of the reasons that the Heat are doing so well this year is because of the mentorship these guys provide.

    There have been lots of props for the forward prospects in this organization over the last few threads.(Johnny, Arnold, Poirier, Klimchuk, Granlund, Knight, Rhino, Ferland) Not much love for the backend guys as they always take longer to develop.

    How does the organization move forward? I think there are two clear paths. One if we want to be patient and be in the McDavid/Eichel hunt then stay the course and keep the current veteran forwards as your mentors(Backs, Stajan,Hudler, GlenX,McG, and Djones)increase the work load of Monahan, Colborne,and Bouma, and rotate the young guys through the big club during the season. On the backend we have a sound two pairings Gio/Brodie, Wides/Russell, and Smid so either sign a midrange UFA or allow one of the AHL prospects to play up. Goaltending would remain the status quo. This strategy would mean being out of the playoffs until at least 2017/18.

    The other choice is to stick with Backs/Hudler/GlenX/Stajan and actively and aggressively target the top 27-30 year old UFa’s up front and replace McG and Djones with significant upgrades.(plus one more) On the backend go after 2 of the highend UFA’s. in other words spend nearer the top of the cap. Also go after the top UFA goaltender. Following this path you may even contend for the last two playoff spots as early as next season.

  • BurningSensation

    Regarding the harsh 82 game schedule:

    I forget who said it but Nuchiskin of the Dallas Stars was starting to slide a little bit in his play. When the coach asked him about it he said he was just tired from playing so much. The coach then scratched him a couple games to give him rest and he’s back playing great for the stars.

    My point is that there are ways around the long harsh schedule. If a rookie needs a break a good coach will give him one. If gaudreau needs 5 games off twice during the season to rest. it will not hurt his development.

    At the same time I don’t think it’s bad if he plays for the heat next year. I just don’t think the schedule is a good enough reason to keep him from playing on the flames. The policy should be the same for all players. If you’re going to play on the flames you earn your spot. If he earns a spot out of training camp he should play with the flames. If not then he goes to the heat. It will send a consistent message to ALL the developing players. I guarantee that Poirier, Reinhart, Knight, Granlund and all the other guys will appreciate management and the coaching staff A LOT more of there in consistency in how players are treated.

    • Parallex

      Maybe. Even if that’s not an issue I think the Flames are going to end up putting him in the AHL next year, at least to start.

      A bit of rough number crunching leads me to the conclusion that the Flames must spend about 14M dollars this upcoming offseason and most of the open spots are going to be filled by the cost controlled waiver eligible RFA’s. That’s effectively going to limit the number of ELC the Flames can put on the roster.

  • BurningSensation

    I believe Gaudreau wants to be a Flame, he knows he has a strong chance to get a lot playing minutes which can discourage lot of young players. He knows the Flames are in a full rebuild and has probably heard a lot of good things from others about here.

  • piscera.infada

    I wonder how much Bill Arnold also has to do with this. I mean, they clearly have chemistry. It’s not very often you get to make the leap with a guy from your ‘junior’ team – let alone linemate. I’ve always believed Johnny would honor his word on this. Can’t wait ’til that contract’s signed, so we can just sit back and (hopefully) enjoy.

  • beloch

    Question for those who have had a chance to see Gaudreau and Arnold play:

    How good are these two in their own end? It sure doesn’t sound like they spend a lot of time there, but do we have any idea how strong their defensive game is?

    • Byron Bader

      According to Lambert (who’s seen them play a number of times), Arnold is a very good two-player and because of his good two-way play Gaudreau and Hayes are able to cheat a little bit more. I don’t imagine Gaudreau is a Zetterberg or Datsyuk in his own end. So long as he doesn’t backcheck like Ovechkin, I’ll be ok with it.

  • MichaelD

    Question about signing players out of NCAA;

    When Hanowski signed his deal last year the few games he played counted as the first year, and Gaudreau has to sign a pro deal to make the jump so if he only plays in a few AHL games/AHL playoffs will it count as a year of his contract? Or can it be done as loan/signing a AHL deal, while the flames keep his rights to a full NHL contract?

    I ask this because of all the future questions, like ‘one year closer to UFA status’, ‘bridge contracts’ and such. Plus I don’t know the exact rules.

    i.e. Whats the smart thing to do from a contract managing viewpoint?

    • MichaelD

      Or can it be done as loan/signing a AHL deal, while the flames keep his rights to a full NHL contract?

      Yes. When he leaves College, the Flames have until August 15th to sign him.

      I know they did the AHL-contract-before-NHL-deal with someone before, but I can’t remember who and it may have been a free agent.

      • Brent G.

        We have until August 15 IF he goes back to school for one more year. JG isn’t eligible until 2015 to become a UFA this there is no timeline like what you speak.

        I’m with Primo, these comments are becoming horrendously predictable…

        • Parallex

          Not to be a nitpick (and by saying that I acknowledge that I totaly mean to nitpick) but he wouldn’t be a UFA. He’ll be signing a ELC which is restricted in term and restricted in dollars… so hardly qualifies for the “U” part of “UFA”. I know what you mean but that’s just a pet peeve of mine.