Gaudreau Watch: A Look Ahead

(via D.Mahoney)

Folks, if there’s one question I get asked the most in my travels nowadays – even moreso than “How majestic is Brian Burke’s hair in-person?” or “Why aren’t there more than two Pocket Dog stands in the ‘Dome?” – is “When is Johnny Gaudreau going to sign?”

Thankfully, that question is replacing the panicked statement, usually involving a fan clutching my arm or shoulders, “He’s going to sign, right?” After Al Morganti’s recent reassurances that Gaudreau will most likely sign here, barring war or insurrection, the next question is timing.

The short answer is this – he’ll sign when his college season is done, most likely.

The long answer is a bit more complex.

Johnny Gaudreau plays for Boston College, and Boston College is a really good team. They’re first in their conference, Hockey East. They already have a bye into the quarterfinals of their conference playoffs, which means they get next week off while the Merrimacks and Boston Universities of the world have to play their way in.

If Boston College somehow gets beaten in their quarterfinal match-up – and they’ll be playing the weakest remaining seed after the play-in games – their season is most likely not over. As of this week, they’re ranked #1 in the country by both and USA Today. [For the curious, Providence College is #12 on both, Yale is #15 & #14 and Colgate is #16 & #15.] That means that when it comes time for at-large bids for the Frozen Four, there’s almost no way Boston College isn’t getting one. So Gaudreau will almost assuredly get his crack at another NCAA Title before he finishes school. (There’s an outside shot that Providence College gets a trip to the big dance without a conference title, too.)

The Frozen Four regional games take place March 28-30. The four regional winners move on to Philadelphia – across the river from where Gaudreau grew up in New Jersey – for the national semis and finals on April 10 and 12.

If Boston College exits in the regionals, I’d imagine the Flames would try to ink him, and he’d join the team on the road – most likely in early April, as the team would give him time to grab some stuff to take with him. You can probably target April 1 in Toronto or the April 3/4 trip to Tampa Bay or Florida as the earliest he could wear a Flames jersey.

If Boston College makes it to Philadelphia, give up hope on Gaudreau wearing a Flames jersey this season, as Calgary’s regular season ends on April 13 in Vancouver. He would, however, possibly play in Abbotsford for the playoffs. The Heat finish off their regular season on April 19 in Texas, and should they make the playoffs – and the odds are good of that – they’d open up the following weekend.

Barring an epic Boston College collapse, Johnny Gaudreau will not make his Calgary Flames debut this season. There is, however, a fairly decent chance that he’ll play with the Abbotsford Heat at some point in the near future.

  • Lordmork

    I’d love to see Gaudreau get time with the Heat. I see zero point in rushing him. I’d rather see him dominate in Abby than struggle in the NHL. To be honest, I wouldn’t be upset if he spent most of next year with the Heat.

    • BurningSensation

      Personally I would like him to make the Flames out of camp, break Nieuwendyk’s rookie scoring marks over an 82 game season, and finish with Calder, Hart, and Conn Smythe trophies.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        How about we just make sure he’s ready for the show, before we crown him the next rookie sensation (no offence). It would be nice to see Johnny with another 20 lbs on his frame when he’s finally ready for the NHL, as well.

        • BurningSensation

          I prefer my rookies arrive fully formed (ala Selanne), score often, win a ton of hardware and lead us to the championship.

          If you prefer something more realistic, thats your problem.

          • Captain Ron

            I had the pleasure of watching most of Selanne’s rookie season home games in person. It was an epic good time in the old barn. The celebration after he scored the goal to pass Mike Bossy’s rookie record is forever etched in my mind.

            It will be a thrill for fans if Gaudreau can come anywhere close to that seasons performance. Don’t know if he will be that good but I have no doubt he will bring us out of our seats on a few occasions.

            Teemu was certainly fully formed when he arrived on the scene as a 22 year old rookie.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Listed on various sites between 5’7″ and 5’9″ so translating fact from fiction on NHL rosters, he’s likely 5’6″. Very few have made it at that size and defencemen bearing down on you at 6’4″ and 250 lbs is much different than college d-men. Having said that, he deserves every opportunity to prove himself at the AHL and possibly the NHL level.

    • BurningSensation

      Primo I am sure you know that he can’t be signed until his NCAA season ends; I suspect that the Flames have all the paper work ready and that it will be done rather quickly. Hopefully he will be so good as to make you forget about Rattie. Hopefully he is prepared to go Abby for the playoffs;it would be cool if he helped his team win the Frozen 4 and the AHL championship all in one season.(Yes I am dreaming; people on this site often say I should be more positive)

      • BurningSensation

        Hope your right Coachedpotatoe. When the time comes for him to be signed I hope it’s Brian Burke on the other side of that contact and not the Devils or the Bruins. I’m more confident with Burke in charge that he will sign here rather than Feaster.

        Sometime in the future there will be another ‘Justin Schultz’ situation….?

  • BurningSensation

    If the Flames have the option at the end of the season, NHL or AHL do they automatically try him with the big club? Or is playing with the Heat for a playoff run more realistic?

    I’m assuming Bill Arnold will be right beside him wherever he goes, can’t see them being split to make Pro debut. Ease of transition etc…

  • beloch

    League░░Average Age░░NHLE
    QMJHL░░░ ~18░░░░ 0.28
    WHL░░░░ ~18░░░░ 0.30
    NCAA░░░ ~22░░░░ 0.41
    AHL░░░░ ~24░░░░ 0.44

    For those who think Gaudreau definitely needs to be in the AHL for a full season, consider how the NCAA compares to other leagues prospects come from. It’s closer in terms of age and NHLE to the AHL than any of the others. Emile Poirier, who is playing in the QMJHL, would likely be well served by an extended stay in Abby. Gaudreau is physically small, but he has nothing to prove in the NCAA and will likely dominate in the AHL immediately.

    Next, let’s compare Gaudreau to Markus Granlund, who just came up from the AHL and is looking pretty ready for the NHL.

    ░░░░░░░ PPG ░░ NHLE
    Granlund ░░ 0.88 ░░ 31.8
    Gaudreau ░░ 1.88 ░░ 63.3

    So, for those of you who think Gaudreau needs a full year in the AHL before he’s worth calling up for a cup of coffee… Damn. This kid has double the NHLE of Granlund and is playing in a league that’s only a tiny step below the AHL! Gaudreau has earned his cup of coffee in the NHL, and I’d be honestly surprised if he doesn’t prove himself instantly useful.

    The best case scenario is for Gaudreau to win the NCAA championship with BC, just so he really has no reason to look back. Then, he should be an immediate adrenaline shot of offense for Abby in the playoffs. This kid is going to tear it up in the AHL! Then, he’ll have all summer for the Flames training staff to stuff him full of nutrition and work his butt off in the gym. I’m going to call it right now: Gaudreau will make the Flames out of camp next season.

  • BurningSensation

    I know this article is about Johnny G but I decided to take a look at Janko’s season. He had 11 goals 11 assists to finish 3rd in scoring at Providence,He was a +15; I know these numbers don’t stack up but he has progressed this year. Hopefully he will have a good playoff stretch in the tough NCAA.

  • beloch

    The latest schadenfreude:

    Flames Last 10: 7-3-0
    Oilers Last 10: 5-3-2
    Jets Last 10: 7-2-1
    Stars Last 10: 6-2-2
    Canucks Last 10: 1-8-1

    The Canucks are tied with Stars and Jets, but are sitting out of the last playoff spot because the Jets have won more games. The Jets also have a game in hand and the Stars have 3! Things are getting ugly West of the rockies!

    • mattyc

      I went to the Heritage Classic game here (I live in Vancouver), and fans booed Lack and called for Luongo all game (who Tortorella started instead of Luongo). Canucks fans are the worst at the best of times, but it’s especially ugly now. It’s kinda too bad because if healthy they should have a pretty good team…

      • piscera.infada

        It’s actually not “too bad” at all – not the injuries, because you never wish that on anyone, but it’s awesome to watch those fans implode on themselves. They deserve to have a team at the bottom of everything. I lived there for 6 years (I’m sorry you have to go through that), and their fans are not only the most fair-weather, but also the most outright horrible to fans of other teams who are just minding their own business (I had to stop wearing my Flames jersey around the city).

        It’s also interesting to hear them call for Luongo, because again, that fanbase has been horrible to him for almost his entire time there – I would love nothing more than for them to chase him away and turn back into the goalie graveyard they were for decades.

        • mattyc

          I’ve stopped wearing my jersey around too after a couple idiots spilling beer on me etc.

          Mind blowing that a fanbase that had to watch Dan Cloutier for so long is so brutal to Luongo…

      • Captain Ron

        It is immensely gratifying in a sadistic kind of way watching the Canucks and their fans fall apart in front of us. Having Tortorella behind their bench is the icing on the cake.

        I hope for Luongo’s sake he catches a break and is able to get out of town.

    • mattyc

      Roger Tweeted that Cammy said “This could be the last supper” or something very similar implying he could get traded I guess..

      Apparently it must have been a “Between us only” kind of comment because it sounds like Cammy blasted him in person or something.

  • Michael

    I don’t see any benefit in rushing the kid, let him get some playing time in the AHL this season, and then let him compete for a spot at training camp. Playing time is important, so let him beat out a Stajan, Backlund or Monahan for an NHL spot, or send him back to the AHL to anchor the first line.