When should we get nervous about Gaudreau’s contract?

It’s been over six weeks since Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan officially became restricted free agents – and a year and six weeks since they were eligible to sign new deals – and the hockey world remains patently aware of the fact that only Monahan has signed a new contract with the Calgary Flames.

While various media outlets have been doing their best impression of Kevin Bacon in Animal House – “Remain calm! All is well!” – we here at FlamesNation have been doing our level best to avoid blowing the lack of contract out of proportion.

But Gaudreau is still without a new contract and the 2016-17 National Hockey League season is quietly creeping towards us. When should we start to get concerned about the lack of a deal for Gaudreau?

WORLD CUP CAMPS OPEN

The pre-tournament exhibition games for World Cup of Hockey clubs begin Sept. 8 and all eight teams are expected to begin camp on either Sept. 4 or 5.

We had a previous report from TSN’s Gary Lawless that the NHL and NHLPA would insure players without contracts (such as the Gaudreaus of the world), so that’s not a worry. Gaudreau’s camp will likely allow the tournament to be a breather from negotiations. I wouldn’t worry too much if Gaudreau isn’t signed yet.

NHL CAMPS OPEN

The Flames are likely opening their rookie camp around Sept. 14 (prior to the Young Stars tournament in Penticton) and their main camp about a week later. Gaudreau (and Monahan) won’t be there, as he’ll be in Toronto for the World Cup. But the entire Flames hockey operations family will be in one place, which could provide a nice opportunity to lock everyone in a room together to get a deal done.

TRANSITION TO NHL CAMPS

The earliest Team North America could be knocked out of the World Cup is at the end of round robin, which would be Sept. 22. If they make it to the semi-finals and lose, they’re done on Sept. 25. If they go to the finals, they’re done on Oct. 1. These dates are important because unlike the World Cup, players would have to insure themselves to attend an NHL camp without a valid contract. Jarome Iginla did so in 1999 because he didn’t want to miss camp – he ended up missing the first three games of the 1999-2000 season before a deal was reached.

Or if they don’t want to take the expense on, they can always sit out and wait for a new contract.

If Gaudreau hasn’t signed by the time the World Cup ends, there’s a chance he could sit out the rest of camp until a deal is done, and that could potentially jeopardize his October performance. Particularly with a brand new coach, you want him to learn systems and be able to hit the ground running on Oct. 12 when the season begins.

So if he’s not signed by the end of the World Cup, maybe start to panic a bit.

DECEMBER 1

If Gaudreau has signed by Dec. 1, then he’s not eligible to play in the NHL for the rest of the season. If he’s already sat out the first two months of the season, then the Flames are probably in the NHL’s basement and already starting to build inventory for all the Nolan Patrick jerseys they’re planning to sell the season after.

So if that happens, panic. Panic like crazy.

THE GUT FEELING

If you ask me, I expect the deal to get done immediately after the World Cup ends for Team North America. The Flames will already have main camp underway, Gaudreau will have spent some time in the Toronto media fishbowl, and it’ll probably get to the point where everybody – even his camp – are tired of hearing about the lack of a deal.

And the prospect of arguably the best prospect the Flames have seen in years sitting out of training camp due to a contract dispute seems downright crazy and would make both sides look bad. If it seems like it may happen, I’d expect both sides to compromise a bit and get something done quickly.

  • Kevin R

    Again I maintain there is just a bunch of MSM posturing going on. I’m sure most have seen his interview a few weeks back & asked about his contract status. When he says he doesn’t get involved in the discussions & lets his agent (whom he trusts will do a great job job I might add) & will just sign when his agent tells him to, I take him on his word. If that is how he wants his contracts handled, I don’t really agree, I would certainly be involved & have an idea what I want, then why would negotiations stop just because he is playing in the World Cup? I can’t imagine him sitting out the full year, both sides will have a lot of explaining why. Now that Monny signed, I expect Gaudreau to sign soon.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I think it’s unfortunate if he is taking a completely laissez faire approach to his contract, because agents will more often than not fight tooth and nail for at least market value, if not more, and Gaudreau strikes me as the kind of kid who would be willing to give the Flames a discount. Doesn’t mean his contract will necessarily be a monster, but I think if he played a significant role in negotiations it might already be done by now (and probably a good value).

      • Kevin R

        That was my reaction after I heard his interview. It’s like FFS Johnny, this is big money & means a lot to fans & organization. Don’t mind getting best deal he can but be invested emotionally. Im sure it happens soon & am totally expecting a 6 year deal.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    I have a feeling we may see it a lot sooner than that. My expectation has always been that Monahan would come to terms first but wait to make it official until something with Gaudreau had been finalised as well. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen this week.

    Tre seems like a bit of a dominos guy. Lots of setup time and then boom, it’s over like that.

  • Bananaberg

    Signing Monahan first helps to anchor Gaudreau’s AAV. Strategically the right move by BT. Issue is that BT is negotiating only with an agent, not Johnny.

    I think we’ll see ink on paper before the WC tourney. Anything less than Tarasenko ($7.5) is fair. Hopefully the holdup isn’t over $500k in negotiations…..(less than 1% of the $73M cap).

  • King Quong

    The time to panic or be nervous is never cause it wont change anything unfortunately we just gotta sit and accept whatever happens. Hopefully he signs soon though.

  • Just.Visiting

    Let’s see.

    The Flames are ultimately in the entertainment business.

    JG does something really interesting that makes us go wow on almost every shift.

    BT is a smart guy.

    Signing JG is a really smart thing to do (the corollary in this case being not signing JG would be an incredibly stupid thing to do).

    Smart people do smart things…

    Logic says that it will get done, preferably this week.

    The wild card on this one the longer it drags on is whether one of the US teams will put an offer out there we will need to match with terms that are outside the range we had regarded as reasonable.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree with the substance of your post, minus the last bit.

      Gaudreau cannot be offer-sheeted. If he was eligible, this would have likely been dealt with a long time ago.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      We don’t need to worry about another team making an offer because gaudreau is not eligible to be offer sheeted by any other team. We burned a year off his elc with one game so he doesn’t have the required games played to be offer sheeted.

  • Baalzamon

    Personally, I think the holdup is on the Flames side. They want to try to get Gaudreau’s number under Giordano’s cap hit (6.75 million per) or, failing that, the long-standing unofficial ceiling of 7 million per (established in the Iginla days).

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t see Treliving letting the negotiation go into the World Cup. Gaudreau will be signed by September 1st at like 9:00AM once it’s clear the number isn’t coming any lower.

    • Druds

      your dreaming if you think he signs for 6.75-7 mill…the guy is Kane material…he will demand and get at least 8 million or he sits…he is American and he knows the value of a US buck. why should he play ball just because the flames are near the cap…its not their(agent and JG’s) problem.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      You won’t get Gaudreau under 7.5 and certainly not less than Gio’s contract.
      This guy is gonna get paid and he is not going to leave 1/2 mil on the table. Over an 8 year deal that’s 4 ml . Wishful thinking but it’s not gonna happen.

      • Baalzamon

        Seriously guys… read more carefully. I never said I expected, thought, or even hoped that Gaudreau would come in at any of the numbers I quoted. Read the post again.

        • Greatsave

          And I don’t think those guys are belittling you in any way in their responses. They sounded like they were simply responding to what you suggested the Flames’ management’s thinking was. That if indeed management is thinking like you suspected, then that’s “dreaming” and “wishful thinking” *on management’s part*. I honestly didn’t read anything from them that was directed at you personally.

          Dude, the props-to-trash ratio on your original comment is 23-1. I think we can all just take it easy.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I don’t care when it gets done, and expect it will happen before camp. I’m not a ‘sky falling’ guy or a conspiracy theorist, but I will not be surprised by a short term contract. In my view, anything more than 3 years will be a bonus.

    Really hope I’m wrong, and feel free to remind me if he signs for 5+. Happy to take arrows for worrying too much on this one.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Gaudreau is well coached in how to deal with the media; the line about how he is not closely involved in the process of negotiation and leaves it up to his agent is designed to not make Gaudreau look like the bad guy if things go sour.

    From reading the posters on this site I would say the strategy is working perfectly…..

    Gullible much…..?

    WW

    • Avalain

      Unfortunately, I agree completely. Why would he not want to work on the contract during the World Cup if he wasn’t even involved at all in the negotiation?

  • RKD

    Let’s calm down people! The Monahan deal was a complicated negotiation and it took a while to get done. If Monahan’s deal took a while then Johnny’s will be a lot more complicated. Or we will all wake up Monday morning and read how Johnny Gaudreau signed a new contract and there will be a Flames presser. I think BT will get him signed. The Flames brass would be crazy to not sign Johnny hockey or have him start missing part of the season sitting out because of contract issues. The last thing the Flames need is a distraction this season and bad for the dressing room.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I don’t believe for one second that Johnny is not actively involved in the fate of his future. It is rare to put unconditional trust in anything especially of this magnitude. IMO Johnny wants 5 years or less which is less than ideal for the Flames. If this is the case then Johny is playing a dangerous game with the psyche of his adoring and loyal fans.

    As a big fan of Johnny, I would feel somewhat cheated if he did not reciprocate his desire to sign a long term contract in Calgary. He could go from being a player who could have the key to the city to a player that fans move away from as the chosen one.

    The flip side, if it is determined that Calgary is low balling Johnny the fans could turn on management for not doing everything conceivably possible to sign at fair market value. The negotiation does not appear to be contentious but if management tries to drag it into training camp, I could see it souring.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I think the players feel that their agents will get them more than if they stick their noses into the negotiations. The agent knows what the kid is worth. The GM knows what he can possibly spend.

      BT does not want to have Johnny performance in the World Cup up his value, so he will be signed before then.

  • Summer drama. Everybody needs it.

    Also, this should probably say “has not signed”, otherwise we’re looking at a very empty NHL this year: “Gaudreau has signed by Dec. 1, then he’s not eligible to play in the NHL for the rest of the season.”

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Signing johnny for 5 years would be bad. He would be ufa and be able to walk. If it is lower than 7 years then go for 3 years and still have control over his contract. I think it will be a 7 year deal

    • Armchair genius

      Pullleez! Just watch Capt. Conner make that whole team better. Fn have their heads up there arses once again. I hope you piss off Johnny H and he bolts after 5

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      It is of almost everyone’s thoughts in the NHL that Connor is on the verge of surpassing everyone in the game. Name someone that can handle the puck at warp speed like he can . How about name someone that can actually skate at warp speed the way he can.
      Johnny is a really good player but please he ain’t no Connor,

      And Gaudreau signs for 7.5/ year no less

  • Dirtski

    This threads about Gaudreau so there shouldn’t be any Mcdavid talk – fans keep it classy.

    I’m watching this unravel from a city over. I have to admit – playing against the Flames with Johny on the roster keeps it interesting. No clue how this guy dances around all the players in the league and keeps possession – it’s brilliant to watch sometimes. He’s a major pain in the @$$ and what a steal in the draft. I hope he inks a good long deal with the Flames and we can see some good BOA’s for years to come. I’m thinking he get’s 7×7.