A short-term Gaudreau deal may be the best bet for all involved

The single most common question we’re hearing in regards to the Calgary Flames is “When’s Johnny Gaudreau going to sign?” The second-most common question is “And for how long?”

The challenge in forecasting Gaudreau’s deal is that there are a lot of different variables in play. What does the team want? What does the player want? Will their wants and needs change over the course of a long deal? What are the risks involved to each side?

After weighing as many variables as I could drum up, I’m beginning to believe that a shorter-term deal, something in the vicinity of three years, may be the best bet for everybody involved.

Gaudreau is an artist. When you see him in the locker room, there’s not a lot to him. He’s not big. He’s not an overly loud guy. But when you put him on skates and put a stick in his hands, he’s magic. Over the course of the past two seasons, he’s become arguably Calgary’s most dangerous offensive player and inarguably their most entertaining player. From a marketing perspective, he’s the team’s most valuable asset. 

And he’s only played two full seasons.

The challenge for both sides is this: there aren’t a lot of comparables to Gaudreau in the entire league, in terms of what he can do and how important he is to his club (in so many different ways).

Based on how valuable he is to them now, you can see the incentives for the Flames to lock him up for as long as humanly possible. If he’s signed for eight seasons, even at a crazy-high cap hit, the Flames can work around the cap hit and move bodies/salary and make it work (when a player is that good, you make it work.) 

But the length is also the risk. To get Gaudreau to sign away two years of unrestricted free agency, you’re going to need to open the purse strings. And as we’ve seen with the much-maligned Dennis Wideman deal, long-term contracts are risky because what if that player takes a step backwards in their development? What if they get hurt? Then you’re stuck with a diminishing asset with an albatross of a contract.

But if you’re the Gaudreau camp, the reason you’d rather not sign long-term is different.

First, let’s step around any whispering about Gaudreau wanting to go play back east, because it’s not really relevant to this discussion. The main aspect that’s risky for them is the length, because it locks Gaudreau in at a specific cap hit. The NHL is hoping that the cap will go back up as the North American economy gradually recovers and revenues increase. So in terms of just overall percentage of cap space allocated to Gaudreau, he’ll probably become relatively underpaid if he stays this good over a long-term deal.

But considering he’s super-young and has only played a couple seasons, what if he gets better? If you’re Gaudreau’s camp and you just saw him improve year-over-year for three seasons in college (and then for a couple of strong NHL seasons), you’re thinking he hasn’t plateaued yet. So why the heck would you lock a player that hasn’t plateaued yet to a long-term deal at what’s likely a lower cap hit than he can get in two or three seasons?

A three-year deal protects both camps in specific ways.

For the Flames, it allows them a chance to hedge their bets a bit in terms of injury risk or just the chance that the league figures Gaudreau out. In three more seasons, Gaudreau will have been in the NHL for five seasons and the comparable player pool will be much more clear. He will probably be what he’ll be for the rest of his career, and the Flames can feel less nervous about throwing a ton of cash at him. 

And in the event that a deal is tough to hash out, Gaudreau would be eligible for salary arbitration. Otherwise, if the Flames decide they’d like to cash out and move him, it’s easier to move a player that still has RFA years left because the acquiring team doesn’t take on a ton of risk.

For Gaudreau’s camp, it allows him a chance to prove that he’s a bonafide superstar in the NHL and really increase that cap hit into the elite figures. More seasons of offensive success means it’s much tougher for the Flames to try to talk him into a lower cap hit. 

In addition, the possibilities of salary arbitration and of an offer sheet provide extra incentive for the Flames to talk turkey early in the process rather than hem and haw about cap hits and comparables. If Gaudreau remains as good as he is for another three seasons, it’ll be time to (quiet frankly) shut up and pay the man. But right now, I can understand any nervousness about shelling out big, big bucks.

If I’m Gaudreau’s agent Lewis Gross, I look at the player and try to maximize the payout I can get for my client. (And, in a related note, to maximize the money I can make off him via my commission.) A shorter-term deal now, followed by a longer-term, higher cap hit mega-deal later on, allows for the most ability to tweak Gaudreau’s compensation as he further proves himself to be a superstar.

If I’m Flames GM Brad Treliving, I want to hedge my bets and mitigate risk. There are far fewer risks on the Flames end to signing a shorter deal now and perhaps giving Gaudreau a raise in three years than there are to signing him for eight seasons and seeing him regress in some way.

As much as we’d all love to see Gaudreau sign a really long deal with the Flames, the risk and rewards to both sides at the bargaining table seem to be working against that possibility. A shorter term, possibly around three years, would allow both sides to hedge their bets and maximize their bargaining position by essentially delaying a big commitment to a future negotiation.

  • CofRed4Life

    Valid point, but one question I have to ask, is what do you think is riskier/worse? Gaudreau possibly not living up to his contract in the latter years of a long-term contract, or having him continue to improve and then needing to pay him BIG money? That’s really what I see as the argument here. Which one has more cons? I personally would rather get him locked up long-term, because I don’t want to risk needing to pay him over $10 million because I thought he might plateau or get injured.

    • JSR

      Salary cap issues may come into play in three years time, when you’ve got to pay Bennett/Monahan/Tkachuk/Hamilton/Brodie/Gio…
      Someone will have to go…it’s probably going to be a forward…

  • OKG

    I look at the Blackhawks situation with Kane/Toews eating up a combined 21M and I would prefer to avoid that. That is an entire Patrick Sharp of a difference compared to Johnny/Monny for even 14.5 million. I do not consider either Gaudreau, Kane, Monahan, or Toews to be of much value at those cap hits. For that kind of money it’s pretty much Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson who represent full value. Even Kopitar, Subban and Benn are overpaid at their cap hits. Though give me those two over Kane or Toews or Gaudreau by a slim margin.

    Long term I want to keep our core forwards together (Gaudreau/Bennett/Monahan/Jankowski/Tkachuk) not trade one for pennies on the dollar.

    • Stud Puffin

      How the hell is Jankowski a core forward? Gotta lock up that potential 4th line centre if everything falls into place! On another note, I would hate a short term deal. Gaudreau is more likely to get better than regress. In 3 years you will be paying him 10+ million per year.

  • Petzl

    I was actually thinking the short term deal is the way things might end up going, the discussion probably stalls at paying for potential and how much is there/how much its worth. Give him 2-3 years at 6 and basically let him play his way into a 10 mil contract.

    I mean you pay one guy 10 and the rest of the core 6ish and under you can still build an extremely competitive team especially if Johnny proves he’s “that” level of elite.

  • Derzie

    Analysis paralysis. Pay the man and lets play hockey. We are already into the potentially-relationship-damaging timeframe. Look how the Subban negotiations played out. If they are letting albatross contracts (Wideman, Engs, Smid) influence signing their franchise player, shame on them. It’s a business but you have to use some common sense. There are times to be thrifty but this is not one of them. Practical, yes. Thrifty, no.

  • Pizanno

    Could it be that GM Brad is trying to unload some salary before signing Gaudreau to a contract he cannot at this time afford? I had a dream about Wideman in a Habs jersey.

  • Toofun

    I liked how this article started and the description of the risk/reward to both sides making the negotiation difficult. I thought I’d see an analysis of what the 3 year bridge deal would look like though.

    A long-term deal is probably $50-$60 million over 7 or 8 years. What is a 3 year deal? Is it 3X$5 million or 3X8 million? Is there a comparable out there?

    • Druds

      50 0r 60 million for 7-8 years works out to be around 7 mill a season which is what Brad is probably offering now and He is not signing so think again…He wants 9 million for 8 years minimum …which is why no deal is signed yet.

      • Toofun

        I thought the Tarasenko/Ekblad level at 7.5 for 8 years was a realistic ceiling and $7 for 7 years a realistic floor.

        Regardless, the point is what’s a realistic 3 year deal look like? We need to know what price Ryan is thinking of before we can weigh in on if we think it’s a good or bad idea. (Not that what we think matters but at least its interesting to talk about while we wait).

        • Greatsave

          If it were up to me, I wouldn’t want to be in the position of negotiating both Monahan’s and Gaudreau’s contracts in the same summer again, so I’d propose a $7m for 6 years as the floor instead.

          As for comparables, there aren’t much. I mean, name one young forward (22-24 y.o.) who’s reached a point-per-game in his ELC years. And who has signed a short-term (2-4 years) deal. Even Evander Kane got locked up for $5.25m x 6 straight after his ELC, and he only had 126 points in 213 games. Gaudreau had 143 in 160.

          One player I found was Matt Duchene. 150 points in 219 games over his ELC, signed a $3.5m x 2 bridge deal, over which time he scored a further 113 over 118, and ended up with a $6m x 5 deal afterwards. Without extensive research, this was closest bridge comparable to Gaudreau I could find.

      • Greatsave

        I know it’s open season for speculations, but to say that Gaudreau “wants 9 million for 8 years minimum” is bordering on lunacy. Stamkos just signed 8.5m x 8. If Gaudreau’s agent asked for 9m x 8 he’d get laughed out of the room.

        Even after a 3-year bridge deal, Gaudreau’s not going to break 10m unless the Flames win a Cup in those 3 years. I know inflation and all that, but nobody’s broken 10m without *multiple* Cups (Kane/Toews, Kopitar).

        • Druds

          I know but Stamkos is an old man and he gave a hometown discount to Florida…Toronto offered him 10 million +++ ( advertising deals etc)
          don’t kid yourself its not lunacy …kids are ruling the roost now and its his potential based on his previous two seasons so he can ask for the moon and probably is ….If there was no rookie salary cap I can only imagine what Connor would have asked for.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          If Johnny’s agent is asking for that kind of money (Stamkos+) he is doing so with the intention of Johnny not wanting to play long term in Calgary. I like the guy as much as the next person but that kind of money is not warranted….yet.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I don’t see it that way, I could be wrong but I feel Tree is hovering around Gio’s ceiling at 6.7m which is low, I feel if Tree was offering 7.5m ( Tarasanko money) this negotiation would be over. This seems to be be the understanding from a few hockey pundits like Roger Millions and Boomer… But it does mean that it is right.

    • Greatsave

      I think a 3-year deal would still have to have a higher AAV than Monahan’s 6.375m, but management may be able to stand firm on not exceeding Gio’s 6.75m. So, possibly 6.5-6.67m, or total 19.5-20m over 3 years?

        • Greatsave

          Interesting, I’ll look at Johansen’s in a bit. I suggested that Gaudreau’s AAV would still be higher than Monahan’s, simply because I don’t see how you would pay Gaudreau *less* than Monahan if Gaudreau is the one driving the bus, regardless of the length of deals. I don’t care if it’s a 1, 2, or 3-year deal; I simply don’t see how Treliving could get away with paying a point-per-game player anything less than what Monahan, a 60-point player, is getting.

          I could be wrong.

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          Johnny is older, so closer to UFA in age, while Monahan has 1 more year of experience. 7 years in the league or 27 years of age.

          Their UFA status kicks in the same year. Monahan will have 7 years after the 2019/20 season, while Johnny will be 27 in August of 2020. If you are signing Johnny to anything over 4 years, you are buying UFA years.

          • Macindoc

            Actually, since Johnny will be 27 in August 2020 and not on July 1, 2020, I believe he has 5 RFA years remaining.

            My best guess at a deal would be $6.5M/yr for his RFA years, escalating to 9M/yr for any UFA years included in the contract. This would work out to 26M (6.5M AAV) for 4 years, 41.5M for 6 years (6.92M AAV), 50.5M for 7 years (7.21M AAV), or 59.5M for 8 years (7.44M AAV). That’s right around Tarasenko money. Pretty sure they won’t sign for 5 years and have neither control at the end of the contract nor some UFA years included.

            Edit: the Tarasenko deal, for comparison, included 4 UFA years, since he already had 3 years of NHL service, while Johnny only has 2 years of service at the end of his ELC. So even though it could be argued that Johnny’s first 2 seasons were more productive than Tarasenko’s, this is offset by the fact that Tarasenko’s contract included another UFA year. Tarasenko’s deal is equivalent to 6.25M/yr for each RFA year and 8.75M/yr for each UFA year, less than what I’m suggesting for Johnny’s contract.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            Don’t know how I missed that. TBH, I don’t know how the specific rules work. Is the player a UFA the season after he turns 27 or the July 1st the year he turns 27? And does Johnny’s 1st game in 2013/14 count as a year’s service (since he burned the year) or is it the same as the NHL’s definition of a “professional season”.

          • Macindoc

            If a player is 27 on June 30 of the year a contract is signed, he is UFA. If he has 7 accrued seasons of service (defined as a minimum of 40 games on the active roster or missed due to injury in a given regular season), he is UFA. Johnny will not meet either of these criteria until the 2021-2022 season, which means he has 5 remaining UFA years due to his birthday and the fact that he only played 1 regular season game in his first season (which burned a year of his ELC but had no effect on his UFA status).

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            Actually, Monahan is closer to UFA than Johnny. To become a UFA it’s 7 years of NHL service or being 27 before the NHL year turns over (July 1st), whichever comes first. Because Monahan enter the league at 18, and has played 3 seasons, he’ll be UFA at 25 (4 more years). Johnny has to wait until just before he turns 28 to be a UFA because he only has 2 years in the NHL (The single game in 13/14 didn’t count as an actual season) and he won’t be 27 in time to be a UFA in 2020 (turns 27 a month too late).

            tl,dr; Monahan becomes UFA first because he’s played 3 years to Gaudreau’s 2 and Gaudreau turns 27 a month too late.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    What if he lights it up and in three years you have to pay him 9 ml? Not good business. I don’t think Gaudreau is going to take a step back and even at 1 ppg avg he will get paid more in 3 years than the 7-7.5 it’s gonna cost now.

  • Scary Gary

    I’ve always hoped Johnny could be a Paul Kariya light, of course he isn’t playing in the 90’s or with Selanne; however, even with the injuries Kariya was pretty effective for 13 years.

    I like something similar to the Filip Forsberg deal at $6M*6 for Johnny (until 28); we definitely don’t need to sign him into his 30’s with 8 years. $6.8*6?

      • Scary Gary

        Have you at least looked at Forsberg’s numbers? Forsberg is one year younger and had an almost identical first season to Johnny, with Johnny scoring 14 more points in year two. Tarasenko signed at $7.5*8 so $6.8*6 sounds like it’s in the ballpark based on the comparables.

        • piscera.infada

          You could make a very easy argument that Gaudreau outproduced Tarasenko in their first two years (.89 to .82 [for reference, Forsberg is at .77]). Quite simply, I’m of the mind that a Gaudreau negotiation is not one where the Flames should be frugal–if they were honestly going to play the “future cap concerns” or “we’re not sure about the development arc” cards, they should have been played on Monahan (who I’m not as hard on as some around these parts, but he’s unequivocally not the player Gaudreau is).

          Gaudreau has done nothing but shatter expectations everywhere he’s been. He’s done nothing to prove he will take a step backwards. He’s done nothing to prove he doesn’t want to be in Calgary. He has, though, proven to be an elite player in the NHL. Pay him like one, and don’t worry about it.

          • Primo

            It depends on how you define elite? My definition of a proven elite player in the NHL includes also making a difference in the 41 road games…that is where the issue remains…Johnny’s agent believes in your definition….I agree with the Flames organization…at this point he is not an all round proven NHL’er as you say…

          • piscera.infada

            The fact that his scoring chances, shot attempts, and shots on target stayed relatively similar between home and away, coupled with the fact that he did not have a large discrepancy in home/away splits in 2014/15, seems to indicate that the home/away splits in 2015/16 are more likely an anomaly than not. That said, it is a concern. I just don’t buy it as keeping him from being elite, as you seem to imply. Even with a poor home/away split, he still scored at just a hair under a point-per-game in his second season in the league. If that’s corrected moving forward, you’re looking at a player that’s well clear of the point-per-game mark.

          • The Fall

            I agree. He’s elite. There’s no need to argue that. The home/road split is real but given he faces similar match ups everynight, I suspect its psychological. That said it’s great timing for BT to negotiate.

            Negotiating after two seasons will work out best for the team. What would’ve happened if he figures this all out and runs away with the scoring title.

          • Greatsave

            I wouldn’t get hung up on his points difference between home and away last season.

            So Gaudreau scored 56 points at home and 22 points on the road last season. Guess who scored 51 at home and 21 on the road as a rookie? Patrick Kane. That kid turned out alright.

            You also have to consider the fact that opponents could key in on Gaudreau with matchups while the Flames are on the road, due to the lack of balanced scoring. Going forward, that should hopefully become less of a factor, giving Gaudreau a better chance of upping his road production.

            That said, you obviously wouldn’t give him Kane money today.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            The 22 points on the road would also be a concern in signing the player to a huge contract.
            I don’t know what other players of his ” ilk” are producing on the road but it may be an indicator that his size is what keeps him from producing on the road when other teams can ice the huge , favorable match ups against him.

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          Gaudreau was 1 ppg avg. 15 more points and that is a big difference. Forsberg = monahan. Gaudreau = Tarasenko 7.5 ml

          If you had to choose would you rather have Monahan or Gaudreau? Me I would take Gaudreau all day long.

          • Joe Flames

            It all hinges on how much the next contract costs.
            If he were to get 7 years at 7.5 M, we are paying him 52.5M over the next seven years.

            Say he signs at 6.5 for three years (no way he signs for less than monahan, regardless of the number of years), then plays great and gets 10 M long term after that, then for the next 7 years we are paying 3 x 6.5 plus 4 X 10 = 59.5 M. basically paying an extra year’s salary for nothing

            If BT can get him signed for something like stamkos money (8M), we would be paying 3 x 6.5 plus 4 x 8 = 51.5M. Actually less than signing him for 7 years now.

            The second contract probably comes out somewhere in between 8 and 10 per season, so we probably paying roughly the same amount over the next 7 years.

            it is more about managing your cap hit. better to pay more in the next couple years than a lot later when other players will be making more.

            If we go with a bridge contract the next negotiation will be key.

  • supra steve

    Not saying it’s time to go there yet…but what would Johnny fetch in trade to an eastern US club? Possibly Hall from NJ? What about Philly or Boston? Or Carolina?

      • supra steve

        Johnny may be “worth way MORE than JUST Hall”, or he may not. Six months ago I would have thought Hall would be worth way more than Adam Larsson, but we all know how that turned out. Contract numbers also affect value, and if Johnny’s agent is holding out for $8-9 million, his value to other clubs goes down. I still believe common sense will prevail, and a fair number will be reached…but if worst comes to worst and Johnny is moved for an asset of approximately equal value to Hall (or ‘way MORE”), then the Flames will be in good shape.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        Is he though? Hall is only one year older. He has a .86 P/GP compared to Johnny’s .89, not too huge a difference. Hall is a lot bigger. Hall also produced the points he did without having the mobile, offensive defenesman that Johnny has benefited from. Hall has never really had a Giordano or Brodie helping him break out of the D-zone and feed him a great breakout pass.

        I’m a huge Gaudreau fan, don’t take this as me saying I don’t like him. I just think it’s a little foolish to say he’s way better than a player who had to do it basically by himself for half a decade on a team that was comically bad. If anything, Hall’s production is that much more impressive considering how comically bad they Oilers were both on the ice and in mgmt. He very well could be, though, time will tell.

  • smatic10

    Interesting way to think about it and it might be the way this negotiation goes. In my opinion however, Johnny NEEDS to be signed for 7+ mill AAV for 6-8 years. Period. That is the best case scenario. It’s the only way to ensure our core is in place for a while. Any sort of bridge deal will only make him more expensive later and could potentially lead to a sour relationship hence leading to a trade. Overreaction? Maybe. But this is Johnny Hockey I’m talking about. Irrational fears are allowed.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    @ Ryan Pike
    “First, let’s step around any whispering about Gaudreau wanting to go play back east, because it’s not really relevant to this discussion.”

    I’m not sure why concerns a player may want to leave over (potentially) the next 8 years isn’t relevant. Locking up a players rights long term should provide 2 benefits to a team: (1) restrict a players movement over the contract (2) arguably a less costly contract.

    This is the point of a long term contract.

    Elite players are signed to long term contracts all the time. Gaudreau is no different.

  • BurningSensation

    This entire post has the feel of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief.

    We may have officially entered into ‘bargaining’, pray we dont get to ‘anger’ and ‘despair’.

  • StarIV

    Many believe, like myself, that Johnny is an elite player. Elite players are difficult to compare because they are so few similar players: Elite players are unique and have different skill sets from each other. However, was can look at their cap hits to see if we can find a pattern.

    Here are the AAV of some elite players and the cap hit of their second contract: Crosby (8.7), Stamkos (7.5), Kane (6.3), Toews (6.3), Tavares(5.5), Benn (5.5), Getzlaf (5.3). These numbers can be increased due to increases in the cap hit (E.G. Getzlaf was 9.3% of the cap hit when signed, being equivalent to 6.8 in today’s cap).

    The interesting part is that these players signed 5 year deals, except Tavares signed for 6. All players made the jump directly from being drafted, aside from Benn and Toews, who took an extra year. Johnny, meanwhile, took three years to jump to the NHL after being drafted. This alone makes it difficult to find a comparison contract.

    I believe a similar contract for Johnny, in comparison to these contracts, would be for 3 years in a range from the low 6’s to 7.0, since his contract would expire at a similar age compared to the other players. A difference would be that Johnny is still RFA after his contract expires, while the other players were UFA.

    Obviously, it’s hard to compare Johnny to other elite players due to his size and his age when signing his second contract. I’m sure the uniqueness of this situation makes coming to a deal difficult for both sides.

  • SmellOfVictory

    However you paint it, the risk/reward scenario here clearly favours a longer term contract for the Flames. From Gaudreau’s perspective, you could consider short term to be better, or long term, depending what is valued (opportunity versus stability).

  • The Fall

    Johnny could have signed anywhere before signing in Calgary. He’s not going anywhere. He has no arbitration rights, and there are no offer sheets to come. BT has all the leverage. If Johnny is ‘holding out’ we’ll see after the WC: sitting out of training camp will be his only option.

    All this seems to point to his agent playing chicken with BT.

    A bridge deal is ridiculous — he’s a top two draft pick basically for free. You lock him up.

      • The Fall

        8.6(c) College Players

        (iii) If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19, who had received a Bona Fide Offer in accordance with Section 8.6(a)(ii) above, becomes a bona fide college student prior to the second June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft and remains a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain the exclusive rights of negotiation for his services through and including the August 15 following the graduation of his college class.

        (iv) If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19, who had received a Bona Fide Offer in accordance with Section 8.6(a)(ii) above, becomes a bona fide college student prior to the second June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft and does not remain a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of his services until the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft.

        the hayseed Oilers fans have a hard time reading…

  • deantheraven

    I watched that video of all Johnny’s goals last season and I swear he score at least 20 from the right side. Some weeks ago someone here posed the question: Why not put Johnny on RW? See what the new staff + prospects do in camp. Soo looking forward to this year. So please, no more article speculating on contracts, ok?

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    If I am Johnny’s agent, Lewis Goss my negotiation with Tree starts with sitting down with a big bowl of popcorn and revelling in that 30 goal clip. This is a special player that deserves to be paid like a special player. I feel a bridge contract sends the wrong message to the player and the fans. Why should we have to go through this again in 3 years always wondering if he wants to resign.

    Both the player and the organization have indicated they want a long term deal, this may not be the case next negotiation so why jeopardize it. The article talks about ” what happens when the league figures Johny out”, well they figured him out temporarily on the road but that speaks more to the lack of team depth. Good players re-invent themselves and based on Johnny’s history he continues to do that.

    To get 30 goals in this league, without having a notable slap shot, wrist shot, or backhand is beyond scary for opposing teams. As shifty as Johnny is, I seem to recall that he has only scored 1 or 2 goals in the shootout. How many of his 30 goals were scored on the PP? He is bound to improve these parts of his game. To be a top 10 player without a full arsenal puts Jonny in a select category. So the better question is ” what happens when Johnny figures the league out”.

    I say the organization needs to pay a premium now for fear they cannot afford his next contract. As part of the entertainment industry, organizations need to embrace the players that bring fans out of their seats like Bure, Kane, OV, Sid, McD, and Johnny….to name a few.

    If the tone of the negotiation centres around Johnny not showing enough yet, I doubt other teams would be that reluctant to reward his short career. Waiting until Johnny lines up with McD in the World Cup before showing a high level of commitment to the player is dangerous on so many levels.

  • Macindoc

    Ran some numbers on the Monahan contract, and to the best I can figure, assuming that a UFA year gets paid somewhere between 1M-2M more than an RFA year in a high-end young player, they probably calculated his value as 5.75M/yr for 4 RFA years and 7.25M/yr for 3 UFA years, for a total of 44.75M minus a 375K “hometown discount” for a final total value of 44.375M. Now if you assume that Gaudreau (compared to Monahan) is worth:

    -0.5M due to his diminutive size/inability to take face-offs,
    -0.5M because he does not hit (truculence!),
    -0.5M because he is a winger,
    -0.5M because he can’t get offer sheeted,
    -0.5M because he has not yet shown the leadership skills to get a letter,
    +1M because he is a higher point scorer (quite comparable in goals),
    +1.5M because he is exciting and puts fans in the seats and sells jerseys, and +1M for his future potential to be a superstar/face of the franchise,

    I suspect Tre is offering an extra 1M/yr for each UFA and RFA year, which would be 6.75M/yr for 5 years and 8.25M/yr for 3 years on an 8 year deal, for a total of 58.5M on an 8 year deal, AAV 7.3125M.

    Very hard for Gaudreau’s agent to argue that his deal should be worth more than Tarasenko’s, considering that Tarasenko’s deal had 4 RFA and 4 UFA years. If Tre gives Gaudreau 8M/yr AAV on an 8 year deal that is more than half RFA, he is out of his tree. That would be like offering 7.25M/yr for RFA years (unprecedented as far as I know) and 9.25M/yr for UFA years in a player with 2 years of professional experience and no Stanley Cups. Yes, he has a higher ceiling than Monahan, hence the extra $1M/yr, but also a much higher risk of not reaching that ceiling at this point in his career.

    I could live with an extra 1M/yr in Johnny’s UFA years (so 9.25M/yr), bringing the total to 61.5M for an AAV of 7.6875M, but anything beyond that would be unprecedented for a player at this point in his career and would be a very risky deal for the Flames.

    In comparison, I am presuming Tarasenko’s agent probably negotiated a deal based on 6.5Myr for RFA years and 8.5M/yr for UFA years, or 6.75M/yr for RFA years and 8.25M/yr for UFA years. Either way, even at 58.5M over 8 years, Johnny would be getting a deal that’s equal to or better than Tarasenko’s, considering the number of UFA years.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      It is hard to argue with these calculations. However, I don’t see Tree being this generous. I don’t think he has gone over 7m. The 7.3 to 7.5m will likely be top end. Johnny’s agent can’t argue that Johnny is worth more than Tarasenko. Personally, I think they would take 7.5 but they don’t want 8yrs. I think they want 4-6yrs. This is not great for the Flames but if they can get at least 6 yrs that might be the best we can hope for.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          Well this is awkward, I typically spend my time on these sites propping up Johnny’s value. I now find myself, trying to find holes in Johnny’s game to justify why he should not exceed 7.5m. At this stage, I feel Tarasenko has more of a complete game than Johnny. I think Johnny’ upside is greater. If he wants Calgary as much as he says he does then Tarasenko’s contract is the ultimate comparable. Remember this is the same guy that said he would be fine with matching contracts with Monny…. so 7.5m should be more than enough.

      • Macindoc

        Supply and demand. RFAs have few options except to sign with the team holding their rights. Yes, they can hold out or request a trade, but this may affect how the public views them and ultimately which teams and sponsors want to sign them in the future. So RFA years are always worth less than UFA years. Especially for players not eligible for offer sheets or arbitration.

        Contract amounts are determined by how much the team and agent hash out each RFA and each UFA year is worth based on the market and the player’s ability to take advantage of the market (hence the difference between RFA and UFA years). Once they agree on a total number, they just have to hash out how much will be paid each year, depending on the player’s desire to get paid more in earlier years (more dollars earlier mean more opportunity to invest those dollars and make them work for you) versus the tax implications of getting paid much more in some years than in others, the team’s desire to front or back load the contract based on whether they think they may want to trade the player in the latter years of the contract, the league’s limitations on down-diving contracts, the team’s finances, and, as we saw in Monahan’s case, unique factors such as a player’s desire to protect the contract from lock-outs in a CBA year by having a lower salary and a large signing bonus in that particular year.

        This is why bridge deals always have a lower AAV than long-term contracts, since they don’t include any UFA years. True, teams offering bridge deals are taking less risk that they will waste money on a bust, but they are running a higher risk of paying more in the long run or even losing a player because they can’t afford them if the player meets or exceeds expectations. That’s why bridge deals are rare for high-end players. Since the risks of a bridge deal for a high-end young player generally exceed the risks of a long-term contract for the same player, bridge contracts are rare in such situations, and are more commonly seen with bubble players, who have a higher risk of being busts. So this leaves the lack of options an RFA has as the main reason why longer-term deals on players finishing their ELCs have a generally higher AAV, because the team is buying up more UFA years, which are significantly more expensive than RFA years because the player would actually have other options in those years for a higher income (see annual Free Agent Frenzy to refresh your memory).

        I’m not pretending to have any insider information here, I’m just trying to inject some logical deduction into this discussion, where recently I have been seeing and hearing some wild speculation without any stated reasoning to back it up (some people are comparing this contract with those of established players who signed UFA deals, and others are comparing it with contracts signed by generational players). If you have some more detailed explanation of you POV, I would be happy to see it.

        Obviously, the player’s agent will try to present comparables that aren’t really comparable, but it’s clear that Tre does his homework, and while he will negotiate and bend to a point, he will also make it clear that he is aware of the player’s true value in the market, and won’t depart egregiously from that value. Tarasenko really is the closest comparable in this case, although slightly different because on the one hand, his point totals in the first two years of his ELC were less than Gaudreau’s, but on the other hand, he had similar points and ten more goals than Gaudreau in his contract year, and furthermore, Tarasenko had one less remaining RFA year.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    On another note… I remember when Bouwmeester was in Calgary fans couldn’t wait to see him go . Now he is Team Canada’s World Cup addition now that Kieth is out with injury.
    Maybe start an article on why he was picked ahead of Calgary’s guys?

  • The Beej

    @Pike
    Totally disagree.

    Which is strange because i totally disagreed with FN regarding Brodies bridge deal. I was right about that one and We didnt get burned after Brodies bridge deal depite all the doom and gloom forcasted on FN.

    On this one though… giving Gaudreau a bridge deal could be the difference between paying him 7.5 or 10.5 in 3 years which is kind of a big deal. We want to keep our window of contention open.

    Pike what gives. This makes no sense. You opposed the bridge deal for Brodie. Brodie wasnt a top scorer. Jon is which makes a bridge for him far more risky.