Analyzing the Daily Faceoff Draft Guide: Can Johnny Gaudreau hit 80 points this season?

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Folks, National Hockey League clubs open their prospect camps later this week. Pretty soon it’ll be time for main camps, the pre-season and, inevitably, the fantasy draft season. You know what I mean: that week where every time you said “Sure!” to a league invitation from somebody you know comes back to haunt you. If you’re like me, you’ll have a bunch of drafts in the same week.

Instead of panicking or giving up sleep to prepare for your draft, your pals at Daily Faceoff – who post updated lines, pairings and starting goaltenders for every day of the regular season – have prepared their annual Draft Guide to help you navigate your annual fantasy conundrums.

Among the various prognostications in the guide is a projection for Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. Daily Faceoff’s crack team projects Gaudreau for his second consecutive 30-goal season and 76 points overall, a slight dip from his 78 points in 2015-16. But given the changes in Calgary over this past summer, could Gaudreau crack 80 points in his third full NHL campaign?

If you’d like the short answer, it’s “yes, probably.”

If you’re curious as to why that’s the case, it’s really three questions:

  1. Will Calgary’s coaching change make Gaudreau better?
  2. Will Calgary’s power-play be better than it was in 2015-16?
  3. Will Calgary’s scoring depth improve?

There’s no definitive answer to the first question, but optimists point to the improvements made by Jamie Benn during the period of time when Glen Gulutzan was head coach. While his production and possession fell back a bit in 2012-13 (likely one of the reasons Gulutzan wasn’t brought back for a third year), Benn’s individual Corsi events per 60 increased during his tenure, and the challenges Benn faced during Gulutzan’s tenure arguably helped Benn explode offensively in recent years.

(In that sense the answer is “Yes, eventually…”)

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In terms of the power-play, a cynic would answer “Well, it couldn’t get much worse than it was…” The Flames had one of the worst power-plays in the league for much of last season (and they were among the very worst special teams in the league overall). Ultimately, their power-play was 22nd in the NHL despite featuring two top NHL scorers in Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and a bunch of high-end defenders in Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton. If nothing else, the complete changeover of the tactical staff for the Flames PP – Gulutzan has been joined by former Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron, who’ll handle the power-play units – should freshen up the systems and provide a new perspective. For what it’s worth, if the Flames’ power-play was nudged up to the league’s average, it would equate to an extra four or five goals on the same number of extra-man opportunities. If you think Gaudreau would get a point on half of those, he’s at the 80-point mark already.

In terms of scoring depth, it matters in the sense that (especially on the road) Gaudreau saw a lot of the league’s top pairing defenders and shutdown lines. Why? Well, because his line was the only one consistently generating offense. If Sam Bennett can continue his growth and becomes more of a threat, or Micheal Ferland can finally translate his size and physicality to offensive situations, perhaps the Flames can develop more secondary scoring. Or perhaps Matthew Tkachuk and/or Hunter Shinkaruk can become full-time NHLers that can help ease the scoring burden. There are a lot of possibilities for the Flames to spread the offense around and become less of a one-line team, but none of them are certainties (and several of them are somewhat improbable).

The long and the short of it is that Gaudreau got keyed in on in a major way last season and still managed nearly 80 points on a team with one primary scoring line. Can he eke out two more points this season on a (theoretically) better-coached team with an improved power-play and better scoring depth? Unless his game significantly falls off and he ceases to be able to do the things that he can do, Gaudreau probably can crack the 80-point plateau this coming season.

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  • brodiegio4life

    if the flames had a legit top line RW to play with him and mony I have no doubt he would hit 90+ points, I mean he put up 78 playing with guys like Jones at RW :/

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Has the Flames FO royally painted itself into a corner by dithering on an extension to Johnny? Sure looks like it if Johnny’s performance in the tune-ups is any indication of what he intends to do this season.

    If he keeps playing like this for the rest of the tournament, how on earth can Tre tell Johnny he isn’t worth at least $8M a year?

    The way the Flames have been doing the pooch with Johnny’s reup this summer, the extra dough it is going to cost to ink him could have been used to pay in part the contract of another player who could help this team. By that I mean, the Flames might have had Johnny for $7M a year in early July, but now he might we worth a cool $8M a pop. That extra million could have gone to someone like Nakladal.

    Ownership’s dithering has once more foolishly and unnecessarily put this team behind the eight ball. Little wonder the Flames were on Benny Bishops no-go zone.

    • freethe flames

      After Teresenko signed for $7.5m there was no way Johnny was signing for $7m. Your comment about getting someone like Nakladal is still possible if they don’t have to pay over $8m. They can still add him as all they have to do is be compliant when the season starts to get Smid on LTIR.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      I hope McDavid gifts Gaudreau a whack of points and Calgary has to pay. Either you go into the season as a holdout or they make Calgary pay through the nose.
      Evidently he doesn’t want to sign long term here.
      If it gets done it’s a short term deal, then another big pay day. Up against the cap again! Wonderful job by Treleving. Yet the GM still walks on water in Calgary.

    • Macindoc

      No. Just no. Five RFA years, currently not eligible for arbitration or offer sheets. Nobody has ever been paid 8M for RFA years. Even if you go 6.5M/yr for RFA years (which is exceedingly generous and may equal the highest paid RFA years in the history of the NHL) and 8.5M/yr for UFA years (top 10 in the league for UFA years for a player who has not yet won any Cups or individual awards), the highest AAV you can come up with is 6.5X5 + 8.5X3 = 58M for 8 years (AAV 7.25M), which is essentially the Tarasenko deal with 1 more RFA year and 1 less UFA year. No way he gets paid 8M AAV just for scoring a few goals against the World Cup’s worst team in a pair of exhibition games. If you want to be exceptionally generous, offer him the Tarasenko deal in spite of the difference in the number of RFA years and the fact that Tarasenko has proven to be a 40 goal scorer, compared to Gaudreau’s 30, but even that is potentially a high risk deal for the Flames. There really is little room in the calculation of relative value for performance in the World Cup, it’s about what you have proven and are projected to do in the NHL. Maybe 100K/yr either way, but not 1M. In any case, Gaudreau’s greatest asset is that he gives his best effort in everything he does, exhibition or otherwise. Other players will ramp it up once the World Cup starts in earnest, and I believe that although Johnny will not look out of place in the tournament, he will not be among the top 5 scorers, either.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    I can’t remember if it was @Hockeyfan @Fire Scorpion or @Jeff of The Day, but a few months back, one of them was yapping about how Johnny Hockey will sign the exact same deal as Monahan, and how he is so classy, his contract isn’t about money and he will take less than he’s worth to play for the Flames. I note that Johnny Hockey is still not signed. So to who it was who said that (I think 2 of the 3 were), Savor That for a moment. Savor it.

  • Brent G.


    Those days are done in Edmonton, based on what? Last year you all thought you were legit contenders and finished bottom 5. If recent history has taught us anything…