Waiting for Gaudreau: The final stretch

As far as the Calgary Flames are concerned, the World Cup of Hockey is over.

Team Czech Republic and Michael Frolik are done, as are Team Finland and Jyrki Jokipakka (and training camp invite Lauri Korpikoski, for that matter). Team Sweden has moved on to the knockout rounds, but with Mikael Backlund out with a concussion, he isn’t playing, either.

And neither is Team North America. A loss to Russia during round robin play ultimately sealed their fates, and what was once one of the more exciting teams to watch as of late is no more.

That means Johnny Gaudreau is, for the time being, essentially without a team.

At least until he gets a contract signed.

Now we play the waiting game

We’re in the final stretch of waiting for Gaudreau to re-sign.

Gaudreau said he didn’t want to talk contract while he was playing in the World Cup. That doesn’t necessarily mean there was no progression on it – Gaudreau and his agent are two different people – but if he wasn’t going to talk, he certainly wasn’t about to sign anything.

That’s no longer an issue.

With Freddie Hamilton having finally re-signed, Gaudreau is the lone loose end left for the Flames. Training camp is time for Glen Gulutzan to get to know his players and start to get a sense of his lineup; Brad Treliving’s responsibilities aren’t quite as pronounced when players take to the ice again.

He’ll have other things to look after – potentially signing additional contracts, whether they be of the PTO or Jakub Nakladal variety (will we ever stop talking about him? Probably not) – and managing the cap in order to be compliant for the season opener (Sam Bennett getting sent down to the AHL so the Flames can count Ladislav Smid’s cap hit is going to be fun for the uninitiated). 

But priority number one remains Gaudreau. And now, there are no more distractions.

The Flames start the season on Oct. 12. That’s about two and a half weeks away.

The waiting game sucks, let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos

As long as Gaudreau doesn’t have a contract, he can’t participate in training camp. He doesn’t have insurance. The NHL/NHLPA reportedly paid his insurance during the World Cup; they aren’t going to pay it for Flames training camp.

Recall that Jarome Iginla was once a training camp holdout, and he paid his own insurance in order to participate.

That’s probably not going to happen with Gaudreau, but at least it doesn’t really matter that much.

Training camp is for getting players back up to speed. Gaudreau has just played a handful of exhibition games, plus three round robin games in a best-on-best tournament at the World Cup. He scored two goals and two assists over the three games – that’s tied with Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Jonathan Toews for the most in the round robin. His legs are probably back under him by now.

And it’s not like he has to get to know the players on the Flames and build chemistry with them. He’s not new to the team.

If Gaudreau ends up holding out through preseason games, there’s actually a bit of a silver lining to it: there’s less chance of an injury.

Remember when T.J. Brodie got hurt in the Flames’ first preseason game, and that injury destroyed pretty much the Flames’ entire October? Gaudreau has played just about his entire career without getting hurt, but preseason can get flukey in its essential meaninglessness. Playing fewer meaningless games won’t be a bad thing for him at all.

  • This trying to sign him under Gio’s salary is pure piss. Get it for as long term as possible, pay him 7.5 and be done with it already. Tre could literally lose the respect of fans over this. We all know what he’s worth, pay him.

    • Baalzamon

      Gaudreau’s asking for 8. If Treliving comes in one day and gives ground to the point where he offers 7.5, Gaudreau’s going to hold out longer to see if he can make the number go higher.

  • T&A4Flames

    If he isn’t signed, like immediately, would Gaudreau still take part in the team meeting/classroom parts of training camp so that he can still try to understand GG’s new systems before he hits the ice?

  • Druds

    I was laughing at all the fans saying JG will sign at 6.5 million and thats that…LOL

    This guy is good and he knows it so BT and King better open up the wallet or Im thinking JG is sitting out and waiting. This does not bode well for future negotiations and the fact that he might ask for a trade looms as well…there are many rumors of him desperate to be in the US and away from cowboy hats and barn smell…

  • Just.Visiting

    Negotiating rule number one: “It doesn’t matter if the other guy gets a good deal as long as you get a good deal.”

    Negotiating rule number two: “Don’t leave a bad taste in the other guy’s mouth with the deal you are able to negotiate. Somewhere, somehow it will come back to haunt you.”

    Who are the top ten players in the league who you will pay money to watch because of the skill and potential results they offer as a game changer? Any one want to make the case here that JG isn’t one of these?

    Who are the top ten players in the league in salary?

    A cursory glance at the web tells me that there are about 20 players making at least $7.5MM this year.

    I hope this gets done soon.

    • BurningSensation

      Negotiating rule #3, Open with an offer that is ‘barely credible’. For JG it’s $8M, for Treliving its ‘less than Gio’.

      JG will come down, Treliving will eventually move up, and we’ll all be happy for a long time.

      • jakethesnail

        Stamkos agent started with 10 million and wouldn’t come down…Stamkos got involved and he settled for getting 9.5 million in year one and 6.5 million in years 7 and 8.

        So when McD contract is up his agent will ask for 12 million starting and the oilers will have to trade another 6 million dollar guy for peanuts.

      • jakethesnail

        Pure conjecture about what Johnny is asking and what Tre is offering…Tre and Johnny’s agent have been tight lipped about any negotiations.

        And I think that Eric Francis just put up a trial balloon as to what Johnny’s agent was asking for and talked to a few GMs about whether it was reasonable or not and poof – it becomes fact because it has has been talked about…I say BS!

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I am not sure why Tre would want Johnny to go into the World Cup of Hockey without a contract. Some would argue that it is such a small sample size that it will have no impact on the negotiations. This would have likely been the case if Johnny had an average World Cup but that was not the case.

        If we factor in the Exhibition games, he was the leading scorer with 8 points in 6 games. If we include only Tournament games, he bows out of the tournament tied for 2nd in scoring with 4 points. All one needs to do is look at the World Class players that did not even register a point in the tournament to see what kind of accomplishment this is. McDavid had 3 points in 3 tournament games and none in the Exhibition games. He showed lots of sizzle but no…..

        It is hard to argue that Johnny was one of the best players in the tournament.
        When Johnny outshines Generational players like McDavid and Eichel and helps put the team on his back without prime minutes and carries them as far as he can; he can command top dollar.

        The face of the new generation of hockey player is right here in Alberta so why not do everything to keep him here for a long time. Who knows when we will see another one like him.

  • Derzie

    Pay the man. No one will congratulate you for pinching pennies with your superstar unless they are cheapskates (i.e. money matters more than anything). Would you rather spend 1.5 extra on a productive & appreciated Johnny or piss Johnny off and bring in a plugger with the savings. Pick your battles Brad.

  • Backburner

    The longer this goes on, the more fearful I am that someone will offersheet him. Not to sign him, but to put the Flames in Cap hell.

    Let’s get it done boys.. yesterday.

  • The Sultan

    Honestly all the Oilers fans can stop worrying about Gaudreau signing. Just because you lost your best player for pennies on the dollar doesn’t mean the Flames will. Remember, unlike most/all the players up in Edmonton, the players in Calgary actually want to be here.

    And enough about cowboy hats and barns. It beats outdated mottos and endless merge lanes. Edmonton shouldn’t even be in the NHL. Oh well. That’s what you get from fans who’ll pay money to come check out am empty arena. Where you aren’t even allowed to leave or you’re not allowed back in.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Empty arena??? Where the hell have you been . Edmonton sells out every game and will continue to do so, even in the best sports facility in the world!!

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          We do . Much improved team from last year.

          The problems that were with the Oilers have mostly been addressed .still need one more d . This team is a much different club from the last 6 years

      • Gfountyyc

        lol I lived in Edmonton the past two years. Sure they got a mcdavid bump but it can be pretty empty. I would go with my buddies and buy lower bowl tickets for 30 bucks just before the game…..and we would cheer for the other team.

        Oilers suck

          • Gfountyyc

            I have no reason to lie. I had a great time for sure. Seriously we had lower bowl seating for both the Tampa bay and for Arizona and another game I don’t remember who.

            A lot of tickets don’t get purchased so if you buy them an hour or 2 before the game if would cost like 25% face value. There was a ticket ventor across the street from rexall and we would spend the saved $ on beers.

            It can get busy but I think your idea of the attendance might be inflated

    • Druds

      just be glad we got into the NHL otherwise you would never have …oh right you had to buy a used team from Atlanta and you still use their Moniker “the Lames”.

      • Brent G.

        You’re not funny.

        What difference does it make where Calgary got their hockey team? Since we’ve had them there has been enough support we’ve never come close to losing them either. How many times has moving the Oilers come up in the past 30 years?

        • BlueMoonNigel

          WHL? On my keyboard the L and the A are at opposite ends of the home row, so we can’t blame your error on a misspelling. More like stupidity based on your asinine cheap shot at the WHA. Don’t know if you’re too young to know or too old to remember, but before you start slagging the WHA, check the facts!

  • The Sultan

    McDavid bump = 2 more seasons (barring injury of course, I mean he’s only played 49 NHL games but he’s the best player ever no comebacks Oilers rule lol).

    Bettman: Here’s 4 first overall picks, plus a couple other top 10. Let’s make Edmonton GREAT AGAIN

    Edmonton: *does the complete opposite*

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Given the health concerns of Monny And Backlund….this is the best opportunity for Janko to crack the starting line up. I am not sure if Hamilton plays Center but Janko might even get a shot as a right winger.

      After watching Janko (streamed) in Penticton, he appears to be more of a Backlund 200ft type player. He definately won’t wow you with his offense, as indicated by a pretty weak penalty shot but his vision and Hockey IQ will keep him as a mainstay in the league.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall in these Gaudreau conversations. Is he wanting too much . Are the Flames wanting to long a term? Who knows but obviously not on the same page.
    Just a theory but I think he is looking for a shorter term cuz if he produces like a top ten guy his salary would greatly increase from the 7.5 ml he is likely to get now.

    • supra steve

      And just imagine the improvement in his standard of living…going from roughly $7 million per year to better than $10 million (potentially). He’ll finally be able to brush with a new platinum toothbrush every night, after settling for solid gold during his second contract. I guess it’s good to have something to aspire to, gives you that incentive to perform.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Johnny is all about family. You know that extra $3M would not be squandered on stupidity. Pop Gaudreau would never allow for it as he raised Johnny right.

        Easiest job in the world is to take shots at guys who actually do something with their lives.

          • RedMan

            Train is still sulking because McDavid was only about the 5th best on the team,when train expected him to outshine everyone. And the insult to add to his emotional injury is the fact that Not only was Gaudreau better, but so was Eichel AND Mathews! (& Eckblad)

          • Arminius

            Haha Yeah is Train ever sulking.
            Little suck..during the prelims when Johnny was dusting Conner he says Oh wait till the games matter Captain Conner will show up and show everyone! The cream rises to the top.
            Prelims over, Johnny starts building a highlight package and is the top scorer on the team..Conner misses open nets and manages a couple assists.

            Generational though! Ha!!

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            Nobody questions McDavid’s speed. You keep talking about how other-worldly he is in every thread. You should be honest to yourself and ask if he was the reason for winning any of the games. He contributed like every player there. He had a beauty of a pass for Matthew’s tap in. He drove the play to the net on the opening goal by Matthews against Sweden, but the goal was scored by Matthew’s and Reilly’s conserted effort after the initial play.

            If you continue to argue McDavid was the best player, then there are quite a few that will dispute. He had breakaways but didn’t convert. That is not dominating the game. MacKinnon and Gaudreau both had GWG’s and they ere both amazing to watch. Johnny scoring on the breakaway was fun to watch because he managed to score. MacKinnon was dead tired and still managed to deke out the best goalie on the ice.

            Maybe Johnny Hockey is “generational”. Hightest scoring NHL player under 23.

          • Cain

            Johnny( 8.5M per) Hockey!!!

            He looked a little pedestrian on the penalty shot though.

            Not sure if he’s generational, but he damn sure is going to be expensive…PAY THE MAN!!!!

          • Macindoc

            No, no, NO! 8.5M is UFA money, for an elite player without a Stanley Cup ring. You can pay him 8.5M/yr for his UFA years, but his RFA years are worth about 6.5M each (overpay for an elite UFA is about $2M AAV). Everyone seems to think he has a limitless ceiling. I think he is already near his ceiling, considering that his first full season was 3 years after his draft. He is a 30 goal scorer, not a 40 goal scorer like Tarasenko, and he has more RFA years left than Tarasenko. He can’t play on the PK and has been highly sheltered with offensive zone starts. A large number of his points come in 3-on-3 OT, which disappears in the playoffs. He’s a great player, but an 8 yr 7.5M AAV deal would actually be an overspend based on the market (RFA with no arbitration rights and ineligible for offer sheets), the comparables, and the number of RFA years remaining, and would be a very risk deal for the Flames, given that there isn’t enough data to predict whether he will continue to develop. Not to mention that it would virtually guarantee that they couldn’t sign both of Bennett and Tkachuk at the end of their ELCs.

          • Arminius

            8.5? 8? Never happen. This isn’t Edmo nton negotiating here. I can imagine it must be frustrating seeing Treliving signing his guys to fair deals Brodie, Hamilton and Gio all coming in below what the clamor was that they’d be signed for..as will Johnny. Sorry bit you don’t pay someone who has just managed a ppg pace for a season once and tallies 4 points in 3 world cup games 8 to 8.5 . You just don’t..someday sure maybe but not at this point

          • The Sultan

            This guy is just blatantly trolling at this point. Just because you guys handed out 7X7 to an aging third-liner who plays a style of game that his body can’t handle doesn’t mean the Flames are going to do that. When all is said and done Gaudreau’s contract will be similar to Lucic, and I can tell you which one I’d want to have on my team.

            And twice on Sundays. Or during the World Cup. McDavid sucks.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            You think Lucic is a third line winger?? Just shows your lack of hockey knowledge.
            He is the prototype for an NHL power forward. You talk about his body breaking down? He has missed about 8 games in the last 6 years.
            I’d like you to back up your argument that he is a third line winger.
            Another thing about Lucic is that he can handle playing with some of the best in the league.
            He ,McDavid , and Eberle taking one timers are going to be a nightmare for teams to handle

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Mathews was also good but it was McDavid making the plays happen. Take a look back at the goals Mathews scored and that will show you.
            I was surprised that Eichel looked a level lower than the top guys though.

          • RedMan

            It’s so funny… Edmonron hae all those first overall picks, franchise players and “generational talent”, but none with the the pure skill of Gaudreau.

            Will McDavid ever catch him? It’s possible, even likely, but at this point you can’t blame flames fans for enjoying the reality.

            And then there is the all time record Edmonton is poised to set… most years out of the playoffs ever! More fun for flames fans!!! 😀

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Why talk about Gaudreau and McDavid. Johnny is good but if you think for a moment that any Gm in the league would take him over McDavid , you are simply not living in a reality. As of right now Gaudreau doesn’t even have a contract to play in the NHL.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            There is no angst , only optimism as Connor will most likely lead the league in scoring this year. This guy is the real deal and you absolutely know it and it kills you inside when you think about it.
            I don’t care if Johnny does good or bad. It is irrelevant to me but when Connor does good it eats at you.

  • slapshot444

    Don’t blame Johnny for any of this. Look at his agent’s history. The guys a dick. Sometimes an ego gets in the way and they are actually negating for that and not their client. I suspect thats what we have here. The moment the season starts Johnny will cut to the chase and tell him to sign. It’s only the fans that are sweating this out. Johnny will sign by somewhere in the second week of October for somewhere above or below 7 mill.

  • everton fc

    I think he holds out for $8mill. Any team in the league would pay him $8mill, long-term. It is what it is…

    I also think they sign him soon. Very soon. Unless someone knows something otherwise, meaning they are still far apart.

  • freethe flames

    As we wait for Johnny to sign can we talk about what is actually happening at camp. Did anyone go and see any of the sessions? I heard that Tkachuk/Bennett/Brouwer were a line. Any other combinations that people noticed?

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Lol haha! He was good but not the best!! You know this buddy .you watched the games and saw the highlights and nobody brought the games out of the seats like McDavid did with his end to end rushes!!
      I still think he gets signed to four years at 7.5 per

      He wants a shot at the big money

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Even the most die hard McDavid fan knows that McDavid was not even close to being the best player even on his team….forget the tournament. He definately brings players out of their seats but without finishing…it goes down as great potential. Johnny, McKinnon, Ghost, and Matthews stood out. We had a guy named Paul Byron that would bring fans out of their seats but left us frustrated when he couldn’t score. Throwing the captaincy on a 19 year old is a lot of pressure.

  • RedMan

    You have to realize, when dealing with Train, that he is actually at the pinicle of the season for Oiler fans. From the draft to training camp… the oilers are cup champions to train every year. Then the off season – (Oct to April) rolls up and train will get more quiet by the day.

  • MontanaMan

    Nothing I like better than these mental midget Oiler fans on a Flames thread talking about how many cups they’ve won and how good they’re going to be. I like them better at the 1/4 season mark when they want the entire team traded and the coaching staff axed. Happens every year.

  • freethe flames

    In an interview after practice today GG said that he intends to play Bennett and Brouwer together for the foreseeable future as he believes a young center needs to have a veteran presence. Once Johnny signs and he will and Monny and backs get healthy and they will; we will have three solid pairings upfront. The question is who will earn the spot on each line. It will be fun to watch and much more interesting than discussing Oiler issues.

  • Just.Visiting

    Going back to the point I raised in my original post, is or isn’t JG easily one of the 10 most exciting players in the league, while also delivering excellent results?

    Whatever logic may dictate on the numbers comparable, excitement dictates a higher number on the entertainment comparable.

    $7.5MM per. Get as much term as the Flames can, recognizing that the longer this drags out and the more he gets a distaste about the way it’s being handled, the more JG is likely to be resistant to a longer term.

    Below $7.5MM, there’s a lot of sympathy for JG.

    I think that most people would regard $7.5MM with term as appropriate for what he brings in the context of the overall salary structure for the league. (Editorial note: If the teams dislike $7MM+ salaries and the ongoing salary escalation so much, there’s a really simple solution. Stop handing out $3-5MM salaries like candy, as the escalation at that level is what is pushing up the salaries for the top players. I continue to shake my head every July 1st when I watch the signings.)

    If we have $7.5MM on the table and he’s trying for more, the optics don’t look good for him at all. His team tends to be pretty savy about the image he portrays, so the misalignment then would probably be on term, where they ultimately split the difference, put on a happy face and make a bunch of money on endorsements by building on his positive brand.

    Now, make it so and let’s start getting ready for the season.

    • Macindoc

      7.5M is OK at 8 years IMO because it buys up 3 UFA years, even if it is a bit of an overpay.

      7.5M over 6 years would be a significant overspend to buy 1 UFA year, even if Johnny would have otherwise made 10M in that UFA year (6.5 X 5 + 10 = 42.5, 7.5 X 6 = 45). 7.5M over 5 years would be an unmitigated disaster and would likely result in a lynching.