Report: Gaudreau not looking for a trade

After no news on the Johnny Gaudreau front for the last little while, Sunday morning saw a few interesting morsels emerge – primarily through an interesting piece from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Friedman quoted Gaudreau’s agent, Lewis Gross, and revealed that despite the lack of a contract Gaudreau has no desire to leave Calgary.

“We have no intention of asking for a trade at this time,” he replied. “He wants to stay in Calgary.”

Gross also claimed that the Flames and Gaudreau’s representation haven’t talked turkey for awhile.

“Our last conversation with the Flames was on Sept. 9,” he said. “We
were told we’d get a call in two days. It hasn’t happened. Next Friday
will be a month.”

It was reported in early September that (a) Gaudreau didn’t want to discuss a contract during the World Cup of Hockey and (b) the Flames and his camp were roughly $1.5 million apart in contract talks. But the World Cup ended on Thursday and, as Friedman points out in the article, Gaudreau’s Team North America got knocked out about two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Sean Monahan commented on Gaudreau a bit to local reporters following practice at the Saddledome (where he skated with a yellow caution jersey as he recovers from a back strain).

So what do we know?

Following tonight’s game with Winnipeg, the Flames have two exhibition contests left on the calendar – both against Arizona, one home and one away – and then begin preparations in earnest for Oct. 12’s season-opener in Edmonton.

The chances for Gaudreau to get familiar with new coach Glen Gulutzan and the new systems prior to the season beginning are growing fewer and fewer, though probably what each side in the negotiation is banking on is the other side panicking and signing so that Gaudreau and/or the Flames can get out of the starting blocks better than they did a year ago.

  • Baalzamon

    I’ll be honest: when I first saw the article title I was skimming and missed the word “not”

    Didn’t realize I was one of the panicky ones. Huh.

    Why wouldn’t the Flames be talking with him, though? Seems weird that they’d promise a call in two days, then wait a month.

    • Oilerchild77

      Probably because the Flames know they’re the one in control here. Gaudreau is a fine young player, but I don’t believe he’s done enough to demand $8M yet. The Flames are right to make him wait. He needs to set aside his greed for a minute and think about how much damage this could do to his reputation and relationship with the organization.

    • Baalzamon

      Moreso from the Flames’ side, because from the sounds of things (at least based on the little information in this article) the Gaudreau camp made an offer of some kind, and the Flames’ camp promised a response which has yet to be delivered.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Good negotiators understand that he who speaks first when a dispute arises often loses. It’s not what reasonable people do, but business people are all too familiar with difficult negotiations.

      • Christian Roatis

        Absolutely, but the first words and offers have already been exchanged. At this point, I don’t understand the value or context of this staring contest.

        • cberg

          That is likely true, but as in any negotiation, if you are not willing to budge, it doesn’t really help to keep repeating the same things over and over that have already been rejected. There needs to be either a softening or a new approach to the problem. Or, an important deadline that changes the dynamics and pressures on both sides.

          I’ll say it again, this will go several games into the season to see how the team does without Gaudreau, which will amp up the pressure on one side or the other and force them to re-consider their hard-line stance.

          I don’t see any other pressure points that apply. Certainly the media is split on the issue, so they are not helping, and the fans can’t do a lot, although causing a near-riot or something similar at the last home pre-season game(Wednesday versus the Coyotes) may get management re-thinking things if the crowd gets unruly with chants, throwing things and etc. However, since this is relatively genteel Calgary that won’t happen either so don’t hold your breath. Plus, since we don’t really know what the status of offers is, who can say which side is at “fault”…?

          Perhaps the crowd can load up with “$7.5, GET IT DONE!” signs and chant, chant, chant the same (kind of a saw-off between the two)…

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

          $7.5, GET IT DONE!

  • beloch

    In negotiations, you don’t always just split the difference and settle on a number in the middle. Sometimes one side has an edge and can just dig in their heels and wait for the other side to come all the way to them.

    It seems like both sides figure they have an edge and have dug their heels in. They haven’t talked in a month because there’s nothing to say until somebody is willing to budge, and that’s not going to happen until closer to opening night. The question becomes, are both sides willing to let Gaudreau miss games?

    • Avalain

      It’s an interesting situation where it’s much worse for the Flames if Gaudreau misses the first game, but worse for Gaudreau if he misses any more than that. The thing is that without Gaudreau signed, the Flames don’t get the cap relief from Smid being on LTIR. If they lose that, though, suddenly the Flames are in it for the long haul while Gaudreau is missing out on playing.

      • cberg

        Before season starts they get limited to zero Cap relief putting Smid on LTIR unless the team is already very close to full Cap, which they would not be without Gaudreau. Here’s the specific calculator:

        Amount team can exceed the cap = Cap hit of LTIR player – Amount of cap space available

        In the Flames case Smid is at $3.5mm, so the max possible Cap space we have is $3.5mm, but without Gaudreau’s signing we are currently, and will remain ~$8.5 under the Cap, so we would get zero LT Cap relief.

        • jupiter

          Spending 4.5 million in free agency without getting rid of bad contracts first, has put BT in cap hell. Not Good.

          Not being able to sign Nakladal as well, is a big loss.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            If he’s not on IR, then he is on the roster. Forces them to trim the roster by one to keep Smid . That means carrying 7D and 13F plus Smid. When Johnny signs they could place Smid on LTIR.

            The advantage is they save cap dollars for the time he is unsigned. Means they have one less forward. Probably also means waiving a player or two you wouldn’t expect.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Make the Flames blink, Johnny.

    You have already given the Flames two seasons of extreme value at a rock-bottom price. You know you are the face of the franchise. You know that you will be paid more than Monahan, and the idea that nobody can be paid more than Gio is plain goofy.

    Are you worth $8M a year? Frankly, not at this time, but in two or three seasons, you’ll be a bargain at $8M.

    Johnny, the Flames need you more than you need them. They hold all the leverage except, but ne patient, lad. If the Flames get swept by the Oilers and badly mauled in both games, the heat will be turned up on Tre to cut you a more favourable deal.

    All Johnny wants is a fair dollar for a fair day’s work. What is so wrong about that?

    • Macindoc

      Only Johnny’s agent thinks he is worth $8M AAV. Compared to Tarasenko (realistically, the closest comparable), he is a similar point scorer but not nearly the same kind of goal scorer (30 goal scorer vs. 40 goal scorer), has one more year as an RFA, isn’t eligible for an offer sheet or arbitration, and wouldn’t be a good fit for the KHL (if he wants to be near his parents and his alma mater that badly, Russia isn’t exactly closer, and it’s not as if he would have the chance to get back “home” on a few road trips each season, plus I suspect he doesn’t speak Russian, whereas Tarasenko was born in Russia and had already played in the KHL). As an added bonus, Tarasenko can play on the PK, gets equal points with less offensive zone starts, and is more of a physical presence (I don’t buy into the argument that Johnny is more likely to get injured due to his size, but he certainly isn’t going to physically intimidate anyone).

      Objectively, considering all of the comparables that have signed in the past year, Johnny is worth approximately $7M, but I wouldn’t argue with $7.25M if he signed an eight year deal like Tarasenko. Even $7.5M would be an overspend due to the reasons stated above, and wouldn’t necessarily be in Johnny’s best interest. I believe that he loves to play and is very competitive, and desperately wants to win. His best chance for that is if the Flames have enough salary flexibility to sign their other elite young players like Bennett and Tkachuk, while also having enough left over for their goaltenders next year (which will certainly cost more than this year)and for a true first line right wing to play with him. This will allow him to have success on the ice and achieve his true potential, which, in turn, will allow him to cash in big time when he is in his prime at the end of this contract.

      Finally, it is unreasonable to say that Johnny will be a bargain at $8M in two or three seasons. He would only be a bargain at that price in his UFA years, but he has more RFA years left than he would have UFA years on whatever contract he signs, and it would be at least five years before he could be considered a “bargain”, even at $7M.

  • jupiter

    I don’t understand why Johnny, a 23 year old college grad wouldn’t be totally involved with what’s going on here.Ultimetly it’s his decision to make. It makes no sense for him to say ,he’s not involved.

  • Skuehler

    Just an observation from business…

    When 2 parties are equally motivated to find a solution to a problem/situation, almost nothing is insurmountable with creativity and goodwill.

    When 1 party is not as motivated, or is selfish, an equitable agreement is next to impossible.

    Something doesn’t seem right with this situation. If one party is playing hardball it will come back to bite them.

  • Skuehler

    Just an observation from business…

    When 2 parties are equally motivated to find a solution to a problem/situation, almost nothing is insurmountable with creativity and goodwill.

    When 1 party is not as motivated, or is selfish, an equitable agreement is next to impossible.

    Something doesn’t seem right with this situation. If one party is playing hardball it will come back to bite them.

  • VoRaCS

    I have a feeling that if Johnny could be offer sheeted, this deal would already be done or he’d be signed elsewhere. If so, that speaks volumes. Maybe Tre and Burke are too worried that he’s not truculent enough to be worthy of a premium level deal. Then again, I wonder if they would feel the same way about a Kane or a Gretzky then.

  • RKD

    No I don’t believe Johnny wants to leave Calgary, he likes it here and he knows the Flames are building something special with Monahan, Bennett, Brodie, Hamilton, etc. among him. I think Burkie is in BT’s ear telling Brad to wait until Johnny blinks. The Flames are one of the last teams that can ill afford a bad start. Gaudreau’s missed training camp and could miss the start of the season. They should do their best to finalize a deal this week. It will become a massive distraction to the dressing room and all parties involved.

    • calgaryfan

      I agree with your post except I think Tre has been told by ownership not Burkie. Murray Edwards was part of Bettmans negotiating group during last lockout. It is no accident that there are 6 young players in the league without contracts.