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).
#Flames C Sean Monahan: “I talk to Johnny a little bit, and I’m sure something is going to get done here soon.”
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) October 2, 2016
So what do we know?
- Gaudreau is arguably Calgary’s best player, and definitely their best offensive weapon.
- Gaudreau hasn’t played enough games to qualify as a “full” restricted free agent, as he cannot be signed to an offer sheet since he’s only played two NHL seasons under the CBA’s definition of a season.
- Despite not having a contract, Gaudreau has no desire to be traded.
- The Flames have enough cap space to sign Gaudreau to an $8 million, but presumably don’t want to.
- If we accept Gross’ claim that the Flames haven’t talked to him in almost a month at face value, presumably the Flames are waiting for Gaudreau’s representation to lower their desired cap hit. Meanwhile, Gaudreau’s camp is content to wait because of how important he is to Calgary’s offensive attack and overall on-ice success. Both sides have completely rational reasons for wanting Gaudreau’s contract to be what they want it to be.
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.