The Calgary Flames’ smallest player will have a bit of a lighter wallet. The National Hockey League announced today that Johnny Gaudreau has been fined $2,000 for embellishment.
The fine was levied by the league’s department of hockey operations following a Dec. 23 incident against Vancouver for which Gaudreau received an official warning and a March 5 incident against the New York Islanders. While the NHL’s release didn’t disclose which incident against Vancouver merited the warning, most likely it was a tripping call drawn by Gaudreau on Luca Sbisa in the first period (for which no embellishment call was made on the ice). Gaudreau did receive an embellishment call against the Islanders, though.
As the NHL’s tiniest top gun, Gaudreau is in a really awkward position. On one hand, he’s 160 pounds and contact that would only wobble a player like teammate Matthew Tkachuk often sends Gaudreau flying. That trait has led some to speculate that Gaudreau draws fewer penalties than he should from the officials because he’s sent flying so often – the “boy who cried wolf” scenario.
On the other hand, he was famously injured in November by repeated slashes to the hands, very few of which drew penalties fro the officials. As Calgary’s best player, he’s arguably targeted by opposing players for that kind of treatment on a regular basis.
Despite all this, Gaudreau is second on the Flames in penalties drawn (behind Tkachuk) and is second in the entire NHL in penalty differential behind only Connor McDavid.
Regardless of the embellishment fine, Gaudreau remains one of the least penalized players in the NHL. He’s received many votes for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for gentlemanly conduct in each of his first two seasons and due to his combination of offensive production and very little time in the box will probably receive many votes again this year.