Depending on who you ask, the Calgary Flames should definitely trade Johnny Gaudreau or they shouldn’t think about it at all. A lot of the skepticism around a potential trade comes from the prospect of a shoddy return, ala the Jarome Iginla or Jay Bouwmeester trades.
So we took a look at trades since the beginning of 2019 to get a sense of what a Gaudreau trade could look like.
For comparison’s sake, Gaudreau has 54 goals and 157 points over his past two full seasons (2018-20). That’s 0.340 goals per game and 1.033 points per game.
Feb. 22, 2019: Matt Duchene and Julius Bergman from Ottawa to Columbus for Vitali Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, 1st round pick, and a conditional 1st round pick (if Duchene re-signed)
Duchene was a pending UFA with a $6 million cap hit. Over his previous two full seasons (2016-18), he had 45 goals (0.283 per game) and 100 points (0.629 per game).
Feb. 25, 2019: Kevin Hayes from NY Rangers to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux, 1st round pick, and a conditional 4th round pick (if Jets won the Stanley Cup)
Hayes was a pending UFA with a $5.175 million cap hit. Over his previous two full seasons (2016-18), he had 42 goals (0.276 per game) and 93 points (0.612 per game).
Feb. 25, 2019: Mark Stone & Tobias Lindberg from Ottawa to Vegas for Oscar Lindberg, Erik Brannstrom, and a 2nd round pick
Stone was a pending UFA with a $7.35 million cap hit. Over his previous two full seasons (2016-18), he had 42 goals (0.326 per game) and 116 points (0.899 per game).
June 22, 2019: J.T. Miller from Tampa Bay to Vancouver for Marek Mazanec, 3rd round pick, and a 1st round pick
Miller had four seasons remaining with a $5.25 million cap hit. In his two prior full seasons (2016-18), he had 36 goals (0.229 per game) and 105 points (0.669 per game).
June 29, 2019: Phil Kessel, Dane Birks, and a 4th round pick from Pittsburgh to Arizona for Alex Galchenyuk and Pierre-Olivier Joseph
Kessel had three seasons remaining with a $6.8 million cap hit (and a no move clause). In his two prior full seasons (2016-18), he had 61 goals (0.372 per game) and 174 points (1.061 per game). The NMC probably brought the trade return down a bit.
December 16, 2019: Taylor Hall and Blake Speer from New Jersey to Arizona for Nick Merkley, Nate Schnarr, Kevin Bahl, 1st round pick, and a 3rd round pick
Hall was a pending UFA with a $6 million cap hit (that New Jersey retained half of). In his two prior full seasons (2016-18), he had 56 goals (0.403 per game) and 155 points (1.115 per game).
Feb. 10, 2020: Jason Zucker from Minnesota to Pittsburgh for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a 1st round pick
Zucker had four seasons remaining with a $5.5 million cap hit. In his two prior full seasons (2016-18), he had 54 goals (0.331 per game) and 106 points (0.650 per game).
Feb. 24, 2020: Vincent Trocheck from Florida to Carolina for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Chase Priskie, and Eetu Luostarinen
Trocheck had three seasons remaining with a $4.75 million cap hit. In his two previous full seasons (2016-18), he had 41 goals (0.299 per game) and 109 points (0.800 per game).
So what’s the likely market?
The good news is Gaudreau has among the highest offensive production of anybody that’s been moved in the last couple seasons – Hall and Kessel are the most direct comparables in terms of sheer production.
The fact that Gaudreau has term left works for the trade value, I imagine. If somebody has, say, four seasons left, that’s a lot of term to live with. What if the player sucks? Then you’re stuck with ’em. But two seasons of Gaudreau at $6.75 million is a very good value when you consider what he can do on the ice.
Now, the cap hit combined with the flat salary cap for the next few seasons probably increases the possibility that the Flames would land a roster player back for Gaudreau – logistically, it’s either take a player back or eat some cap on Gaudreau’s contract to help the other team make things work.
Based on the recent trades, the market value would likely be a roster player (probably a second or third liner), a top prospect, and a first round pick. If the Flames can’t get that, they probably shouldn’t bother making a trade.