Another day, another potential wrinkle in Johnny Gaudreau’s future with the Calgary Flames. On Thursday evening, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman did a radio hit in Buffalo and touched upon Gaudreau’s potential availability in a swap.
(Stick-tap to AC on the CalgaryPuck forum for the helpful transcription.)
Yeah, I think at the very least they’re gauging interest on him, yes. I do think that. Now, I’ll tell you this: I think they’re going to be very careful with this one. Gaudreau hasn’t had great playoffs, but you still have to get there, right? And he gets you there. He’s a points producer, he’s a very talented guy, and it’s hard to make the playoffs in this league… and he gets them there.
I think they’ll look at it, I think they will consider it, I think it’s possible it happens, but I think they’re also determined: “don’t be stupid, don’t make a bad deal, don’t do it just for the sake of doing it”.
The thing that’s really a factor here is the clock. Johnny Gaudreau is 2 years away from unrestricted free agency and I think Calgary has to be realistic about their chances of keeping him, which is why I think this decision is being moved to the front burner.
As we’ve discussed frequently on this site since his arrival, Gaudreau is a player who can do amazing things. But he’s not an all-zones dynamo, and the things he doesn’t do might lead the Flames to head in another direction (as would his contractual status).
But, let’s also be brutally honest here: the guy can be a wizard offensively when he’s dialed in. He’s a season removed from potting 99 points and getting Hart Trophy consideration. If he can recapture his mojo, maybe you keep him.
If not, or if the Flames think they want a different stylistic fit, it’s not like they wouldn’t be able to get much for him. He’s a damn good hockey player. He’s just not a perfect one.