On Tuesday night, the TSN Insider Trading panel provided an update on negotiations between the Calgary Flames and pending unrestricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau.
In short: the belief is that the Flames have made an initial contract offer, and they’re waiting to see what Gaudreau wants to do.
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Here’s LeBrun on the waiting game:
That’s exactly what it is. Listen, the Flames didn’t waste any time after the season, my sense is that they made a contract offer pretty quickly and there’s been ongoing dialogue ever since. And listen, it’s not going to be about money if Johnny Gaudreau decides to go to market.
The Flames made a big offer. When you consider the eighth year that only the Flames can offer, the total dollars, it’s going to be hard for another team to match that. And we know that winning matters to Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames remain a contender if he decides to stay. What the Flames can’t control is their area code, if it matters for Johnny Gaudreau to go back east, and that’s something the Calgary can’t deal with.
But know this: the Flames still hope to re-sign him, but they’re going to want some clarity before July 13th. They’re not letting this drag all the way if they can avoid it. Look for some clarity before the July draft is what Calgary’s going to want, because they may have to pivot.
Gaudreau had a heck of a 2021-22 season, finishing second in the NHL in points with 115 and fourth in the league’s Hart Trophy balloting as the player most valuable to his team. He was also voted a First-Team Al-Star as the league’s top left wing.
A fourth round selection in 2011, Gaudreau is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 unless he comes to terms with the Flames on a new deal. If he re-signs with the Flames before July 13, he’s eligible for an eight year deal. If he signs anywhere July 13 or later, he can only sign a seven year deal.
Based on LeBrun’s comments, and our expectations regarding how Flames general manager Brad Treliving tends to conduct his business, the Flames will want an indication of Gaudreau’s desires prior to the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7 & 8 in order to start making moves to (a) prepare to accommodate Gaudreau’s new cap hit or (b) prepare for life without Gaudreau.
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