Happy Canada Day!
While the non-hockey world celebrates Canada’s 155th birthday with barbecues and revelry, the hockey world awaits Johnny Gaudreau’s decision: will he re-sign with the Calgary Flames or test the unrestricted free agency waters? Per reports on Friday from a pair of prominent insiders: Gaudreau hasn’t decided yet what he’s going to be doing.
On the latest edition of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman laid out the situation as it stood at the time of recording:
At this point in time, I don’t think he’s made a decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next week the Flames make it, ‘you know, can we get an idea of where everything is leaning here?’ I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. I think they’ve made him a big offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the eight times $9.5 [million] range, and I think the Flames are potentially willing to be flexible there. But I just think that the end of the day…. I mean, he knows how the Flames feel about him. I think it purely comes down to, where does he want to be in his future? Where does he want to play? Does he want to be closer to the east coast? I think there’s a lot of loyalty to Calgary there, too, just in terms of they’re the team that drafted him, they’re the team where he developed, and I just think that he’s taking his time. He’s earned that right, I just could see a point where maybe sometime over the next week the Flames say ‘we just need to have an idea here.’
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Over at Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli updated his top 50 free agent board and provided an update regarding the waiting game:
It would be easy to say that pessimism is growing in Calgary. The Flames made their pitch shortly after they last faced off five weeks ago. But sources close to Gaudreau indicate he truly does not know what he wants to do. This is not about money, it’s about where Gaudreau wants to work and live and chase a Stanley Cup for the next seven or eight years. He’s come this far, is it at least worth finding out his potential suitors when the market opens on July 13 at 12 noon ET? Maybe. It’s only 12 days away now.
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If Friedman’s intel is correct, a hypothetical eight year, $9.5 million AAV deal would (a) be worth $76 million and (b) easily be the richest deal in Flames franchise history. To match the $76 million payout on a seven year deal (via free agency), another team would need to offer Gaudreau a $10.86 million AAV. That’s a huge structural advantage for the Flames in the negotiations.
But as we’ve heard from Freidman, Seravalli and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun (via the Insider Trading segments and his columns at The Athletic): this ultimately likely won’t boil down to a purely financial decision for Gaudreau as he decides where he’ll live and play for what could be the remainder of his NHL career.
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