Will UFA Johnny Gaudreau re-sign with the Calgary Flames?
Heading towards free agency, the million-dollar question in Calgary is whether Unrestricted Free Agent star forward Johnny Gaudreau will return to the Flames.
This left winger affectionately known around the league as “Johnny Hockey,” is coming off a career season which saw the 28- year-old score 40 goals while eclipsing the 100- point mark for the first time with 115. However perhaps his most impressive stat was finishing first this season in plus/minus with a remarkable +64 mark.
Gaudreau, who was selected by the Flames 104th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has over his eight full seasons become a fan favorite in Calgary. In his career this offensive gifted player has posted some impressive numbers which include 210 career goals and 609 career points in 602 games.
Obviously, this Salem New Jersey native has played a major role in the Flames strong season which saw them finish first in the Pacific Division with 111 points and emerge as Stanley Cup contenders.
Meanwhile all Flames fans can do right now is wait with their fingers crossed as team General Manager Brad Treliving does everything in the organizations power to sign him before July 13th when he would hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
The Flames playoff drive saw Gaudreau score the Game 7 overtime series winning goal in round one against the Dallas Stars before falling short 4 games to 1 in the Western Conference semi-finals against the Edmonton Oilers. In 12 playoff goals this spring “Johnny Hockey” produced 3 goals along with 14 points.
No matter where Gaudreau ends up next fall, he will be making a lot more than the $6.75 million dollars he made over the previous six campaigns.
On the strength of his career season which will see him get strong consideration for the Hart Trophy, Gaudreau could make up to $10.5 million on his new contract.
Prior to hitting the open market, Calgary can in fact offer him an eight- year contract. According to CapFriendly.com Treliving has $26.9 million in cap space. Along with desperately trying to sign Gaudreau, they also have to worry about forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane who are coming off career seasons and are restricted free agents. They also have to spend on the back end where they have only four defenceman locked up for next year.
During the end of playoffs press conference, Gaudreau was saying how Calgary has a special place in his heart. He also had strong praise for Flames fans and everyone who lives in the city.
“I do have a big decision and we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, but I love it here,” Gaudreau said. “I love the fans. I love the city. But I never really had that moment where I was like, ‘This is it for me.”
Obviously, the Flames will do everything they can to sign 'Johnny Hockey' to a long-term contract. Only time will tell what his decision will be. Until then, he will have the entire city of Calgary waiting anxiously and hoping he will continue to wear Flames colors.