If you had asked a Calgary Flames fan about whether or not Johnny Gaudreau was going to resign back in June, they probably told you “Of course he’s gonna sign! They’ll sign him before July 1st! What are you, stupid?”.
Ask them in July, and they’d probably be saying, “Well, they haven’t yet, but he’s a restricted free agent! No one else can have him unless they trade him, and they’re not gonna do that! What are you, stupid?”.
Ask them again in August, and now the answer becomes more frantic. “They signed Monahan! They’re not going to forget to sign his best friend Gaudreau!” Not in a million years! What are you, stupid?”
Well, it’s now September, and Flames Nation is panicking.
According to an August appearance on NHL Network by Sportsnet analyst Elliotte Friedman, Gaudreau has set Monday’s beginning of World Cup training camp as a soft deadline for halting contract negotiations with the Flames. Gaudreau will be playing for Team North America and doesn’t want the distraction during the tournament, which is a fair reason. But it has fans worried that there might not be a signing at all.
Flames GM Brad Treliving has had a busy offseason already after bringing in goalie Brian Elliott from St. Louis, drafting Matthew Tkachuk, and resigning Sean Monahan to a new seven-year deal. But Gaudreau’s is the deal that could make or break Calgary’s immediate future, especially after leading the Flames in both goals with 30 and assists with 48 last season.
Considering the importance of bringing Johnny Hockey back and the length of time we continue to wait until a deal is signed, it makes you wonder just how far apart the two sides must be. According to Friedman both the Flames and Gaudreau’s camp want a long-term contract, meaning money is the main hurdle. For the sake of comparables, Monahan’s new deal earns him $6.3 million a season, which will total $44.1 million by the time the seven-year deal expires. It’s fair to assume that Gaudreau is going to ask for a larger deal than his good friend Sean, due to his team leading point totals.
The way talks are going, there’s a good chance we might not see Johnny back in a Calgary uniform until after the season starts, if ever according to some fans.
LITC Blog poll question: When will Johnny Gaudreau resign with the #Flames?
— Lachlan Irvine (@LachInTheCrease) September 3, 2016
I personally find the chances of Calgary trading Gaudreau pretty darn unlikely, even if I’d welcome the move as a Canucks fan. But if I’m Flames management, dealing away an upcoming superstar like Gaudreau would be a move that would not only hurt the team’s growth, but spurn the fanbase as well (like the Subban debacle did in Montreal).
Treliving has shown in the past that he knows how to make the right moves, and trading Johnny Gaudreau wouldn’t be it. So to all the Flames fans out there on the verge of nervous breakdowns, don’t worry; Gaudreau will be back in the red and gold this year. The only question now is when?