Johnny Gaudreau is one of the most coveted players on the market with NHL free agency set to open on Wednesday, and the Flames are going all-in to keep him in Calgary.
Gaudreau is coming off his most productive season and is in line for a new deal at the right time after hitting triple-digit points for the first time. He put up career-high numbers in 2021-22, scoring 40 goals and 75 assists while posting a league-best plus-64 rating and tallying nine game-winning goals. He also notched 14 points during a 12-game postseason run for the Flames.
He made $6.75 million annually over the last six years, and that number will probably be above the $9-million range in his next deal.
The latest news on the pending free agent comes from Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff following the most recent negotiations with the Flames.
“I think these two sides have continued to engage over the last 24 hours or so. That there was a significant push from the Calgary Flames in the last 12 to 24 hours. And they’ve put a massive offer on the table," Seravalli said on Sportsnet 960 on Tuesday. They’ve put an offer on the table that would not only make Johnny Gaudreau the richest player in Calgary Flames history, but on top of that one of the select few highest-paid players in the NHL today.”
My sense is #Flames have put an offer on the table for Johnny Gaudreau - north of $10 mil x 8 years - that would make him not only highest-paid player in Calgary franchise history, but among richest in #NHL.
If Gaudreau walks, it likely won't be because of money.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 12, 2022
If Gaudreau turns down the reported offer from the Flames, it won’t be because of money. Whispers of a return to the East Coast have always been there with the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils all rumoured to have interest in the 115-point winger, who finished just behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid in scoring this season.
Gaudreau owns a home on the Jersey Shore, and his wife and his family have ties to the region, so he seems like a natural fit for the Devils, who would do anything to get a player like him for a quick rebuild.
Both Philadelphia and New York would have to clear cap space in order to sign Gaudreau. On Tuesday, the Flyers kicked things in motion to create $3.3 million in salary cap space by placing forward Oskar Lindblom on waivers in order to buy out the final year of his contract.
Gaudreau turns 29 on Aug. 13 and has spent his entire career with the Flames since they selected him back in the 2011 NHL Draft.
The Flames lose the ability to sign Gaudreau to an eight-year deal at midnight ET on Tuesday night. Free agency opens league-wide at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
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