Johnny Gaudreau’s days with the Calgary Flames could be numbered.
The 28-year-old left wing is in the final season of his six-year, $40.5-million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent next July. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports neither Gaudreau nor Flames management intends to comment about negotiations with training camp now underway.
Gaudreau was the Flames’ leading scorer in five of the last seven seasons. However, he became a whipping boy for unhappy Flames fans and a frequent subject of media trade speculation.
On July 2, the Calgary Sun‘s Wes Gilbertson reminded everyone that Gaudreau indicated he was open to an extension with the Flames during his exit interview. He also reported others claimed for years that the winger was counting down until he could sign with a club closer to his Salem County, N.J. home. In 2017, Gaudreau said he’d welcome an opportunity to one day join his boyhood club, the Philadelphia Flyers.
On July 13, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reported a “school of thought” suggesting Gaudreau could be signed or traded before his modified no-trade clause kicked in on July 28. That deadline, of course, passed with Gaudreau still a Flame. On Sept.14, Francis indicated the winger’s appeal as a one-year rental this season was diminished by his second straight season below a point-per-game average.
Gaudreau’s name will frequently pop up in the rumor mill if he remains unsigned as this season goes on, especially if the Flames drop out of playoff contention. A strong performance in his contract year will increase his trade value among contenders seeking scoring punch at left wing.