The Calgary Flames and Johnny Gaudreau have agreed to a reported six-year, $40.5 million contract, ending one of the most watched free agency situations in the NHL.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported the contract includes a $3 million signing bonus and a $3.5 million bonus in 2020-21, a potential lockout year. Overall, the deal comes out to an average annual value of $6.75 million. Gaudreau was a restricted free agent who was at the end of his entry-level contract.
The Flames reportedly did not want to go higher than the $6.75 million per-year that captain Mark Giordano was being paid. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Gaudreau was reportedly asking for close to $8 million at one point in negotiations.
Last season, Gaudreau finished tied for six in the NHL in scoring with 78 points. One of the most electric young talents in the NHL, Gaudreau has notched 143 points in 160 games played.
Recently, Flames general manager Brad Treliving traveled to New York to meet with Gaudreau’s representatives in order to hammer out a new deal.
“We all know that Johnny is a tremendous player,” said Treliving according to the Calgary Sun. “He’s a significant part of our team, a significant part of our community. We are moving Heaven and Earth to try and get him done. The business side of our sport is, sometimes, not the fun side and we’re going through that right now.
At the World Cup of Hockey last month, Gaudreau – who was on Team North America – opened up on how not having a contract was bothering him.
“Honestly throughout the whole summer contract situation has been so painful … just every day, just something that’s on my mind,” Gaudreau said.
Now Gaudreau will have to figure out a way to quickly figure out the Flames’ new system under first-year coach Glen Gulutzan. Even though he’s probably in game shape because of the World Cup, he has not been in training camp, which could mean he has a steeper learning curve than others.
“He’s one player,” Gulutzan said last Thursday according to the Calgary Herald. “Obviously there’s some chemistry between him and (Monahan). But it hasn’t been a distraction for me because I haven’t had him at all this year. Even going back, I haven’t had him at all. So, when you’re putting together practices and training camp in his absence, you’re putting together lines and trying to find fits that work with the players that are here. And I haven’t had (Monahan) until a few days ago.
“So it hasn’t been a challenge for me. Certainly we know he’s not there. But we have guys we have to put in those spots, and we have to come together collectively.”
Calgary opens their season Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
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