Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie discuss the possible consequence of Johnny Hockey leaving Calgary in free agency.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: So The Lightning, stay strong. Calgary Flames may not be staying as strong. It could be a house of cards situation here, with Johnny Gaudreau being offered a maximum term deal, so eight years, times $9.5 million.
And he's just chewing on it. He's sitting back. And he's waiting for, maybe, some conversations, maybe, the opportunity to explore the free market. But the Calgary Flames can't really do much, other than sit back and wait to see if Gaudreau will bite on one of their offers. And 9.5 could become 10.5 very, very quickly. But the Calgary Flames can offer the best financial package, probably, to Johnny Gaudreau.
But it's a matter of preference. Does he want to be in Calgary anymore? Or is he going to look for a new destination, a new home this offseason? What do you make of that situation? Should there be some serious, serious red flags that the offer is in but the response has not been given by Gaudreau? Or you know, is just patience probably needed in this situation, do you think?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think patience. But I can understand why people feel the need of red flags. I don't know. I get the sense that Johnny Gaudreau, as great of a player as he is, he's-- I've talked about maximizing their earning potential. He's a guy who, I think, wants to take advantage of that.
And it's not to say Calgary can't give him a handsome sum of money. But saying, like, I don't know what New Jersey's situation is like. But if he can go home and make some more money, I can understand why that's something you would think about.
People that mention, I think, Seattle as a possible destination for Johnny Gaudreau, where, look, he's already, I guess, the man in Calgary. He would be the guy in-- on the Seattle Kraken roster, if that would happen. I still don't see it. But it is a fascinating kind of wild idea, to see him kind of put on a Seattle Kraken uniform.
Imagine you were trudging along in that first year. Everyone was kind of maligning you for all of your expansion picks. And then you make this wild, free agent signing, getting one of the best players who was part of the best line in hockey last year in Johnny Gaudreau.
I think some patience is required. He seems as if he's a guy who genuinely liked being in Calgary, made it that, like, his family liked being around there too. I get the sense that, maybe, people should kind of wait a little bit. But we are a couple-- we are, like, a little over a week away from the free agent frenzy period.
It wouldn't surprise me completely, if he went to test it, just to see what he could get. I'm not ready to put on the alarm bells just yet. We should come to expect that a player like Johnny Gaudreau should want more money, should want to be-- should want to test the free agent period.
This guy is a goal scorer. And this guy, I think, if he really was able to kind of let his wings kind of grow a little bit, like, he could find himself as a more of a face of the league. He seems like he's a guy who has a bit of personality too, kind of lurking under the surface as well.
So yeah, I'm not completely surprised that he would want to see what other people are looking to offer. I wouldn't call it red flags, though. It's just, let's be patient a little bit.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah, if I'm like Jacob Markstrom, Blake Coleman, that kind of, I'm locked in to Calgary for a couple of more years, I'm chewing my nails a little bit. I'm a little bit concerned, because I think the reaction from management, if, in fact, the Flames do lose Johnny Gaudreau, will be a pretty-- not a negative one. It would just be one that would be very reactionary the other way, because I don't think they can continue to contend the way that they built this team without Johnny Gaudreau leading the line. I think it-- I think if any team stands to lose the most, it's the Calgary Flames with Johnny Gaudreau. And you--