Time is running short for the Flames to ink star forward Johnny Gaudreau prior to the start of the 2016-17 campaign and it appears as if the two sides are still quite far apart in talks, according to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun. Francis reports that Gaudreau’s camp is seeking $8MM annually while the Flames are countering with a figure somewhere in between what Sean Monahan’s recent extension pays out ($6.375MM) and what captain Mark Giordano earns on an annual basis ($6.75MM).
An unnamed source Francis spoke with stated: “He wants unrestricted money but he’s restricted.” The source would go on to point out that other players with track records similar in both length and production have signed for less, including Filip Forsberg ($6MM) and Nathan MacKinnon ($6.3MM). He also questions whether Gaudreau, while a terrific young talent, is better than than the two players he mentioned.
For his part, Gaudreau is leaving the heavy lifting to his agent, Lewis Gross, at least until after the World Cup has concluded at which point he has said he would become more involved.
Gauedreau is certainly a talented young player and one the Flames want to build around but the reality is he only has two seasons of NHL experience and almost no leverage to exercise in these negotiations. He could choose to sit out until he gets a deal to his liking or sign in the KHL but it’s unlikely he’d receive a comparable salary overseas to what the Flames are offering him today. The smart money is the deal gets wrapped up soon after he returns from the World Cup and that the AAV is closer to what Monahan received than what Gaudreau is said to be asking for at the moment.
- According to the Elite Prospects website (via tweet) tough guy forward Brian McGrattan has left North America and accepted a deal to play for the Nottingham Panthers of the EIHL in England. The nine-year veteran who turned 35 just last week, did not see any action at the NHL level and instead suited up for 58 games for the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate in San Diego. McGrattan tallied nine goals and 17 points along with his usually high number of penalty minutes (144) for the Gulls. Anaheim loaded up yesterday on organizational depth, agreeing to deals with seven players to minor league deals. That McGrattan was not among them suggested a move elsewhere might be in the offing. McGrattan leaves North America (for now at least) having scored just 27 career points in 317 games and 609 minutes in penalties.
- Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal wonders if 2016 second-round pick, Tyler Benson, can beat the odds and become an important contributor for the Oilers. McCurdy lists the 10 players the club has selected in the second round since 2007 and only two, Justin Schultz (266) and Anton Lander (193) has appeared in more than 27 NHL games to date. Second-round picks are still considered valuable choices and teams generally expect to land one quality NHL talent for every three players chosen in the round. It’s hard to say the Oilers have even developed one quality NHL player from their group as Schultz wasn’t even drafted by the Oilers and was dealt away to Pittsburgh at the 2016 trade deadline after failing to live up to expectations in Edmonton. Lander has yet to land a full-time role and it’s been suggested current management is not particularly high on the Swedish pivot.
- Former Devils forward Stephen Gionta might be under consideration from the Islanders for a PTO, according to Arthur Staple of Newday (via tweet). Gionta doesn’t bring much offense to the table – just one goal last season and a career-best of five in 2014-15 – but would add energy to the team’s fourth line. He can also contribute on the penalty kill. The Islanders have boasted one of the game’s best fourth lines but they will undoubtedly have someone new skating with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck after Matt Martin departed New York as a free agent. Gionta could provide another option for head coach Jack Capuano.