The Flames’ season may be over, but the work for their front office is only just beginning. Not only is the beating heart of their franchise, Johnny Gaudreau, a pending unrestricted free agent, but they also have potential future captain Matthew Tkachuk as an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent who is inching closer to his own unrestricted free agency. The next month is set to be one full of crucial negotiations for the Flames, and according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the team would like to begin those as soon as possible.
Friedman reports that the Flames will move “aggressively” to extend those two players, in order to have a quick understanding of “what the landscape is” in terms of their futures. The Flames can hardly be blamed for their urgency, given the importance of both Gaudreau and Tkachuk to everything they have been building. Flames GM Brad Treliving has previously said that he would “move heaven and earth” to retain Gaudreau, and one has to assume he will carry that same attitude towards retaining Tkachuk. But as is the case with most contract negotiations in the NHL, Treliving’s “heaven and earth” will likely take a backseat to the most important factor: dollars and cents.
Now, for some other bits of news from across the NHL:
- Before free agency can begin, there is another major event on the NHL’s calendar that will need to be completed: the entry draft. We previously covered how it’s not a guarantee that Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright will go first overall to the Montreal Canadiens, and there is now another development regarding that connection. Friedman reported yesterday that the Canadiens’ brass led by Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes will meet face-to-face with Wright at the NHL combine. Just as making the first overall selection comes with a lot of opportunity so comes a lot of responsibility, and the interactions between the Canadiens and Wright could go a long way towards making the team feel more comfortable in his projection if he does end up the number-one pick.
- Injuries proved fatal for the Golden Knights this past season, as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in their franchise’s history. One of the Golden Knights still dealing with an injury is goaltender Laurent Brossoit. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reports that Brossoit had hip surgery and that the team is “hoping” that he will be available for the start of next season. With starter Robin Lehner already recovering from his own surgery and the late-season breakout of Logan Thompson in mind, it’s clear that Vegas’ future in net is anything but settled.