In this Calgary Flames News & Rumors update, Johnny Gaudreau hit a huge milestone this past week, suiting up for his 500th career game. Despite the accomplishment, head coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t as flattering to the 27-year-old as others were. Matthew Tkachuk made history as well, though not how you might think, and Michael Stone got into the lineup, although the same cannot be said for Dillon Dube, who has not made a great impression on his new coach.
Saturday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets marked Gaudreau’s 500th in the NHL. He chipped in with an assist in the 4-2 win, which ended a four-game losing skid for the Flames. Despite his recent struggles, it has been a very impressive career to this point for Johnny Hockey, with 164 goals and 471 points.
Most were quick to praise Gaudreau’s excellent career. However, when asked specifically about the feat pre-game, Sutter didn’t seem very cheery.
“Hopefully he has more energy than in his 499th game,” Sutter said during his presser. While some considered the comment unnecessary, it appeared to work as Gaudreau notched his first assist in 12 games in his 500th. Hopefully this is what it takes to get him going.
Tkachuk Releases NFT
Last week, the 23-year-old Tkachuk became the first ever NHLer to release a non-fungible token (NFT). For those unfamiliar, as I was myself, it is digital art memorabilia that has blown up recently after the major success of NBA Top Shot.
All proceeds from the collectable are set to go to children’s hospitals in Calgary as well as Tkachuk’s hometown of St. Louis. The winner will also get a virtual meet and greet with the Flames forward, and an autographed stick and jersey.
Stone Gets Game Action
There was a bit of a roster surprise when it came to Saturday night’s game versus the Jets, as Stone slotted into the third pairing. The game marked his first since Feb. 25, 2020, as he has spent most of this season on the taxi squad and suiting up for four games with the Stockton Heat.
Though his ice time was limited to 13:55, Stone played extremely well for a player who has seen little game action for over a year now. He was unable to get on the scoresheet, but recorded two shots on net, two blocks, a hit and a plus-1 rating. The strong performance may have earned him some additional games going forward.
Dube in Doghouse
Since Sutter was hired, many players have struggled to perform at the level they are capable of, perhaps none more than Dillon Dube. The 22-year-old has not made a great impression on his new bench boss. First, he played just 6:06 in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 20. Despite that benching, Sutter made it clear that he believes Dube is a great player and that he will be fine moving forward.
However, that hasn’t been the case. While he suited up for the team’s next three games, he was held to just a single assist. Clearly, that isn’t good enough for Sutter, and Dube was a healthy scratch again on Saturday night.
“They’ve got to be better players for us,” Sutter said when asked why both Dube and rookie defenceman Juuso Valimaki were healthy scratches against the Jets. “Okay is not okay in this racket.”
When Sutter was brought in, he was expected to bring accountability to the dressing room. Early on, that appears to be the case, as he has shown tough love to his players. It will be interesting to see how both players, particularly Dube, respond.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.