In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Jack Eichel continues to be the talk of the town after Elliotte Friedman said Monday on the Jeff Marek Show that the team he has heard most surrounding the Buffalo Sabres forward is the Flames themselves. Meanwhile, Frank Seravalli broke down what a possible extension with Johnny Gaudreau could look like. In other news, Glenn Gawdin was placed on waivers this past week, but another young player in Dillon Dube is excelling thanks to a great training program this offseason.
Eichel Still up for Grabs
While they haven’t exactly been a frontrunner throughout the whole ordeal, the Flames are a team who has been mentioned as a dark horse candidate to land Eichel from the Sabres since the disgruntled forward voiced his displeasure back in May. However, it appears now that the Flames may not be just a dark horse in the Eichel sweepstakes. In fact, they may be leading the charge.
Speaking on the Jeff Marek Show on Monday, Friedman made it sound like the possibility of Eichel heading to Calgary via a trade is a legitimate possibility at this point.
“The teams I’ve really wondered about with Eichel are Calgary and Vegas,” Friedman said. “I’ve heard less about Anaheim than I have in the past. The Rangers, now that they’ve signed Zibanejad, I don’t think they can do it without someone retaining money.”
Take that comment for what you will, but the fact that an insider as highly credible as Friedman is dropped that line tells me that there is a real chance the Flames are in fact able to land Eichel.
Examining Gaudreau’s Next Deal
In an article posted on Daily Faceoff, former Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley spoke about Gaudreau and what it would likely take for the Flames to re-sign the 27-year-old. As he mentions, there haven’t been a ton of post-pandemic deals signed for wingers that are comparable. Some of the more recent wingers signed are guys like Kirill Kaprizov and Brady Tkachuk, both young players who have yet to hit their prime, while Gaudreau is in the midst of his right now.
While some Flames fans have soured on Gaudreau in recent years due to his struggles in the postseason, there is no denying his talent level. If he were to make it to the free agent market, he would be one of the better offensive players available in free agency in some time, and would be paid as such. Of course, a really good or bad year could play an impact on what number he gets. To this point, he has seven assists through the Flames first five games.
Greeley believes the Flames ask for Gaudreau would be roughly six years with an average annual value (AAV) of $7.25 million. Meanwhile, he expects the Gaudreau camp to ask for somewhere in the ball park of an eight year deal with an AAV of $9 million. That would be extremely high, but all players start high in negotiations, the hope is that eventually the two sides can find a sweet spot in the middle. Regardless, it appears he is in for a nice raise on his current deal that carries a cap hit of $6.75 million.
Gawdin Placed on Waivers
The Flames surprised some this past week when they chose to place Gawdin on waivers. The 24-year-old made the team out of camp, but lasted just two games before his waiver placement. He went unclaimed and has since suited up for two games with the Stockton Heat, recording two assists.
Many were hoping the Flames would give some of their young guns a shot this season, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Guys like Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson remain with the big club, as does Erik Gudbranson on the back end. The reassignment doesn’t bode well for Gawdin, who seemed to be on his last chance with the organization after signing a one-year deal this offseason.
Dube’s Hard Work Paying Off
The 2020-21 season was a frustrating one for Dube, who was expected to be a solid offensive contributor for the Flames after a nice showing during the 2019-20 season. Instead, he struggled to the tune of 22 points in 51 games, and was called out on multiple occasions by his head coach in Darryl Sutter.
“That’s because I hadn’t been playing good enough,” Dube said in regards to Sutter’s criticism last season. “That’s what you want from a coach – you want him to be honest. You don’t want mind games.
It helps me out as a player. I’ve got to be on every shift. It’s huge for me to be able to have that and learn from him.”
Instead of complaining and shutting down after the criticism, Dube took it upon himself to be better. This offseason, he changed up his training routine and it was very noticeable, as he placed tops in team fitness testing at camp.
It is also noticeable in his on ice play. He hasn’t exactly lit it up with two points in five games, but his overall game has been much better and has impressed Sutter, who has given him some reps as the teams second line center ahead of Sean Monahan. It is shaping up to be a nice bounce back season for the 23-year-old.
Coming up for the Flames
After a bit of a tough start to the season, the Flames have now rifled off three straight wins including Monday nights victory over the New York Rangers. Through five games, they have a solid 3-1-1 record, and will look to make it four straight wins against the New Jersey Devils tonight.
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.