In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, general manager Brad Treliving has made it clear he wants Johnny Gaudreau to remain with the team for many years to come. In other news, head coach Darryl Sutter had some fun at the media’s expense after his team clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night. Meanwhile, a big reason for this team clinching has been due to the play of Rasmus Andersson, who is having himself a career year.
Treliving Hoping to Extend Gaudreau
Heading into the 2021-22 season, there was plenty of chatter on whether or not the Flames should be looking to extend Gaudreau. After all, he was coming off of two subpar seasons by his standards, making some question whether the organization should move on from him. Those thoughts have all but vanished, however, as the 28-year-old is having a Hart Trophy-like season with 105 points through 75 games. Due to his fantastic play, Treliving is hoping to keep him around for a long time moving forward (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: Treliving wants to ensure Gaudreau remains ‘Flame for a long, long time’, Calgary Sun, 04/17/22).
“We want him back here. We’re going to move heaven and Earth and do everything we possibly can to get Johnny back here,” Treliving said. “You’ve seen it tonight, you’ve seen it throughout the season, he’s a top player – not only what he’s done in terms of productivity and with the puck this year, but what he’s done without it.
I remember when Darryl (Sutter) came in last year, the screams were, ‘Oh, Johnny can’t play for Darryl!’ And I remember chuckling because anyone that knows Johnny, he thrives under a coach that’ll push him. He has his whole career.
We’re going to do everything we humanly possibly can to have him be back here and be a Flame for a long, long time.”
Gaudreau, who has spent his entire 595-game career with the Flames, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He will require a major raise from his current deal that carries a cap hit of $6.75 million. It is possible he will command one around the $10 million range with how well he has performed in 2021-22.
Sutter Jokes with Media After Clinching Playoff Berth
This past offseason, many doubted the Flames and this current roster due to the poor showing they had in 2020-21. Expectations were quite low headed into this season, with many believing they may miss the playoffs once again. As we now know, however, that turned out to be nowhere near the case, as they currently hold a seven-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division. Not only that, but they were able to clinch a playoff berth after Saturday night’s defeat of the Arizona Coyotes, something Sutter seemed to find amusing given the preseason predictions surrounding his team.
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“[I’m] not [sure that] anybody in this room that would have said that [we’d be in a playoff spot] six months ago,” Sutter remarked.
It is clear from this comment that Sutter used what everyone on the outside had said as motivation for this group, who looked like a completely different team this season compared to the one prior. While many players were responsible for the team’s turnaround, Sutter has also played a major role, and will likely win the Jack Adams Award as a result.
Andersson Having Career Year
Several players on this Flames roster are having themselves career years. Guys like Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm have been given kudos plenty of times throughout the season, and for good reason. One player who hasn’t received a ton of attention despite having a career year himself is Rasmus Andersson.
Heading into the 2021-22 season, Andersson’s career-high in points was just 22, a number which he has easily surpassed. Through 75 games, the 25-year-old has an impressive 46 points, giving him a realistic shot to hit 50 by the season’s end. Those 46 points lead all Flames blueliners and have helped turn Andersson into a very good NHL defenceman at both ends of the ice.
Up Next for the Flames
The Flames have a relatively busy week ahead of themselves with four games on their schedule. The first will come Monday night in a tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks, followed by a contest against the Nashville Predators 24 hours later. They will then have an off-day Wednesday before facing the Dallas Stars on Thursday and will end their week with a game on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.