In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, plenty of chatter continues to surround both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk in regards to their playing futures. In other news, prospects Jeremie Poirier and Yan Kuznetsov of the Saint John Sea Dogs are set to play in the Memorial Cup Final on Wednesday after a 5-3 win over the Shawinigan Cataractes on Sunday. Last but not least, several Flames were named onto NHL All-Star Teams, while a number of others received votes.
Plenty of Questions Continue to Surround Gaudreau & Tkachuk
Over the past few weeks, Flames fans have been constantly checking up on social media in hopes of seeing that Gaudreau has agreed to a long-term contract extension. As each day passes, however, it feels more and more likely that the 28-year-old may be interested in testing the free agent waters.
As for Tkachuk, the urgency to get something done isn’t quite as high given that he is a restricted free agent. However, there have been rumors that he may not be wanting to sign a long-term deal with the Flames, and he would likely be even less willing if Gaudreau were to go elsewhere. By all accounts, general manager Brad Treliving would love to bring them both back, though doing so won’t come easy.
In a recently written article by Hailey Salvian of The Athletic, she brought up the fact that while the Flames do currently have $26.9 million in cap space, they only have 12 NHL regulars under contract at the moment. If Tkachuk and Gaudreau are to be re-signed, they would likely combine for about $20 million of that remaining cap space. After that, there are two other key restricted free agents in Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington who are both deserving of pay raises. If Treliving is able to make this work, he will likely have to move out at least one of his bad contracts in either Milan Lucic or Sean Monahan (from ‘Hailey Salvian: Can the Calgary Flames keep Gaudreau and Tkachuk? Some salary cap scenarios’, The Athletic 06/24/22).
Poirier & Kuznetsov Headed to Memorial Cup Final
Back at the 2020 Draft, the Flames selected one of the more intriguing prospects available in the third-round (72 overall), that being Poirier. By all accounts, the now 20-year-old was a world-class talent heading into the draft, one that many believed could be a first-round pick. However, a lack of attention to detail in the defensive zone led to him being a mid-round selection.
Since his draft day, Poirier has continued to post big numbers offensively, while also improving his play in the defensive end. His growth in that area is a big part of the reason why he and his Sea Dogs teammates will be facing off in the Memorial Cup Final on Wednesday night. Through three games at the tournament, he has registered a goal and two assists.
As for Kuznetsov, his 2021-22 season has been an odd one. He began the year with the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League but was assigned to the Sea Dogs after just 12 games. The six-foot-four defender seems to have been able to improve his offensive game somewhat, as he managed two goals and 13 points in 25 regular-season games, and like Poirier has a goal and two assists through three games at the Memorial Cup. Expect both of the Flames’ prospects to see a ton of ice time as they look to win it all on Wednesday.
Several Flames Receive All-Star Votes
With the NHL awards having taken place this past week, several Flames were voted onto, or at least received votes for, the first and second All-Star teams. To little surprise, Gaudreau was named to the NHL’s first team alongside Igor Shesterkin, Roman Josi, Cale Makar, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Both Tkachuk and Jacob Markstrom were named to the second team, joining Victor Hedman, Charlie McAvoy, Connor McDavid and Jonathan Huberdeau. Elias Lindholm received a single third-place vote at centre, while Chris Tanev received a third-place vote on the back end. Though the playoffs didn’t go how this team had envisioned, this goes to show just how good they were throughout the 2021-22 regular season.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
The big storylines surrounding this team for the next few weeks at a minimum will continue to surround the futures of Gaudreau and Tkachuk, unless of course either (or both) sign extensions. It is certainly a stressful time for Flames fans right now, as they would likely see a major regression in the standings if they aren’t able to bring both back for the 2022-23 campaign.
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: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, 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.