In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Johnny Gaudreau is reportedly still undecided as to where he will play next season, though he is said to have a very lucrative deal from the Flames waiting for him if he chooses to stay. Meanwhile, general manager (GM) Brad Treliving is expected to explore some trade options at the upcoming 2022 NHL Entry Draft. In other news, prospect Cole Huckins has been traded from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Last but certainly not least, the Flames organization and its fan base are mourning the passing of long-time organist Willy Joosen.
Gaudreau Remains Undecided
As each day passes, Flames fans are growing antsier and antsier when it comes to Gaudreau‘s future. The 28-year-old is on record saying how much he loves playing in Calgary but has yet to sign a new extension with the club, prompting many, including TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, to believe he will indeed test the open market (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: Gaudreau’s future with Flames remains uncertain as free agency looms,’ National Post, 07/03/22).
“The news is that there is no news, which is not good news if you’re Calgary, if you follow along,” LeBrun said. “I’m told, on this day, Johnny Gaudreau remains undecided about the offer from the Calgary Flames. His camp has not communicated to the Flames one way or another where this is headed at this point.”
The offer, which LeBrun alluded to, is said to be the most lucrative in Flames history, at eight years with an average annual value between $9 – $10 million. That offer will stand for some time, but the fact he hasn’t accepted it makes it seem as though he might want to hear from other clubs. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the superstar winger signs this summer.
Treliving Expected to Be Busy at 2022 Draft
Despite having only three picks for the 2022 Draft, Treliving isn’t expecting a quiet few days. The veteran GM is known for making some of his biggest moves at or around draft day, which should be the case again this year.
Not only does Treliving still have the tough challenge of negotiating new deals for players such as Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington, but he also has to find a way to create cap space for them. That could involve moving one of Sean Monahan or Milan Lucic, if not both.
While cap space is undoubtedly their biggest need right now, the Flames may also be looking to add blueliners with the likely departure of Nikita Zadorov and perhaps even Erik Gudbranson. Both of these needs could be filled at the draft, scheduled for July 7-8, given Treliving’s past track record.
Huckins Traded to Phoenix
This past week, it was announced that the Titan sent Huckins to Phoenix in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick. The 19-year-old, who the Flames selected in the third round (77th overall) of the 2021 Draft, struggled somewhat this season with 12 goals and 26 points in 41 outings.
Last season, which was his draft year, Huckins had 14 goals and 32 points in 33 games, making this year’s decline in points somewhat surprising. With that said, at 6-foot-4, 198 pounds, there is still plenty to be excited about regarding his future. Perhaps this trade is what he needs to get his offensive game back on track.
Flames Mourn Loss of Joosen
Some very sad news to report, as Flames long-time organist Willy Joosen passed away. Joosen was one of the main men in charge of getting the Saddledome crowds rocking for over 30 years.
“For 34 years, organist Willy Joosen brought so much joy and happiness to everyone who came to Flames games,” the team said in a tweet. “He was an incredibly kind soul who uplifted everyone around him.
“Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. Rest In Peace, Willy.”
On top of Joosen’s work with the Flames, he was also a regular at the National Music Centre in Calgary, as well as a member of the jazz scene. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
There is plenty for Flames fans to keep an eye on right now, particularly Gaudreau. At the moment, entering free agency seems likely, but as we all know, things can change on a dime in the hockey business. Regardless of the outcome, these next few weeks will be both exciting and nerve-wracking for the fanbase.
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.