In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Johnny Gaudreau has earned himself a massive pay raise this summer, causing some to question whether or not general manager Brad Treliving will be able to afford to keep him.
In other news, Dustin Wolf has been recalled from the Stockton Heat as it appears head coach Darryl Sutter will finally give Jacob Markstrom some rest. Meanwhile, defenceman Chris Tanev has been nominated as the team’s candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Last but certainly not least, a number of NHL executives say the Flames are Canada’s best shot at bringing home the Stanley Cup.
Gaudreau Set to Get Paid
The 2021-22 season has been one to remember for Gaudreau. Not only has he broken the 100-point barrier for the first time in his career, with 111, but he also has a ridiculous plus-61 rating. It goes without saying, but he is a big reason why the Flames are the number one team in the Pacific Division.
While Gaudreau’s great season has benefitted the Flames, it might cause some difficulties for management this summer. The 28-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent when his six-year, $40.5 million deal with an average annual value of $6.75 million expires at the end of the season.
With how well he has been playing, many have suggested that Gaudreau could command somewhere between $9 million and $10 million on the open market and have the maximum seven-year term. Treliving stated on record that he is willing to do anything it takes to bring him back, but with Matthew Tkachuk also in need of an extension, it won’t be an easy feat.
Wolf Recalled from Stockton
Since the moment the Flames drafted Wolf in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft, many believed they had a steal on their hands. Nearly three years later, that seems even more likely, as the 21-year-old excelled in his final two seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips and has continued his dominance in his first season as a pro with the Heat. He received his first-ever call-up to the NHL this week.
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While it remains to be seen whether or not Wolf will get any starts in the remaining three games, it is a great experience for him to be surrounded by NHL players on what has been a very successful season for the Flames. The other great side of it is that Markstrom will finally get some well-deserved rest as he prepares for the playoffs, which are set to begin in just less than a week.
Tanev Nominated for Masterton
All 32 NHL have now nominated their candidate for the Masterton Trophy, and the Flames announced that they have chosen Tanev for the honour. The 32-year-old has been a great addition to the team’s back end since he signed a four-year deal before the 2020-21 season. Despite his great play, however, he remains underrated since he doesn’t have the offensive flash that gets noticed among the league’s top blueliners.
What many may not know about him is that he quit hockey for two years when he was in high school. He was frustrated after being cut from several teams while seeing a number of his teammates from younger years progressing in their development; he seemed to be a step behind.
Partly because of those two years off, Tanev wasn’t selected in the NHL draft. Instead, he had to scratch and claw his way through the junior rankings before playing one season with the Rochester Institute of Technology. Things picked up for him during that time, as he was able to put together a fantastic season and shortly after signed a deal with the Vancouver Canucks. He has since carved out a terrific 649-game NHL career and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. He is a very well-deserving nominee, regardless of whether he wins or not.
Executives Say Flames Have Best Shot of Canadian Teams for Stanley Cup
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic recently surveyed several NHL executives to see who they think has the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup among the three Canadian teams in the playoffs. According to those executives, that team is the Flames. Given that they are ahead of the Edmonton Oilers in the standings and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ well-noted playoff struggles, this doesn’t come as a major surprise. Nonetheless, it is still very exciting for Flames fans.
“As far as teams built for playoff success, I believe Calgary is the Canadian team that has the best chance to bring home (to Canada) the Cup. To start, they have the best goaltender of the Canadian teams (Markstrom). Upfront, they play a fast yet heavy, tough playoff-style game. They have an excellent ability to score goals and have very good special teams. I really like how they have built this team – strong up the middle and have a very good group of defencemen, great mix of puck movers and big, strong hard-to play against defenders. They also have an exceptional and experienced coach who has a great track record – Darryl Sutter is a winner.
This is not to take anything away from both Edmonton and Toronto – both very good teams with great players, but I just believe that Calgary is the team built the best for the playoffs and has the best chance, even though they have to get through Colorado, St. Louis and/or Minnesota … no easy path in East or West.”
If the playoffs started today, the Flames would face off against the Nashville Predators. By no means would it be an easy series, but they are more than capable of winning the series if they play their best. Given how well Sutter has prepared them all season long, there is little reason to believe they will not come out flying from the opening minute of the playoffs.
Up Next for the Flames
The Flames have just three games remaining in the regular season, with the first coincidentally enough on Tuesday night against the Predators. They will then have two days off before taking on the Minnesota Wild, followed by the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. With first place in the Pacific Division already locked up, Sutter may choose to decrease some of his top stars’ ice time to keep them healthy and rested for the playoffs. With that being said, if their hope is to play the Dallas Stars in the first round instead of the Predators, a win on Tuesday night would help with that in a big way.