By Adrian Dater | | 4 mins
Johnny Gaudreau Next Team Odds: Are The Flames Still Alive?
Johnny Gaudreau is not a big man, at 5ft 9ins and 175 pounds. But he could be the biggest name available when the NHL free-agent market opens on Wednesday.
Gaudreau is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he put up 115 points (40 goals) in 82 games. He had 14 more points in 12 playoff games for the Calgary Flames.
Gaudreau’s last contract had a $6.75 million cap hit, and most NHL betting pundits believe he’ll get $9 million or $10 million per year on his next deal. But where will he play?
The Flames want him back and have made offers to keep him. But as of yet, he’s unsigned and the market is soon to open.
Let’s give our own NHL futures odds as to where Johnny Hockey will land.
Johnny Gaudreau Next Team Odds
Calgary Flames (-200)
Flames GM Brad Treliving painted a somewhat optimistic scenario the other day, when asked about the chances of Gaudreau coming back to Calgary.
Some reports have said Treliving has already offered Gaudreau a multi-year deal with a $9.5 million cap hit. That would be a nice raise on the $6.75 million cap hit of his last deal, but is that enough?
He’s a proven scorer, who has been durable despite his lack of size. He could conceivably get an offer at the $10 million mark or slightly beyond that. The Flames still seem to have the inside track, and Treliving has gotten Flames’ fans hopes up with his optimism.
I think, when all is said and done, Gaudreau will come back into the fold in Calgary.
Philadelphia Flyers (+400)
Gaudreau going to the Flyers would be a homecoming of sorts. While he was born in New Jersey and has a house on the Jersey shore, he is said to have been a Philly fan growing up. One of his bests friends, Kevin Hayes, plays on the Flyers.
Philadelphia’s problem, though: Very little cap room. As of this past weekend, the Flyers only had a little more than $1 million in available cap space. They would absolutely have to trade away some big contracts, such as James Van Riemsdyk and his $7 million, to even think of signing a Johnny Gaudreau-type player. Plus, Philly has some other players still to sign.
GM Chuck Fletcher would have to perform some magic to get enough cap space to afford Johnny Hockey, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.
New Jersey Devils (+600)
He’d be going back to his home state, where he already lives in the offseason. The Devils have a lot of money to spend (about $23 million) and have some very nice young pieces already in place, including forwards Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.
So, it obviously would make some sense, on paper, for Gaudreau to become a Devil. It won’t be a surprise if he does, though the Devils remain something of a less-than-desired location for free agents. It’ll be interesting to see if Gaudreau truly wants to “go home” or not.
Pittsburgh Penguins (+1500)
If the Penguins don’t re-sign potential UFA Evgeni Malkin, a big IF at the moment, they may make an all-out effort to get Gaudreau.
Being a teammate of Sidney Crosby remains a powerful recruiting tool for the Penguins, who would need not only another scorer to replace Malkin, but another marquee draw for fans, who are starting to get grumpy over the team’s lack of playoff success the last few years.
This is a long shot considering my NHL odds of +1500, but it wouldn’t be too far away from where Gaudreau grew up, and Pittsburgh is a nice place to live. Stranger things have happened.