By: George Potter
The Calgary Flames season had a phenomenal 2021-22 season that unfortunately ended in heartbreak against the rival Edmonton Oilers 4-1 second round series. Now that the season is done for, there are big questions on what to do in the off season. One specific thing is signing unrestricted free agent and star forward Johnny Gaudreau raises some big questions depending on if he will stay or sign elsewhere. in addition to how will the flames depth stay consistent for next year.
The Johnny Gaudreau situation has been raising questions in the minds of fans and analysts alike on whether the star forward will stay or leave Calgary when the time comes for. During the first round against Dallas earned him alternate captain when defenseman Chris Tanev was out for injuries and scored the winning goal to advance to the second round.
However, the season is now over for the Flames since the Oilers knocked them out of the playoffs. Now that Gaudreau is a UFA he could sign elsewhere if he wanted to this summer on July 13. In a interview with TSN’s Salim Valji he left his future in Calgary up in the air.
“It’s all I’ve known for the past 11 years and it’s kind of a big decision here and I’m just going to try to figure out what’s best for me first and my family and go from there,” said Gaudreau
Matthew Tkahuck said to sportsnet that he is open to the idea of staying in Calgary for longer.
Both players have led the team in scoring as both of them had scored over 100 points. Making themselves key players on the Calgary Flames this past season. Therefore, both players could be in for a raise.
The big question that needs to be asked is how much the Flames could afford the amount is worth and if he will stay here in Calgary. One thing is for certain that Gaudreau and Tkahuck will pay some big money. In a poll from thewincolum the price for both players would be approximately $18- $20 million.
According to The Hockey News , the best contract for the Flames to keep Gaudreau specifically would be a 8 year $9-million. If the contract he signs is with Calgary, will there be a move to get rid of some key players the Flames cannot afford like Sean Monahan? In addition to How will the Flames keep some other key players like Andrew Mangiapane, there has been some mixed thoughts on Tyler Tofolli. In addition to some other players who are UFAS that have contributed on the bottom six-lines.
For any scenario Gaudreau is going to be put in, Pierre Leburn suggests that the forward will give the Flames a chance but the New Jersey Devils and the Seattle Kraken would be two teams that could be the next home if he chooses to sign elsewhere. As of currently there has been no deal as of yet despite false reports that were confirmed by Gaudreau’s agent.
From what it seems when it comes to cap space the flames currently have $26.9 million according to capfreindly.com. However, it may seem that this could mean that star players on the Flames could make up most of that space. This could be a challenging and risky offseason for the Flames.
Currently there are only four defenceman will be signed for next year while three are UFAs. The only Restricted Free Agent on defense is Oliver Kylignton which would be extremely crucial to sign. However, The Flames could possibly lose defensemen Erik Gubranson, Nakita Zadarov and Mark Stone.
The Flames Goaltending situation is another interesting thing to look at this offseason. With Jackob Marstrom becoming a Vezina finalist this season despite his performance in round two there still some other things to look at when it comes to goaltending for the flames
Dustin Wolf of the AHL Affiliate the Stockton Heat has shown an impressive performance in both the regular season and Calder Cup playoffs. There is a possibility that he might be able to make an NHL appearance next year. However, one thing is suggested for the goaltending situation and that is not to trade back up goaltender Dan Vladar especially with his record of 13-6-2 with .906 save percentage which shows how much of impact he has been and another goaltender to rely on.
This could be an interesting offseason for the Calgary Flames because of how many risky moves could be made during this time when it comes to both goaltending, offense, and defense. It’s also hard to say where Gaudreau will end up next season as well. These scenarios could possibly dictate how the team will do next year.