The most important move of the Calgary Flames’ off-season was never going to be a trade, draft pick or unrestricted free agent signing. Rather, the Flames’ biggest transactions of the summer were always set to be the signings of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary’s two bright, young stars who were both restricted free agents this off-season.
The Flames have taken care of the former, inking Monahan to a seven-year, $44.625-million deal, and they’re working on getting Gaudreau’s deal done. According to Flames GM Brad Treliving, the Flames have “every confidence” that they can find common ground with Gaudreau, but Monahan took it one step further, making it clear that he believed Gaudreau would be signed without missing a minute of action.
"It takes time," Monahan said, via NHL.com’s Aaron Vickers. "I'm positive he's going to be here for Oct. 12 and be playing for the Calgary Flames. I'm not worried about it. Brad is doing his work on that part. I'm just looking forward to getting off to the World Cup and playing with him there, and continue that chemistry into the season.”
None of this is to say that Monahan has the inside scoop, though. In fact, Monahan acknowledged that even with all the talk about the duo signing similar contracts or signing on the same day, it’s not something he and Gaudreau have spoken about at any length.
"We both have different agents and we're just friends and teammates,” Monahan said, via NHL.com. “That's the business side of it. We didn't get into too much detail about it. We just talk about regular things we'd normally talk about. I'm just happy my deal's done. Hopefully, Johnny can get done soon and we'll get back on the ice together.”
The big question when it comes to Gaudreau’s deal is what exactly is required to get him to sign on the dotted line. There had been reports that the asking price would be similar for both players, but Gaudreau’s production exceeds Monahan’s over the past two campaigns. That caused some pointed to Vladimir Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60-million deal as a potential framework for Gaudreau’s contract. If that’s the case, Gaudreau would potentially carry a cap hit worth upwards of $1 million more than Monahan.
"I think there's some uniqueness when you have two young players like this, relatively the same age, coming out at the same time," Treliving said of Gaudreau’s contract situation. "Is there uniqueness? Sure there is. Does one impact the other? There's a marketplace. We'll continue to work away. That's all you do. You pick away at it every little day.”
As far as signing the deal and making it work within the salary cap, that shouldn’t be an issue. The Flames have nearly $8.6 million in cap space even after Monahan signed his new deal, according to CapFriendly.
Brian Burke, the Flames’ president of hockey operations, predicted that both Gaudreau and Monahan would be signed by the time the World Cup of Hockey rolls around. Burke was right when it came to Monahan, and with training camps for the tournament beginning in roughly two weeks, maybe Treliving and Co. can find the common ground they’re searching for with Gaudreau sooner rather than later.
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