The Calgary Flames have done pretty well for themselves this off-season. The Flames shored up their goaltending with the acquisitions of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, brought in veteran winger Troy Brouwer and even made some depth signings, bringing in Linden Vey and Alex Chiasson.
The most important part of the Flames’ off-season have yet to happen, though, as Calgary GM Brad Treliving has yet to lock up the talented duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to new contracts. Both restricted free agents, the 22- and 21-year-old forwards are set to cash in this off-season, and there has been talk that the Flames could try to get both inked to big money, long-term deals. And while all’s quiet on the Gaudreau front, a long-term deal that keeps Monahan in Calgary seems to be exactly what the center wants.
Speaking with TSN’s Gino Reda, Monahan said that the hold up at this point is that coming to terms on a new contract is “a process” and the two sides are trying to find a deal that works for both sides. But Monahan said he was hopeful, and he definitely sounds like a player who wants to be in a Flames uniform to start the 2016-17 season.
“I would prefer a longer-term contract, but that’s not for me to decide,"Monahan told Reda. "I want to be there, I want to be in Calgary for the rest of my career, so that’s something I’m looking forward to doing.”
It’d be hard for a Flames fan to get much better news short of Monahan and Gaudreau actually signing on the dotted line, but it appears things are moving in the right direction. That Monahan wants to stay long-term, too, is a good sign, as it likely means the same for Gaudreau. Monahan told Reda that he and Gaudreau have spoken about the contract situation, adding they both “want to be (in Calgary), both want to play together and we want to win in Calgary.”
And rest assured, any winning Calgary does in the near future is going to be centered on Monahan and Gaudreau. The pair, which skated nearly 1,000 minutes together at 5-on-5 this past season, combined for 57 goals and 141 points this past season, and the production both have shown likely means they’re due to become the highest paid forwards on the Flames’ roster.
There’s been talk the pair could be after matching contracts, similar to how the Chicago Blackhawks duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have operated. However, with some speculation that Gaudreau could land a deal similar to Vladimir Tarasenko’s eight-year, $60-million contract, that’s a lot of cash to fork over to two players and presents a hurdle for Calgary. The Flames currently have $14.97 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, which is less than the $15 million they’d need to hand over eight-year extensions that pay both players $7.5 million per season.
Considering Gaudreau’s production over the past two seasons and his ceiling, his cap hit should be higher than Monahan’s, but if the pair wants to remain together on long-term contracts, it sure looks like either Gaudreau, Monahan or both are going to have to make some sacrifices. That said, it sounds like Monahan would be open, at the very least, to talking about taking a reduced price if it meant the Flames could bring in the talent to make them competitive sooner.
“Our goal is to bring a Stanley Cup to Calgary,” Monahan told Reda. “So if (taking less money is) what it is, that we can bring other players in to have a little extra (cap space) and get them in to help us be a better team, then I think that’s the idea.”
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