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Will Johnny Gaudreau Test This Summer's Free-Agent Market?

Re-signing Johnny Gaudreau is the off-season priority for the Calgary Flames, so how will his summer go?

Re-signing Johnny Gaudreau is the off-season priority for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving. Coming off a career-best 115-point season, the 28-year-old left winger has indicated his willingness to stay in Calgary. Nevertheless, there's media speculation over where he'll go if he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Gaudreau might stay put if the Flames offer up an eight-year deal worth around $9-million annually. Otherwise, he could seek a seven-year contract with an annual cap hit of $10 million on the open market.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun believes Gaudreau will give the Flames a chance to sign him. However, he wouldn't be surprised if the winger looks at what he can get on the open market.

The New Jersey Devils could be among the suitors with $25.3 million in cap space. LeBrun noted that they must also sign restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt, who's coming off a career-best 73-point performance.

LeBrun also mentioned the Seattle Kraken as a wild card, pointing out their plentiful cap space and his belief they'll be aggressive in the free-agent market. GM Ron Francis successfully signed two of last summer's top free agents in Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz but Gaudreau could be tougher to land.

Hailey Salvian of The Athletic suggested the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators as possible destinations. The Flyers and Isles, however, lack sufficient cap space to sign a big-ticket player such as Gaudreau.

The Penguins will have room if Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang depart via free agency while the Predators could seek a replacement for Filip Forsberg if he signs elsewhere. Nevertheless, both clubs could balk if Gaudreau seeks north of $9-million annually.

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