#1 - Johnny Gaudreau
Team: Calgary Flames (NHL)
Drafted: 2011, Round 4, Pick 104
Last Year: #1
Voting Points: 3537
In convincing fashion (92.3% of all 1st place votes and 185 more total vote points than Sean Monahan), Johnny Gaudreau is once again the #1 Flame in the Top 25 Under 25. Gaudreau BARELY slips in at the age requirement as he was 24 at the time of voting with a mid August birthday.
Gaudreau had another solid season for the the Flames in 2017-18 leading the Flames in points (84), assists (60) and PPA (21). The 84 points were the first time he topped the 80 plateau and it was a very solid rebound from his “subpar” season in 2016-17 (61 points). Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan anchored the backbone of the Flames offence, even though the team was struggling to find the back of the net last season. Besides Monahan, Gaudreau had Jaromir Jagr, Micheal Ferland and Sam Bennett skating next to him at times last season and until Micheal Ferland emerged as a semi consistent winger, that top line never really settled in.
Gaudreau will have some more help this season with ANY of the new options that could be added to the top line. Calgary could put James Neal up on the top line with Gaudreau and Monahan. They could put Elias Lindholm up there. If they really wanted to get crazy they could put Matthew Tkachuk up there and watch the sparks fly.
In any of the above situations it is Gaudreau’s line and team to carry this season offensively. While he isn’t a vocal leader and he doesn’t have a letter on his jersey, as he goes, the Flames go. If the Flames are going to make the playoffs they need last season’s Johnny Gaudreau to show up in 2018-19 and lead this team by example on the ice. The one thing fans complained about were the amount of shots Gaudreau took last season. It seemed that the narrative was he didn’t shoot enough, yet he took 45 more shots than the year prior and was second on the team (behind Dougie Hamilton) in SOG. So if you want to nitpick, Gaudreau should shoot more this season.
The Flames have a VERY solid young core that is inked for the foreseeable future and Gaudreau is a massive part of that equation. Calgary will need another solid season from #13 to start climbing the ladder in the Western Conference and get back in the playoff picture.
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