Let’s be open and transparent: I love Johnny Gaudreau. I always have. From the first time I saw him skate at Boston College to him scoring his first NHL goal during his first NHL game.
Let’s also be open and transparent: I’ve also been critical of his play and questioned whether he was motivated or liked playing in Calgary.
(Psssst. It’s ok to be both)
Pinder putting Francis in his place is everything #CofRed #FireFrancis pic.twitter.com/cSyBSDH6oV— In The Dome (@InTheDomePod) February 22, 2021
I wanted to get both of those things out of the way so it couldn’t be said that I did or didn’t say things both good or positive about Calgary’s most dynamic offensive player in years. Why are we even getting into this now? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock there’s been certain people pushing a nonsensical and idiotic agenda blaming Johnny Gaudreau for all that is wrong with the Flames. There’s been a public campaign to have Johnny Hockey shipped out of town for a myriad of reasons, all of which don’t make much sense at all. Trading your best offensive player for almost any reason is never a good idea and that applies to #13.
Here’s where this should go: If I’m the Flames I’m BEGGING Gaudreau to sign an extension this summer, not looking to trade him. Johnny Gaudreau is not the problem in Calgary, he’s part of the solution. If you can’t see that, grab a spoon and remove your eyeballs because you don’t need them, clearly. Gaudreau is a player you ABSOLUTELY build around from here on out. You put together a roster that is complimentary to his skills and for the love of all that is holy, you get him a real centre and someone competent to play on his other wing. You also get a coach that knows how to put a lineup together and builds a line with him as the centre piece and two other quality bodies. Not Josh Leivo. Not Dominik Simon. Not Sam Bennett. Heck, I’m even over the Johnny and Mony connection. Put him with Lindholm and you’ve got a start.
This season Gaudreau has shown he can play a two way game, something he hasn’t really done in the past. I’m not saying he’s Mikael Backlund. I’m not asking him to be Mikael Backlund. What he’s done this season has been just fine. He’s been backchecking, getting sticks in the lane, hustling back to break up rushes, all while leading the Flames in goals (9) and points (18). So yeah, let’s totally get rid of one of the Flames best players and one, who for almost the entire season so far, has given it his all and performed at a high level. Can’t say that for many guys on this team.
Currently, this problematic player who does nothing right, is 20th in the league in points (tied with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one behind Patrice Bergeron and a mere three behind Quinn Hughes who’s in 12th place) and is in a log jam of players who are in effect tied for 10th overall with 9 goals, one being Toronto’s Mitch Marner. He’s knocked home four PPGs and is fifth overall in GWG with four. Yeah, you gotta get rid of this kid.
Again, read what I said before: BEG him to sign an extension this summer. And that’s not out of fear of losing him and getting nothing if he walks as an UFA. Gaudreau has refuted the notion that he wants out of Calgary after his contract is up in 2022. Whether that’s just lip service or not, unhappy players are usually vocally unhappy. You never hear that from Gaudreau. The Flames and his camp should sit down after the season and hammer out some sort of extension that benefits both parties. Two years. Four years. Six years. Whatever, get it done and assure that Johnny Gaudreau continues to be a member of the Flames and piece to build around for the foreseeable future.
The one caveat I will concede is the “no show” in the playoffs chatter. The numbers don’t lie, he has struggled in the post season, but what player (say Bennett and I scream) hasn’t been bad for the Flames recently in the playoffs? He has played in 30 post season games with Calgary, collecting only 19 points. Nine of those came in 2014-15 and another seven came in 2019-20. So yes, he had a very unproductive two middle seasons where he only had three points in nine games. But let’s not make it out like he’s the only Flames player who’s dropped a few turds in the post season recently.
In 483 career games Gaudreau has 463 points, including his monster 99 point effort in 2018-19. He’s currently 9th all time in assists, 10th all time in points, 6th all time in GWG and tied for 8th all time in hat tricks with the Flames. The feeling and belief that you want to move this guy because...”reasons” is the dumbest thing I have even heard. You build around guys like this, though it would be just like this franchise to ship a talented player out of town and watch him flourish elsewhere. Or hold onto him and waste his best years by building nothing that resembles a team around him (see Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff).
In closing, you don’t trade or let a player like Johnny Gaudreau get away. You can’t. People lose their jobs over choices like that. If you can’t see that this guy is a player you continue to employ and build around, then maybe you should partner up with someone else as dumb as you so you can make up theories and spout nonsense because you have marshmallow for brains. The only way you trade Johnny Gaudreau is if it’s for his mental well being to get him out of a toxic environment and he comes to you with the request. And even THAT should be attempted to be squashed. Get rid of Johnny Gaudreau, lol. That’s a good one.