One of the best American-born NHL talents is staying put in Canada.
American sensation Johnny ‘Hockey’ Gaudreau has re-signed with the Calgary Flames, his contract extension will see him in the Red and Orange of Calgary for the next six years.
Gaudreau was a restricted free-agent as of July 1st 2016 and would not be able to play with Calgary to start the season until a deal was made with the club.
“We knew going into the summer how important both of these players were for us,” Flames’ general manager, Brad Treliving said Monday.
Gaudreau’s contract is expected to average an annual salary of $6.75 million dollars. $400,000 more than his Canadian team-mate Sean Monahan.
Calgary management made it known to the hockey media on Monday that the difference in salary between Gaudreau and Monahan was strictly for cap purposes. With both players current combined salaries the Flames will have reasonable cap space going forward to keep the team competitive.
“They’re both well compensated – they’ll be the first to tell you that. But in the marketplace these are very reasonable deals. They do that to make sure that we can continue to build our team, put people around them, help support them, and ultimately, win the year,” Treliving said. “In a cap system you need to have a little bit there for everybody to eat in order to win.”
The 23yr old Salem, New Jersey native played the last two full seasons with Calgary. Last year, as a 22yr old Gaudreau had a career high 78 points, which tied him for sixth in the NHL. Gaudreau was a 4th round draft pick of the Flames in 2011. ‘Johnny Hockey’ as he has come to be known gained his nickname after this stellar 2013 season in the NCAA in which he was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.
The following season Gaudreau started right where he left off, this time time winning the Hobey Baker Award for top NCAA hockey player – that same year he made his NHL debut, scoring in his first game in a 5-1 loss to Vancouver.
Johnny Hockey himself tweeted about the contract signing Monday.
“We know how important Johnny is and I know I will sleep a little better tonight.”
“To make a deal everybody’s got to give a little,” Treliving said. “At the end of the day, these all take different lengths of time to get done. The most important thing is that it did get done – and it got done before the end of the season.”
The Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday Oct 12th to kick off the NHL season.
Here’s Johnny being Johnny.