Since training camps have started for 24 teams, rumors are emerging left and right. One of the rumors was about Johnny Gaudreau apparently arriving at training camp out of shape. However, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving came out and denied the rumors surrounding the star player. Although the rumors were false, there are reasons to believe that Johnny Hockey could be on his way out of Calgary. There are also reasons to believe the Philadelphia Flyers would be in the derby for Gaudreau.
We’ll take a look at why it would make sense for both teams to make a deal and what that deal might look like.
The Philadelphia Flyers Could Make a Big Move by Acquiring Johnny Gaudreau
Why Would the Calgary Flames Part Ways With Johnny Gaudreau?
Johnny Gaudreau is signed for two more seasons after this one. The cap hit of $6.75M is reasonable for a winger as good as he is. The issue is that Matthew Tkachuk‘s contract also expires in two seasons after this one. Currently signed with a cap hit of $7M, he could ask for more if he performs as well as he has for the past two seasons. Contrarily to Gaudreau, Tkachuk will be a restricted free agent. He has established himself as a first-line left-winger in the NHL. Both Tkachuk and Gaudreau are first-line left-wingers. Therefore, the Flames could be looking at getting some value out of Johnny Gaudreau on the trade market instead of losing him for nothing two seasons from now when Tkachuk takes over.
Tkachuk or Gaudreau?
Why would they keep Tkachuk over Gaudreau? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, as mentioned earlier, Gaudreau will be an unrestricted free agent and will probably be able to get more money from another team. On the other hand, Tkachuk will be a restricted free agent and it will be easier for Calgary to keep him. Also, Tkachuk is the younger one and we never know when Gaudreau will start declining. Giving a long term contract to Gaudreau is more dangerous than giving one to Tkachuk.
Underachieving in the Playoffs
Finally, in the Flames last two playoff appearances, Gaudreau hasn’t been a big-time player for the Flames. They got swept in 2016-17 by the Anaheim Ducks in a series where Gaudreau put up two assists. Not the performance you would expect from your star player. Last season, in five games against the Colorado Avalanche, he put up a single assist. Although they were the favourite in that series, they lost and fans were pointing at Gaudreau. He wasn’t the same as he was in the regular season and that sparked the discussion of can Johnny Gaudreau bring the Flames to the promised land or not.
Why Would the Philadelphia Flyers Want to Acquire Johnny Gaudreau?
For Philly, it’s simple. They look like contenders and could acquire an elite forward like Gaudreau to upgrade on the left-wing. We’ll get to that later when talking about the trade. By acquiring him this offseason, they would get two seasons of Gaudreau at a pretty good deal. The Flyers are his hometown team and he could potentially take a discount in order to stay in Philly. He has mentioned before how he would like to play for the Flyers one day and he would probably not be against finishing his career there even if it includes taking less money.
On September 10th, 2018, Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. In return, the Habs acquired Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick in 2019.
This trade is a good comparable for what Gaudreau could be worth. Pacioretty is a first-line left-winger and so is Gaudreau. Pacioretty’s cap hit of $4.5M was also considered to be under market value.
There are a few differences between the two. First Max Pacioretty was a little bit older than Gaudreau when he was traded. He was 29 years old whereas Gaudreau will turn 27 years old in a few days. It’s not a big difference but it’s worth noting. Also, Pacioretty only had one year left to his contract but Gaudreau has two. This is not an important difference as Pacioretty signed a four-year extension the day he joined the Golden Knights. The Flyers could do the same thing with Gaudreau. Finally, Gaudreau produces more points. However, Pacioretty is the best goal scorer. Since they are both first liners, this won’t make a big difference because they have different styles of play.
With that being said, we can assume that Pacioretty had a similar value to Gaudreau at the time of the trade. The Flyers would have to give up a top-six forward or a top-four defenceman, a prospect that has the potential of becoming a top-six forward or a top-four defenceman and a 2nd round pick in 2020.
With the trade value that has been established, to acquire Johnny Gaudreau, the Flyers would have to give up James van Riemsdyk, prospect Cam York, and a 2nd round pick in 2020.
From Philadelphia’s Point of View
The Top-6 Forward
When the Golden Knights acquired Tomas Tatar at the trade deadline in 2018, he was having a rough season with the Detroit Red Wings. He was considered to be a solid top-6 forward that scores at least 20 goals every season. With Vegas, he wasn’t able to be that player. He was making too much money for what he brought to Vegas. That’s essentially why they put him in the deal for Pacioretty. When Montreal acquired him it was mostly to help Vegas with the salary cap. It was also Montreal’s plan to make him the top-6 forward they knew he could be. It was a good fit for Tatar and he replaced Pacioretty. He isn’t as good as Pacioretty but he has done very well with the Habs playing where Pacioretty would have played otherwise.
JVR would essentially be the Tomas Tatar of this deal. He is 31 years old and has three more years at a $7M cap hit. Gaudreau would be an upgrade since he’s cheaper, better, and younger. JVR could start declining at any time in the next three years but Gaudreau won’t. It would help Philly in the short term to win a Stanley Cup.
They would give up their first selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Cam York. He has the potential to become a good top-four defenceman. Of course, they wouldn’t be thrilled with parting ways with the prospect defenceman but you have to give up something to get something back.
The 2nd Round Pick
The Flyers will have to give up their 2nd round pick in 2020. It should be a late 2nd rounder since they are in a good position to go far in the tournament starting August 1st.
From Calgary’s Point of View
Calgary downgrades on the left-wing. They get an older and more expensive left-winger in James van Riemsdyk. Although he isn’t as good as Gaudreau, he can play on the second-line and let Matthew Tkachuk be the star on the first-line. JVR would also bring something different that Gaudreau didn’t have. He has played 59 playoff games in his career. He accumulated 18 goals and 29 points in those 59 games. His experience in the postseason could help the Flames get past the first round something they haven’t done in a while.
They also get a good defenceman prospect in Cam York. With Mark Giordano getting old, he could help the left side of Calgary’s defence that will be weak once the veteran leaves. York won’t necessarily replace Giordano but he will definitely be helpful when the captain retires. Also, we never know, York could end up becoming a replacement to Giordano if he surpasses the expectations. It’s hard to predict what a 19-year old will become in the NHL.
Finally, they get a 2nd round pick which is a great asset to make more trades or to find a potential steal in the draft.
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