Johnny Gaudreau said he would like to remain with the Calgary Flames.
Calgary is focused on granting that request, said general manager Brad Treliving.
“We want him to be a Calgary Flame,” Treliving said Saturday. “He’s been one his entire career. I think he has a chance to be one of the greatest in franchise history, and there have been some great ones.”
The forward could be an unrestricted free agent on July 13 after playing the final season on a six-year, $40.5 million contract (average annual value of $6.75 million). The Flames lost Game 5 of the second round of the Western Conference to the Edmonton Oilers and were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday.
Gaudreau said he wants to win the Stanley Cup with the Flames, but will meet with his agent in a week’s time to help determine his next move.
“I’ve been here for 11 years and I haven’t reached that ultimate goal,” Gaudreau said. “It’s been a while since they won here (1989). So I think it would be very special to win a Cup here. It’s something I’ve kind of dreamed of my whole life, and Calgary is a great place to do that. .”
The 28-year-old had an NHL record 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists) this season, tied with the Florida Panthers forward. Jonathan Huberdeau (30 goals, 85 assists) for second place in the League. Forward greasers only Connor McDavid had more (123 points; 44 goals, 79 assists).
“Whether I’m here for next year or not, who knows what happens?” said Gaudreau. “But when my time is up here, I hope people remember me as a good person off the ice… I just want people to know how grateful I am that they have me here. It might get stuck with me.
“My next-door neighbors, I’m sure they’ve been shoveling my snow all year just to bring me back. You go to Starbucks, you go out to eat, everyone is so welcoming and really wants me back here. And it’s great. This is what you want to hear. This is what you want people to think of you, that they want you on their team. It’s a little overwhelming at times, but it’s great to hear. I love it.”
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Gaudreau has played 602 NHL games since being selected by Calgary in the fourth round (#104) of the 2011 NHL Draft. His 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) is fifth in Flames history, behind Jarome Iginla (1,095), Theo Fleury (830), Al MacInnis (822) and Joe Nieuwendyk (616).
“In my conversations with him, I try to make him understand the legacy he can leave in Calgary if he stays,” said the forward. Blake Coleman said. “You could probably put his shirt on the rafters by now. Eight more years of Johnny, he’d be cemented forever.”
Gaudreau played on the left wing front row with center Elias Lindholm and right wing Matthew Tkachuk, each also holding an NHL career record in points this season. Tkachuk was second for Flames with 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists); Lindholm was third with 82 points (42 goals, 40 assists).
“It would be amazing to have him back,” Lindholm said of Gaudreau. “He’s had an unreal year. I was lucky to play with him and we had a lot of fun but you never know. I would love to have him back. He’s our best player and if we lose our best player it’s hard.”
Tkachuk may be a restricted free agent after ending a three-year, $21 million ($7 million AAV) contract.
Like Gaudreau, Tkachuk has only played for the Flames in the NHL since being called up in the first round (No. 6) in 2016. Also like Gaudreau, the 24-year-old said he would be open to signing a long-term contract to stay.
“Absolutely. I loved it here,” Tkachuk said. “I grew up here… It’s cool. It’s not just cool to go places and have people come and talk about the sport, and talk about what you mean to them and everything. But how happy the team makes them feel.” feel and how great they’ve made my life here.”
Gaudreau led Calgary with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 12 games during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had five assists in the first two games against the Oilers in the second round, but had one goal in the final three games before the Flames were eliminated in a 5–4 overtime loss in Game 5 of the best of 7 Series.
“I didn’t sit in the locker room and keep my shirt on or look at the stands,” Gaudreau said. “This is something I haven’t really thought about… I have a big decision. And we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, but I love it here.
“I love the fans. I love the city. But I never had that moment where I was like, ‘This is it for me.'”