Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau to test free market in free agency, rejecting Calgary’s final offer

The Calgary Flames’ attempt to sign pending unrestricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau to an eight-year contract extension evaporated on Tuesday, when the two sides could not agree on terms and Gaudreau chose to test the open market, sources said. Athleticism.

In a Zoom call with reporters, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said, “I strongly believe this was a family decision. I fully respect that. John has every right to do so – and we have nothing but respect for John the player and John the person.

Treliving added that his next steps would be problematic because “you’re definitely not going to replace a player like John. This is something that we will look at as an organization.

“The wrong decision right now is to do a knee-jerk reaction and rush in and replace the player with the wrong answer. So we just have to take a deep breath. It’s been a long process over the last couple of days. , but at the end of the day, we have to move forward and we intend to do so.

Treliving said it had not attempted to trade Gaudreau’s rights and did not believe it had any chance of bidding for him as UFA.

“I felt there was a deal to be done there. Ultimately, when it comes to the final decision, I wouldn’t have gone through the process if I hadn’t believed that there was a deal to be done.

“It was not a financial decision. I firmly believe that there is nothing more we could have done.

Gaudreau is now expected to sign with a team closer to his family’s home in southern New Jersey near Philadelphia. The main contenders are believed to be the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers.

Gaudreau’s decision to test the market is the culmination of a years-long drama that has placed the Flames organization at a critical crossroads.

Gaudreau, 28, tied for second overall in NHL scoring last season with 115 points, behind only Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.

The Flames began the negotiation process by offering an eight-year, $76 million contract extension and reportedly upped the numbers over the past two days, so Gaudreau would average more than $10 million per season, which would have – per salary cap charge – made him the highest-paid player in team history.

Free agent with pending compensation Matthew Tkachuk, Gaudreau’s regular linemate last season, received a qualifying offer of $9 million on Monday and also has arbitration rights.

The pair, alongside center Elias Lindholm, formed one of the most productive lines in the NHL last season. Gaudreau and Tkachuk were both late-season all-star teams, and Lindholm was a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league’s top defensive forward.

(Photo: Sergei Belsky/USA Today)

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