(Sportsnet.ca) – The agent for unsigned Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau broke his silence on Sunday, indicating his client is not asking for a trade from the Flames. “No,” Lewis Gross answered, when asked if Gaudreau wants to follow the path of another unsigned free agent, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba. Could we see a point where that changes? “We have no intention of asking for a trade at this time,” he replied. “He wants to stay in Calgary.”
You know what? For the record, at this time I have no intention of getting drunk tonight for Monday night football. No intention whatsoever. But I might.
We’ve been saying it here since day one and I’ll stick by it; I don’t think Johnny Hockey won’t be in Calgary long-term. I could be wrong, but Gaudreau’s agent has publicly stated their “last conversation with the Flames was on Sept. 9” and things don’t look rosy at all. Why is this happening? Who knows. But we have an idea.
Johnny is from the east coast with his roots based in New Jersey, and his collegiate career in Boston. Ironically, his father Guy is a Vermont native who was a hockey star at Norwich University, just down the road from us BostonPucks guys, and was inducted into the schools athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. When Calgary was in Boston to play the Bruins this past March, with a large contingent of Johnny Hockey’s close friends and family in the house, one of the topics throughout the night from them was how Johnny wanted to be back on the east coast. And it wasn’t any secret amongst those who know him.
Does it mean he wants out of Calgary now? No. Does it mean eventually? It just may. And it makes sense considering how long this has gone on with the buzz that Calgary would like to do an 8-year deal and Johnny wants something shorter. Maybe something that can get him to free agency sooner in the form of a fast burning bridge deal? Again, who knows.
I don’t always believe everything I read when it comes to agents or players talking about how much they want to stay somewhere. A lot of the time, whether it’s sincere or not, it comes off as a negotiating tactic. “Of course we want to be here. Now pay us what we want. You’re holding this thing up.” But after hearing the conversations back in March, and now seeing how this is playing out, I do believe what I hear when people close to the player with nothing to gain financially say he’d rather be back home near family and friends in the northeast. Certainly a pile of cash could change Johnny’s mind.
We may get all the answers we’re looking for within the next week and a half on the significant number of restricted free agents who have yet to sign. But they’re starting to run out of time to sign their rising star.