NHL Rumors: Flames want to keep Johnny Gaudreau, and will Rangers extend Andrew Copp?

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The Calgary Flames have one of the biggest pending unrestricted free agents on their team in Johnny Gaudreau.

Entering into his 9th season in the NHL, all with the Flames, Gaudreau has stated that he was open to an extension. The summer came and went with very little progress made in contract talks with both the Flames and Gaudreau refusing to comment about it in the media.

“We made a comment at the beginning of the year we weren’t going to talk about his contract publicly,” GM Brad Treliving said on “Hockey Night in Canada After Hours” Saturday. “We want him back here.”

Flames will do what it takes to sign Gaudreau

“We’re going to move heaven and earth and do everything we possibly can to get Johnny back here,” Treliving added. “You’ve seen it throughout the season. He’s a top player.”

Gaudreau, 28, has easily surpassed his career high of 99 points which he set as a 25 year-old during the Calgary Flames 2018-19 season. This year, the Flames leading-scorer is at 105 points (36G -69A) in 75 games.

He currently ranks 6th in franchise history for most points in a single season, just 1 point behind Hakan Loob and 5 behind Joe Mullen for second highest total. Kent Nilsson holds the mark with 131 points, which he recorded in the 1980-81 season.

johnny gaudreau contract
Oct 1, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) during an interview after the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Gaudreau’s current deal comes with an AAV of $6.75 Million and he could be looking at longterm contract in the neighborhood of $9M AAV.

Per CapFriendly, the Flames have around $26 million in cap space for next season needing to not only re-sign Gaudreau but a slew of other players. They will also likely look to extend Calle Jarnkrok and Nikita Zadorov. The harsh reality is there’s limited space.

All in all the Flames will have around 10 skaters and 2 goalies under term for the 2022-23 campaign. How much they spend on the three players mentioned will determine what they can do with the rest of their lineup.

Look for them to possibly move out some salary with Sean Monahan a likely candidate. The 27 year-old has 1 year remaining at $6.375M and is out for the season after hip surgery.

New York Rangers and Andrew Copp

The Rangers acquired Andrew Copp at the Trade Deadline. They sent prospect forward Morgan Barron to the Jets along with two conditional 2nd-round picks, and a 2023 5th-round pick in 2023. One of the conditional second rounders can become a first if the team makes it to the Eastern Conference Final and Copp plays in half those games.

Copp, 27, has 48 points in 69 games this season with 13 points in 13 games with New York.

Next season, the Rangers will have only around $12.5 million to fill out their roster. All that cap space they enjoyed at the NHL trade deadline evaporates once Mika Zibanejad’s $8.5 million and Adam Fox’s $9.5 million contracts kick in.

That’s why it should be an interesting offseason in New York to see what they will do and who they will keep. Both Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp are UFA’s this July. Some feel, myself included that they will not be able to sign both and it may come down to which player will take less.

In a recent article by Larry Brooks, he feels the Rangers will offer Copp an extension.

Copp, whom the Rangers will surely attempt to sign to a contract extension, has all but mastered the accelerated course of Playing with Artemi Panarin and has fit into the slot on the right side with No. 10 and Ryan Strome more seamlessly than any candidate for the job since Jesper Fast’s departure.

NY Post

Is it possible to retain both players and re-sign Kaapo Kakko, who is a pending RFA? I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. GM Chris Drury has a lot of work to do and depending on what Copp and Strome would accept, maybe there’s a slim chance.

Strome, 28, currently makes $4.5M and Copp comes in at $3.6M.

Look for the Rangers to get creative and to possibly move Patrik Nemeth’s $2.5M contract and even Filip Chytil’s $2.3M to make space.