Superstar forward Johnny Gaudreau will no longer be a member of the Calgary Flames.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving confirmed social media posts about the future of Calgary’s star winger as he met with media Tuesday evening.
Treliving said they were informed earlier today, after a lengthy discussion and negotiation, that Gaudreau would test free agency.
“It’s a disappointing day, to say the very least,” Treliving said.
“I can assure our fans that we have done everything possible to bring John and keep John in Calgary.”
Gaudreau leaves the Flames after 602 games played and 609 points. The fourth-round pick in 2011 also had 41 game-winning goals in his time as a Calgary Flames player.
The 2021-2022 season was the best in Gaudreau’s career from a points perspective. He scored 40 times and added another 75 assists on his way to 115 points. His previous best was 99 points back in 2018-2019.
Treliving said he had a strong belief, after his conversations with Gaudreau, that it was a family-based decision.
“I respect that fully. That’s something that certainly John has every right and we have nothing but respect for John the player, and John the person.”
The Calgary Flames provided a qualifying offer to star forward Matthew Tkachuk earlier this month. Tkachuk is a restricted free agent and signing the qualifying offer would give him a one-year contract.
Still, the Calgary Flames have a solid core of players – that includes Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane, Tyler Toffoli and others.
The AHL team also has some rising stars with Matthew Phillips (virtually the same size as Gaudreau), and 2019 first-round draft choice Jakob Pelletier, that could make the jump to the big club to fill the void.
Treliving said the last thing they want is a knee-jerk reaction to this development. He said they’re not just going to go out and sign someone to replace Gaudreau. He said they’d look at their options and make the best decision for the team.
“We just got to take a deep breath,” Treliving said.
“It’s been a long process. A long couple of days. At the end of the day, too, we need to move forward. We intend to do that.”
NHL free agency begins July 13 at noon.