It’s Unlikely the Flyers Land Gaudreau

Flames' Johnny Gaudreau
Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, left, and defenseman Nikita Zadorov celebrates defeating the Dallas Stars in overtime NHL playoff hockey action in Calgary, Alberta, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Johnny Gaudreau to the Philadelphia Flyers is a tale as old as time. The Flyers’ fans generate buzz for the Salem County, NJ native in just about every offseason. They know what they want: a goal-scoring superstar.

Brad Treliving, the general manager of the Calgary Flames, has to make a decision. It’s unlikely the Flames can afford both Matthew Tkachuk and Gaudreau beyond 2021-2022. Tkachuk is on the books at $7mil this season, while Gaudreau lists at $6.75mil. They both passed a hundred points this season while scoring more than 40 goals. Bigger paydays are due.

That is problematic for Philadelphia. Just how much of the little bit that worked in 2021-2022 is Chuck Fletcher willing to give up for another very expensive, although a superstar, player?

Fletcher has every reason to make the trade. It doesn’t get much worse than 2021-2022. The city kept the franchise in check, putting the heat on everyone and everything, down to the goal song. Just one more snafu: the Flyers were fined $295k for carryover bonus overage.

With ~$5.89mil available, Gaudreau is unlikely coming to Philadelphia in 2022-2023.

Cap Space Trading

Everything must favor the Philadelphia Flyers if they want to afford a superstar player. A leading scorer on a playoff team is searching for a big payday when free agency approaches. The bidding war would start at around $8.5mil. Totaling 115pts (40G, 75A,) Gaudreau is the best left-wing in the league.

Acquiring Gaudreau would be quite a coup. The likelihood of that taking place is very slim.

First, James van Riemsdyk and his $7mil contract have to be on the move. The Flyers were the worst on the powerplay. Other teams who might entertain van Riemsdyk at $3.5mil (Philadelphia likely retains 50% in any trade) are the Arizona Coyotes and Seattle Kraken. Both teams weren’t much better on the man-advantage. Maybe Philadelphia receives something for their leading goal scorer, or they send a package of picks with van Riemsdyk as they did with Shayne Gostisbehere.

In the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers have additional third and fourth-round picks to maneuver. They cleared $4.5mil by sending Gostisbehere with a second and seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft to the Coyotes. With a ton of cap space, perhaps van Riemsdyk with a third and fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft isn’t a bad deal (unless Arizona or the Kraken draft Juraj Slafkovsky.)

Of course, teams with an abundance of cap space are in better position to ignore Philadelphia, bidding on Gaudreau themselves.

A Sign and Trade

This situation presents the best chance, but Gaudreau has to include the Philadelphia Flyers’ modified no-trade clause. A sign-and-trade would take place before free agency opens. Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny are two names Fletcher would have to center a trade around. Konecny is the more expensive of the two, and the Calgary Flames would likely want Farabee.

What could a package look like for Gaudreau if built around Farabee?

  • Farabee, 2023 first-round pick, and two 2023 third-round picks.
  • Farabee, top-prospect, 2023 first-round pick

Of course, there are other names like Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, and Carter Hart. Hart and Sanheim would be two names that Fletcher needs to remove from the table, and Provorov isn’t a player the Flames need. Their defense is ready. It makes sense to part with a forward, a top prospect, and draft capital in a sign-and-trade for Gaudreau. Morgan Frost could be better in Calgary, or the Flames could dig deeper into the Flyers’ pool for Tyson Foerster.

A sign-and-trade allows a player to agree to an eight-year extension versus the maximum seven-year offer a free agent could receive. Philadelphia would be paying for the remainder of his career.

Both parties must be willing to play ball to pull off a sign-and-trade. Gaudreau could have the Flyers on his modified list, but given the context, why would he pick Philadelphia of the five possible teams on his M-NTC list? We’ve heard that Philadelphia is a destination market in the NHL, but Stanley Cup aspirations could easily change that.

(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)