Flames star Gaudreau to test free agency
The superstar winger will test the free-agent market when it opens Wednesday, Flames general manager Brad Treliving confirmed.
"It's a disappointing day to say the very least," Treliving said.
"I can assure our fans that we have done everything possible to keep John in Calgary. ... I want to wish him and his family the very, very best. He gave us eight great years here.
"It is my strong belief that this was a family decision, and I respect that fully. John has every right, and we have nothing but respect for John the player and John the person."
Treliving offered a blunt response when asked if there's any chance the Flames and Gaudreau could circle back Wednesday.
"I don't anticipate that," he told Postmedia's Wes Gilbertson.
The Flames reportedly offered Gaudreau an eight-year contract with a cap hit over $10 million in an effort to keep him. It would've made him the highest-paid player in franchise history.
Gaudreau will go down as one of the best players to ever suit up for the Flames. His name is littered all over the club record books, ranking fifth all-time in assists (399) and points (609) in just 602 games played. Among Calgary's single-season records, Gaudreau's 75 assists and 115 points in 2021-22 both rank second in team history.
"Johnny Hockey" will also go down as one of the best draft picks for the team. The Flames selected him 104th overall in 2011.
Gaudreau ranked fourth in Hart Trophy voting this past season after finishing second in the league in points behind Connor McDavid. He also led the NHL with a plus-64 rating. His underlying numbers over the last three seasons are off the charts, too.
The Salem, New Jersey, product has established himself as one of the league's most electrifying playmakers. Since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2014-15, he ranks third among active players in assists and sixth in points. Gaudreau has averaged 29 goals and 83 points per 82 games in his nine-year career.
Evolving-Hockey projects the 28-year-old will sign a seven-year deal with a $10.9-million cap hit in free agency.