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Dynamic Gaudreau seeks complete game

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- A team-leading 30 goals.

Ditto, with 48 assists.

The same at 78 points, of course.

Game-winners (6), overtime-winners (3), even-strength points (57), power play points (21) and shots (217), too.

What more could the Calgary Flames ask of 22-year-old sophomore Johnny Gaudreau?

“I think being in my second year here just learning about being in the league and feeling a lot more comfortable on the ice,” said Gaudreau, whose exploits as a rookie earned him a Calder Trophy nomination last spring.

“There is still a lot more I have to learn. Try to play better on the road, obviously. My road numbers aren’t too good but I love playing at the ‘Dome here. There is still a lot to learn, I’m still a younger guy, but I’m excited about the future.”

There’s plenty of excitement about the present, too.

Gaudreau spiked from 64 points in his rookie season to 78 in his second go-round against NHL opponents.

Only five skaters -- Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Erik Karlsson -- put up more points than Gaudreau. No one had more points on home ice than Gaudreau’s 56.

Offensively, the former Boston College standout has his game dialed in.

So what’s left to round out?

“I think personally, be better in the defensive zone,” he said. “I think there are a lot of guys, including myself, we have to help our goaltenders out a little more. I think the defensive zone is so important in this game right now. Even though I pride myself on being an offensive guy I definitely need to be better defensively.

“And then offensively try to score some big goals at big times and help this team win. We need to string along some more wins next season.”

Spoken like a leader.

And not just in goals, assists, points, game-winners, overtime-winners, and shots, either.

And joining 21-year-old Sean Monahan as one of four alternates under captain Mark Giordano isn’t hard to fathom.

“Obviously that’s not up to me to make that decision but if they gave me that kind of responsibility I’d gladly try to help this team as best I could,” Gauderau said. “I’m a younger guy and Sean obviously did a great job this year as the assistant captain and I think he did a really good job helping this club throughout the season.”

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