CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano said Monday he is confident restricted free agent forward Johnny Gaudreau will be in the lineup when they open the NHL regular season Oct. 12 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Gaudreau, who has not signed, led the Flames and tied for sixth in the NHL with 78 points (30 goals, 48 assists) last season. Calgary on Aug. 19 signed Gaudreau's linemate, center Sean Monahan, to a seven-year contract.
"We saw [Monahan] go through it," Giordano said from the Calgary Italian Open. "We got [Monahan] done, obviously. There's no doubt that these are our two franchise players and the future of our team. I think everyone involved is still confident it's going to get done. I know as a friend of Johnny's, as a teammate, I'm confident he'll be done. There's still that time."
Gaudreau, 23, and Monahan, 21, have combined for 112 goals and 267 points the past two seasons. They will be teammates on Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, which will be played from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.
Gaudreau is expected to play in the World Cup even if he doesn't have an NHL contract but reportedly will not negotiate during the tournament.
"I talk to him all the time through texts," Giordano said. "He's in a good mindset, training hard back home. He's got the World Cup coming up. Obviously as camp gets closer and closer it'll get the ball rolling more and more.
"At the end of the day, there's always a little bit of anxiety. We know what he is. Everyone knows what Johnny means to our team. We know what type of guy he is. I think being optimistic, you hope as a teammate that it'll work out."
Gaudreau was selected in the fourth round (No. 104) of the 2011 NHL Draft. As a rookie in 2014-15, he had 24 goals and 64 points in 80 games and finished third in voting for the Calder Trophy won by Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad.
Gaudreau also played in the past two NHL All-Star Games and has 55 goals and 143 points in 160 NHL games.
Giordano, a defenceman who last August signed a six-year contract that begins this season, said he understands the process of getting a key teammate signed.
"I've been through it too myself," he said. "I didn't sign until basically right before camp. Sometimes the back and forth, it gets dragged out a bit. I'm sure it'll get done before the season starts.
"You're anxious to get it done. Myself, that's how I am when contract negotiations come around. You have that anxiety. You really want to get it done. But there is a process involved. There's probably a lot of back and forth going on between both sides.
"I'm sure at the end of the day something will work out."
Author: Aaron Vickers | NHL.com Correspondent