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Flames optimistic Johnny Gaudreau will sign

GM 'hopeful' left wing will arrive at training camp soon

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Restricted free agent left wing Johnny Gaudreau remains unsigned as the Calgary Flames opened training camp Thursday, but general manager Brad Treliving said he isn't worried.

"We worry about testing today and worry about ice times tomorrow," Treliving said.

"Listen, Johnny is an important piece here and an important player. This is not the first guy who has gone through a contract situation and he won't be the last. That's just part of the business. You isolate that. You take care of business. You work away at it.

"The other piece is life goes on. We've also got to figure out who the 23, 22, 21 players are for Oct. 12 (season opener at the Edmonton Oilers). That process starts today. It's a part of the business. We know how important Johnny is to us. I know he wants to be here. We'll keep working away at that. The rest of the time the coaches are going to get the other guys ready to drop the puck on Oct. 12."

Gaudreau, who represented Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, led the Flames and was tied for sixth in the NHL with 78 points (30 goals, 48 assists) in 79 games last season.

Treliving suggested all of Calgary's players participating at the World Cup are expected to be delayed in joining the Flames at training camp, and in Gaudreau's case, he'll report once his contract is signed.

"It's a little bit different this year," Treliving said. "Whether they're here or not, they're probably going to get some time off. The whole summer [coach Glen Gulutzan] had prepared, depending on when guys come back and depending on how much guys play at the tournament, the first three or four days. Especially those first couple of preseason games, let's count them out.

"As far as the rest of it, the coaches are focused on the guys that are here and getting them better and getting them prepared. As guys trickle back into town, and in Johnny's case he'll be here as soon as we get something done, and get him up to speed as fast as we can.

"You hope for the best. We're hopeful and optimistic it's going to get done and hopefully done soon. Time will tell. We'll keep banging away."

Team North America was eliminated from the World Cup by Team Russia's 3-0 win against Team Finland on Thursday. Each finished 2-1-0, but Team Russia won the tiebreaker because of its 4-3 victory against Team North America on Monday.

Gaudreau, 23, finished the tournament tied for the Team North America lead in scoring with four points (two goals, two assists) in three games, and was one of two Team North America players to participate in the World Cup without a contract (Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba was the other).

Flames captain Mark Giordano said he is focusing on getting ready for this season and isn't overly concerned with what's going on with Gaudreau's contract talks. 

"When he gets here, there is going to be a lot of attention in terms of what is going to happen and what's going on with his contract," Giordano said. "All he can do is work with the agent and work with the team and get that done.

"For us, the players that are in camp, we need to prepare and get ready for the season. I don't think we can do anything differently. We're all hoping it gets done sooner rather than later but you understand as a player in today's game, there is a process to these things sometimes, and the bottom line is we're looking forward to having Johnny playing with us in the first season game."

Gaudreau told on Sept. 6 that his agent, Lewis Gross, would continue to talk to the Flames during the World Cup, but he and Gross wouldn't speak until the tournament concluded.

"I told him I didn't want to be involved during the tournament," Gaudreau said. "I'm here to play for Team North America and I'm going to put that aside and play with this team for the next month here."

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