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Johnny Gaudreau signs six-year contract with Flames

Restricted free agent left wing reportedly gets $40.5 million

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will have left wing Johnny Gaudreau in the lineup to start the season.

Gaudreau, a restricted free agent, signed a six-year contract with the Flames on Monday. Financial terms of the contract were not released, but TSN reported an average annual value of $6.75 million, a total value of $40.5 million.

"We're thrilled," general manager Brad Treliving said. "We're thrilled to get a long-term deal done with a critical and big core piece of our team. Anybody that follows our team knows what type of talent Johnny is. Those that maybe didn't get to see him as much in Calgary I think got a pretty good taste at the World Cup of what type of talent he is.

"He's a special player and a special talent. To have him locked up for the next six years … it's a great day."
Gaudreau, 23, led the Flames in goals (30) and assists (48) last season, and was tied for sixth in the NHL with 78 points. He became a restricted free agent July 1.

"I have decided to resign with the Calgary Flames," Gaudreau said on Twitter. "As I have always said, I just want to play hockey. I want to be there for my teammates and for the fans of Calgary. I want to thank my family and my agent for all their support during this process. I couldn't have done it without them."

Flames center Sean Monahan, who was a restricted free agent, signed a seven-year contract with a reported average annual value of $6.375 million on Aug. 19. Gaudreau and Monahan have been linemates for the past two seasons, combining for 112 goals and 267 points.

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Johnny be good ��

Gaudreau played for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, when he shared the team lead in goals (two) and points (four), helping it go 2-1-0 in the tournament.

He missed all of Flames training camp.

"Oh, he's excited. He's ecstatic," Treliving said. "You can hear it in his voice. He's a hockey player. Not being with his teammates and not getting ready … his first question was, 'What time's practice?' He's excited. He's eager to get back with the teammates, meet the coaches, and just be back with the group.

"That's the thing. At the end of the day when it's all said and done is he's a hockey player. He wants to be at the rink. He wants to be on the ice. He's revered and loved by his teammates. That's where he is. He's excited to get this behind him and get back playing."

Calgary opens the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports 2), and Gaudreau is expected to be in the lineup. There were concerns the Flames would have to start without him.

"I know that gets out there, but it's like all things, you focus on the task at hand," Treliving said. "No question, as it got closer to the start of the season, that wasn't obviously what we wanted. But you stay at it and you just keep banging away.

"He's a hockey player. He wants to play. He wants to play, so until you have a deal, you don't have a deal … but we wanted him in there and he wanted to get in there. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than you want, but it's all good now."

A fourth-round pick (No. 104) at the 2011 NHL Draft, Gaudreau has 143 points (55 goals) in 160 NHL games and has the sixth-best point-per-game average (0.89) in the League since the 2014-15 season.

As a rookie in 2014-15, he scored 24 goals and was second on the Flames behind Jiri Hudler with 64 points, helping them end a five-season Stanley Cup Playoff drought. Gaudreau led Calgary with nine points in 11 playoff games and shared the Flames lead in goals (four) with Hudler, helping them defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round in six games before losing to the Anaheim Ducks in five games in the second round.

Defensemen Hampus Lindholm of the Ducks, Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets and Rasmus Ristolainen of the Buffalo Sabres, and forwards Rickard Rakell of the Ducks and Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the remaining unsigned restricted free agents.

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