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Gaudreau optimistic about Flames under Peters

Forward, competing at Worlds, looking forward to getting started with new coach

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

HERNING, Denmark -- Johnny Gaudreau hasn't had a chance to catch up with new Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters yet. 

Instead, Gaudreau is piecing together a scouting report with help from two United States teammates at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark. Peters coached goaltender Scott Darling and forward Derek Ryan with the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

"I talked to [Darling] about him a little bit and talked to Ryan about him a little bit," said Gaudreau, who has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in six games of his third World Championship tournament. "Good things. I'm looking forward to getting the season going and getting to Calgary already. I know the season just ended a month ago or so, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and starting the season. I think we have a really good team there."

Peters was hired April 23 to replace Glen Gulutzan, who was fired six days earlier after Calgary missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons. The Flames were 37-35-10, fifth in the Pacific Division, and finished 11 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Calgary was 17-20-4 at home, fourth worst in the NHL, and its power play (16.0 percent) was tied for 28th with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flames also scored a League-low 61 third-period goals.

A new coach has Gaudreau optimistic the Flames can return to the playoffs next season.

"Hopefully he can come in there and we can build a winning culture over there and get this thing rolling," Gaudreau said.

Video: VGK@CGY: Gaudreau taps home Ferland's feed

Peters is also in Denmark, coaching Canada. But the promise of a coffee date hasn't come to fruition.

"I've seen some interviews and stuff and have talked to him for a minute or two before the tournament started. He said we'd grab coffees over here," said Gaudreau, who led the Flames with an NHL career-high 84 points (20 goals, 64 assists) last season. "We haven't got to have coffee with him yet, but I'm looking forward to sitting down and chatting with him a bit. I'm excited to get this fresh start going."

So is Peters.

"When we get done with this event, and our focus has to be on winning a gold medal here in Denmark, when we're done with that we'll move on to the next," Peters said. 

Peters, who was 137-138-53 and did not qualify for the playoffs in four seasons with the Hurricanes, had one year remaining on his contract before exercising his opt-out clause April 20. He was the only candidate Flames general manager Brad Treliving interviewed for the job.

"I don't know much about him," said Flames center Mikael Backlund, who is playing for Sweden. "I've talked to a few guys, and saw the press conference, interviews and all that. I like to learn my own impression, too. I want to create my own image about him."

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