The thing that is keeping all Calgary Flames fans up at night is whether Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk will re-sign with the Flames on long-term deals? If they do, what would the dollar amount look like? Every morning I wake up I instantly check my phone hoping for a notification from Elliotte Friedman announcing their extensions, and I know I am not alone when it comes to this. We asked what you thought they would sign for, and you answered.
Gaudreau and Tkachuk are due for some big raises
With Gaudreau’s last deal coming in at $6.75M AAV, and Tkachuk at $7.0M, it’s guaranteed that they will see much larger dollar amounts offered to them this summer. They both put up 100+ points, and Gaudreau was tied for second in the league for scoring in the regular season. So, putting that into perspective, here are the responses we got for what their dollar amounts will come to:
From the poll results, it looks like Flames fans only see two options being possible, but let’s dive into all four options.
Signing at a significant discount
If Gaudreau and Tkachuk end up signing for under $18M combined, the city needs to honour both of them and rename the city after them. What a dream this would be for the franchise. Both players are superstars in the league, and major dollars will be offered at both, but especially Gaudreau as he is an unrestricted free agent. I can’t see Gaudreau getting less than $10M on his next contract, and if he gets that dollar amount, Tkachuk would only be paid $8M. It just seems like to much of a gift to the Flames if this were to happen, but fingers crossed!
A realistic combined discount value
I believe between $18–20M is the realistic optimist option for this team. At the end of the day, both players need to be paid relative to the results that they show on the ice. A combined dollar amount like this would open the door to a matching $10M deal for both players. $10M is still a discount when it comes to Gaudreau, and it just might be a discount for Tkachuk too, but do they like what is being built enough here to take a little less money to stay in Calgary?
One thing that is working in the Flames favour however, is that Tkachuk is a restricted free agent, and they can offer Gaudreau an eighth year as long as he doesn’t enter free agency on July 13. The Flames know this is an advantage, and they must be working extremely hard during this window to get something done.
Both paid what they are worth
Between the two stars, $20–22M is the most realistic option in my opinion. Gaudreau is going to get offers from teams that are probably going to offer him around $11.5M for seven years. I can see teams offering him Panarin money just to get him on the roster, and then banking on a rise in the salary cap in future years to make the contract easier to swallow. If the Flames are going to counter this, they would have to offer between $10–10.5M for an eight-year contract.
Tkachuk on the other hand is an RFA, so he won’t be getting as much interest from other teams around the league just due to the nature of RFA deals. However, Tkachuk could easily get $10M for a long-term contract with the Flames, and he honestly should too. He proved to the whole league that he is worth that money for what he provides.
I believe that the only way Gaudreau and Tkachuk get less than $20M combined, is if Gaudreau accepts a $10M deal from Calgary, and if Tkachuk just accepts his qualifying offer. It is realistic that this happens, however it has been wide reported that the Flames are all hands on deck on getting them both locked up on long term deals.
Rolling in money
Over $22M is a lot of money for these two players, given the advantages that the Flames currently have in the negotiations compared to other teams. If Gaudreau is going to get $11M from the Flames for eight years, another team would have to offer $12.57M and seven years to match that total dollar amount. No team would pay Gaudreau more money than McDavid makes. That wouldn’t be smart and it is unrealistic. This is why that eighth year the Flames have in their back pocket is so key.
It’s no secret that the Tkachuks always play hardball during salary negotiations. We saw it when Matthew Tkachuk signed his bridge deal, and when Brady Tkachuk finally signed his long-term contract with the Senators. Matthew Tkachuk just might negotiate his way up to an $11M long-term contract with the Flames, but I can’t see Gaudreau getting $11M for the Flames for eight years. However, if he enters free agency and the Flames can only offer seven years, $11M is suddenly a very realistic amount for Gaudreau to re-sign with the Flames.
Get the cheque books open
No matter how you look at it, both players are going to get paid. They will sign the two most expensive contracts in franchise history if they do come back. The time to re-sign Gaudreau is right now, and the Flames know this. If they can get him locked up for eight years, it suddenly gets a lot easier to lock up Tkachuk long-term too. Stay hopeful Flames fans, sometime soon, Elliotte Friedman will hopefully bless our timelines on Twitter with news we are all waiting for. Run it back.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire