For the rebuilding Calgary Flames, Johnny Gaudreau is a talented prospect that offers hope for the future. The diminutive 19-year-old forward has been a star at Boston College for the past two seasons, and that’s where he plans to stay for at least another year.
And that’s fine. For now.
The worry in Calgary is that he stays there all four years and opts to become a free agent, spurning the team that drafted him 104th overall in 2011.
Gaudreau was a hot topic at prospects’ camp this week, with both the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun writing stories about his flight risk.
Not surprisingly, the Flames were playing it cool.
“We’ve had enough conversations with Johnny and with his family and with his family advisor that I’m not concerned about (him refusing to sign),” general manager Jay Feaster said. “The big thing is that I think we’re getting to the point with Johnny where, clearly, it’s fine to go back there now and play a year with his brother. But from our perspective, and we’ll talk to him about it here, we’d like to see him here.”
As for Gaudreau, he understands the concern after Justin Schultz waited out the Anaheim Ducks before joining the Oilers as a free agent.
“That was a big deal,” he said. “Some players do it.”
But that’s not his plan — “I’m strictly going back to school to improve my game, not to wait out the years to try and sign with someone else.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.