‘Johnny Hockey’ Gaudreau is building a strong case to stick with Flames

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The Calgary Flames have at least some potential to be better than expected next season, but most would agree that their roster isn’t exactly overflowing with pure skill. With that in mind, every great Johnny Gaudreau moment – in exhibitions or not – seems to increase the pressure on Calgary to keep him around for the 2014-15 season.

The rave reviews keep streaming in, and not just for isolated plays:

Even correcting for mediocre competition, goals like these are just downright tantalizing:

The Flames seem to be aware that he has something to offer, although it seems like it comes with a caveat, which might not be ideal for a guy who’s been fighting the “yeah, but he’s too small” argument for probably the majority of his serious hockey days.

It’s telling that TSN’s Scott Cullen tabs the 21-year-old to lead the Flames in scoring … if he makes the team.

Some Flames fans might be frustrated by the prospect of Gaudreau being “held back” in 2014-15, yet the good news is that Sportsnet’s Mark Spector ranks among those who believe this won’t ultimately dredge up painful parallels to the Flames passing on a young Martin St. Louis many moons ago.

“The best thing we can do if we keep Johnny Gaudreau, or anybody else on the team, we will keep them for the right reasons,” Hartley told Spector. “I don’t think we can keep any player to satisfy for the fans, or to justify a (draft) pick. We have to keep them for the right reasons.”

So far, early reports indicate that the diminutive scorer is giving Calgary every reason to keep him around.