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Did NHL Pause Save Johnny Gaudreau From Being Traded?

Did the pause on this year’s NHL season just save the Calgary Flames from the decision to trade Johnny Gaudreau?

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Eric Engels of Sportsnet asks an interesting question in a recent article. With speculation earlier in the season that the Calgary Flames were contemplating moving Johnny Gaudreau as he and the team struggled, did this current NHL pause just put a hold on any possible trade talks?

Obviously, with rosters frozen, the Flames aren’t able to trade a player like Gaudreau or Sean Monahan, or anyone else for that matter. But, with speculation both were potentially on the trade block if the NHL regular season had been played in full and the Flames missed the playoffs, it’s logical to assume trade talks would resume if the season kicked back in.

Maybe not.

This pause on the season and the potential that the Flames will remain on the outside looking in if they aren’t included in whatever playoff format the NHL comes up with, could be enough to stop the Flames from looking at trading one of their big stars. At the very least, it might give a player like Gaudreau one more season to help get the team and his own play back on track.

Had the season been played in full, Gaudreau was on pace for about 67 points. Not terrible, but certainly not where the team needs him to be for the money he’s being paid. Monahan’s projected 58 points is even worse. The Flames need these two players to be the leaders for the team on the ice and if they can’t one of them may be moved.

Still, Engels writes:

Assuming we won’t get to see how they’ll finish this season, it’s now likely they’ll get another shot at it here next year on a roster which has nine of the team’s 12 forwards inked next season.

He notes that Gaudreau has two more seasons left on his six-year contract at $6.75 AAV, which includes a $3.5 million signing bonus this summer.

How Long Can The Flames Afford to Wait?

Assuming the Flames give Gaudreau and others one more season to turn things around, what if they don’t? What happens if the Flames struggle again in 2020-21? Who gets moved and what can you expect back in return?

On the other hand, Engels notes, if the right deal comes along this offseason, all bets are off.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Kyle Clifford Wants To Sign Extension

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