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Johnny Gaudreau to Have Different Role With Flames This Season

It will be difficult for Johnny Gaudreau to be a point per game player with the Calgary Flames this season based on his expected usage.

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When Sportsnet’s Ryan Leslie and Eric Francis debated the notion that Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau could be a point per game player this season in the NHL, Francis pointed out that people think of Gaudreau as a point per game player, but he really isn’t. And, considering the fact the Flames are likely to use him in a new role throughout the 2020-21 campaign, he’s unlikely to reach that milestone again.

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Francis notes that only once in his six seasons in the NHL has Gaudreau eclipsed the point per game pace, scoring 99 points a couple of seasons ago. So too, as the Flames focus on playoff success and how best to utilize their roster, Gaudreau may not be placed in situations where he gets the opportunity to hit those totals again.

Francis explains:

“I think the real reason why he’s going to be just under a point per game pace is because I think they’re going to use Johnny Gaudreau differently this year, significantly differently.”

Francis says Gaudreau’s showing in the playoffs last season will force the Flames to use him in a secondary role all year. He believes others will get the first line minutes. “5-on-5, I think Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are going to play a lot less minutes than they have in the past.” He adds that the Flames will want to roll four lines and that means shifting the focus away from Gaudreau as the primary driver on offense.

Where Will Gaudreau’s Points Come From?

Francis believes that Gaudreau will continue to be a powerhouse on the power play and that he’ll still get his fair share of points that way. Ryan Leslie agreed with the fact the Flames may use him differently, but also believes Gaudreau could still be an offensive force; it will just have to come through less games and different usage. Leslie adds that it will be fascinating to see how teams try to figure out a player like Gaudreau in 10 games over the course of this regular season.

The good news is, the Flames don’t necessarily need Gaudreau to be a point per game guy if others like Dillon Dube or Sam Bennett step up and have strong seasons.

Are the Flames a Top Team in the North Division?

Francis and Leslie argued that the Flames will still be a top team in the North Division. Leslie called them a top-three team while Francis called them a top-two team.

Saying they are deep, their improved goaltending and improved defense, they will be a strong team defensively and Francis says they should be better than a top-three team. Both analysts believed that other teams are improved but the Flames believe they are a better team that people give them credit for.

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