Johnny Gaudreau wasn’t going to leave the Calgary Flames via trade, according to Brad Treliving.
The Flames general manager said he didn’t consider moving the elite winger, who signed a seven-year contract to join the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer, during a career year in 2021-22.
“No. I mean the team was going well and our hope was to have a strong finish to the year and go on a playoff run,” Treliving said on Spittin’ Chiclets on Tuesday. “You know these things at the end of the day, they’re easy to Monday morning quarterback after the fact and say okay well, you know you didn’t end up re-signing him and you should have moved him.”
Gaudreau, who spent his first eight seasons with the Flames after he was selected in the fourth round (No. 104) of the 2011 NHL Draft, finished tied for second in league scoring with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists) last season.
He became an unrestricted free agent after telling the Flames at the 11th hour that he would test the market.
“Johnny Gaudreau is going to hit free agency, test the market … it’s a disappointing day to say the very least,” Treliving said on July 12, a day before free agency opened. “I can assure our fans that we have done everything possible to keep John in Calgary… I want to wish him and his family the very, very best. He gave us eight great years here.
“I firmly believe there’s nothing more we could have done. We respect it… I think this was a real hard decision for John… I think everybody operated with the right intentions.”
Gaudreau signed a $68.25 million contract with Columbus the next day, ending his tenure as one of the Flames’ most beloved skaters and setting off one of the most emotional summers in the history of the Calgary franchise.
“I think it would have been a real difficult thing to see, a thing for us to do with the season we were having,” Treliving said Tuesday. “How important Johnny was and the season that he was having. And again, our hope was to get him done in the off-season. It didn’t happen.
“But no, that wasn’t anything we put any thought into.”