“I’m open”: Jonathan Huberdeau will entertain long-term extension with the Calgary Flames.
The collective sigh of relief was probably heard from Cranston to Crescent Heights when Huberdeau was asked the collective question on the minds of Flames fans everywhere.
Would you be open to staying in Calgary on a long-term deal?
Huberdeau, the newest member of the Flames after a shocking Friday night deal that saw he and MacKenzie Weegar flipped for Matthew Tkachuk in a jaw-dropper, is open to it.
“We’ve never really talked about that, but I’m open to staying in Calgary for a long time,” he said in his first introduction to local media on Monday. “We’ve only been there 48 hours and we haven’t got to go to Calgary and see everything, but I’m open for it and I’ll kind of leave that to the GM and the agent. They already started talking about it. We’ll see what’s going to happen. I’m open for sure.”
The exhale comes after Calgary lost its two most productive players in consecutive weeks.
Franchise face Johnny Gaudreau departed the team as a free agent after eight seasons and 602 games, opted for a shorter-term and less money to join the Columbus Blue Jackets when he hit the open market on July 13.
Gaudreau was coming off his best season in the NHL, tying Huberdeau for second in the league with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists).
The frustration in Calgary doubled-down when Matthew Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, told Flames general manager Brad Treliving he wouldn’t be returning on a long-term pact just a week later.
Tkachuk was coming off his best season — a 42-goal, 104-point campaign.
Hubdereau is entering the final season of a six-year deal that pays him $5.9 million annually, causing Flames fans to panic about his contractual situation and, understandably, desire to stay long-term.
Weegar, too, is also in the final year of his deal.
Like his Panthers teammate, the defenceman has shown at least a moderate interest in locking up long-term with his new club.
“I’m open to sign a long-term deal,” said Weegar, who had 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 80 games with the Panthers last season. “It’s been quick and it’s been short so far, but the city and the team, there’s no reason not to be open about it. I’m looking forward to my agent talking to Brad and seeing what’s going on. I’m very open to it.”
His desire hinges on answering a few questions.
“It’s are we a winning team? How is the city? How are the teammates? How are my coaches? I think those are a lot of boxes you check to sign a long-term deal with a team.
“I’m open to it. I’ve heard great things about all those things I just said. I guess it’s just coming down and getting down there and experiencing it myself, and Brad and my agent as well just talking, negotiation talks, seeing if it works for both sides. Those are some of the things.”
Neither has been to Calgary since the trade shook down, so even preliminary chatter of a long-term extension is premature.
But, at least on Monday, both expressed an interest in at least exploring the notion.
And that’ll have Calgary happy, at least in the short term, after losing two franchise faces in consecutive weeks.
“It’s tough to answer that question now because Friday night you think you’re still in Florida and now we’re talking Monday with a new team and you don’t know if you’re going to sign an extension and stuff like that,” Huberdeau said.
“I’ve still got one year left on my contract. I’m open to staying with the Flames. But at the end of the day it’s not my decision. It’s with the GM and my agent to work this out. It’s something I’m open about it. They’re the one that traded for me. That means they want me.
“Obviously the situation was different with Tkachuk wanting to leave Calgary. They still went and got us. You want to play for a team that wants you.
“That’s all I want.”