It hasn't been the best season for veteran Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and there are now some rumblings that would appear to indicate his time with the organization may be running out.
There have been trade rumors floating around about Gaudreau for over a year now and those really picked up at the end of last season when the Flames suffered another early round playoff exit, one in which Gaudreau was not a big factor for his team. That combined with numbers that have declined over the course of the last two seasons in particular have seen Gaudreau's name mentioned quite a bit, but the rumors really gained steam again last month following some controversial comments made by head coach Darryl Sutter.
Sutter was asked about Gaudreau's upcoming milestone, his 500th game in the NHL, and his response indicated that he didn't have a great deal of time and possibly even respect for the Flames forward.
"Hopefully he has more energy than in his 499th game," said Sutter at the time.
Now a new report from Boston Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy has once again linked Gaudreau to a team that has often been mentioned when his name comes up, the Philadelphia Flyers. Murphy's source suggested Gaudreau could be a good fit for the Flyers organization, something that has been suggested many times in the past given that Gaudreau grew up cheering for the Flyers as a young hockey fan.
I must admit that while the rumor makes a great deal of sense on the surface, I'm not entirely sure this is the kind of move that will be made ahead of the NHL's trade deadline. For starters both the Flyers and the Flames appear like they are destined to miss the playoffs this season, with both teams currently sitting outside of the playoff picture with significant ground to make up, and I could instead see this turning into more of a draft or offseason type of trade.
The Flames trading Gaudreau would signal the start of significant changes for that organization and I suspect as a result they would be seeking something along the lines of a high draft pick or high end prospect in return. The Flyers on the other hand would likely not benefit a great deal in trading for Gaudreau now, unless they genuinely believe he could be a difference maker and help them close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the NHL's East Division. It's also worth mentioning that they would likely have to pay more now for 2 seasons of Gaudreau rather than what they would have to give up in the offseason for a pending free agent.