NHL Rumour Report: Johnny Gaudreau contenders surface as free agency approaches

The clock is ticking as free agency looms for Johnny Gaudreau in July.

- Though the Calgary Flames feel they're still very much in the mix for Johnny Gaudreau, there's a growing sense that the pending UFA winger may decide to take a peek at the open market before ultimately deciding his future.
- With just weeks to go before the market opens on July 13th, teams around the league are preparing their best bids for the Flames winger who put up a career best 115 points in 2021-2022.
- Some of those teams have been rumoured for quite a while. The Flyers, for example, are believed to be very interested and preparing a mega offer for the native Northeasterner. There are whispers around the league that if he were to leave Calgary, a team close to home like the Flyers or Devils would be a preferred landing spot.
- But the Flyers or Devils, the latter of which are believed to be preparing a sizeable contract offer, cannot provide much certainty of being teams that make noise in the playoffs. Gaudreau, who will be 29 in the Fall, is eager to be on a team that can win now. The Flames appear to offer the best chance at that in the immediate future - at least until other contenders come knocking.
- Aside from the three well-known suitors, rumblings suggest the Seattle Kraken could be lurking in the weeds as well. Unsatisfied with their team's lack of scoring in year one, Seattle are expected to be aggressive on Gaudreau, as well as other offensive-minded players such as Kevin Fiala, John Klingberg, Tyson Barrie and Kris Letang.

- There is an increasing likelihood that Gaudreau at least explores the free agent market, but that certainly doesn't rule out a return to Calgary. The list of potential suitors is likely to take shape in the coming weeks as teams officially get their offseasons underway.
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