New Calgary Flames star Jonathan Huberdeau wasn’t particularly happy with the way the trade went down.
That might not be a bad thing for the Flames.
Huberdeau is an elite playmaker entering a contract year as a pending unrestricted free agent. The 29-year-old was obviously stung by the surprise news late Friday night. Playing with a chip on his shoulder to prove his former club got things all wrong might mean another massive year for the talented winger.
And maybe – just maybe – that translates into temptation to sign long-term with the team that made him feel wanted.
“It’s something I’m open about,” Huberdeau said via Zoom as he and MacKenzie Weegar were introduced by the Calgary Flames on Monday. “They’re the one that traded for me. That means they want me.
“You want to play for a team that wants you — that’s all I want.”
Well, that and a contract that will no doubt require at least the number the Flames would have given Johnny Gaudreau, who tied Huberdeau with 115 points last season to finish second in NHL scoring.
That’s assuming he likes what he sees when he gets here.
Aside from a previous Calgary Stampede experience, the St. Jerome, Quebec product doesn’t know much about life in this city. And Huberdeau is still coming down from a weekend of shock after getting the trade call unexpectedly around 11 p.m. on Friday night.
Huberdeau joins Flames with one year left on deal
“It’s tough to answer that question right 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,” Huberdeau said when asked what boxes might need to be checked to get his signature on a long-term deal.
“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.”
Of course, the final decision belongs to the player. But given all that has transpired — to him so unexpectedly after thinking he could be a Panther for life — he may just have meant those early talks about salary and term are things his agent will work on first.
His agent, Allan Walsh, sent out a tweet later featuring an image and quote from Huberdeau that he’s open to signing in Calgary. He said it a few times during his Zoom.
Let the negotiations begin.
“We’ve only been there 48 hours, and we haven’t got to go to Calgary and see everything. But I’m open to it and I’ll kind of leave that to the GM and the agent,” Huberdeau said. “They already started talking about it.”