Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau could win Art Ross this season

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Johnny Gaudreau
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Johnny Gaudreau /

Calgary Flames fans always knew they had something special with Johnny Gaudreau. But nobody quite anticipated that he could lead all players in points in a given season. However, he completely has the potential to do that this season.

Johnny Gaudreau is really something spectacular this season. Last season, he had somewhat of an “off-season”. With 61 points in 72 games, it wasn’t as best he could do. Given that he did miss training camp and pre-season because he and the Calgary Flames couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract deal and started the season off relatively slow. But nonetheless, he hasn’t had that problem this year.

He currently has 34 points in 22 games which is tied for second among all skaters in the league. He’s also second in assists with 23. Steven Stamkos leads all skaters with 36 points and Gaudreau is tied with Nikita Kucherov with those 34 points.

Just last week, Gaudreau was four points behind Kucherov and six behind Stamkos. Now, he’s almost all caught up with both of them.

Related Story: Johnny Gaudreau is already miles better than last season

Before the last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Gaudreau was on a ten-game point streak which was the longest active point streak in the NHL. He was also on a six-game goal streak and a five-game multi-point streak. Unfortunately, against the Jackets, the Calgary Flames were shutout and Gaudreau’s point streak came to an end. But he didn’t miss a single beat in the game against the Dallas Stars. With three points in that game, he’s now tied with Kucherov. He’s had multi-point games in six of the last seven games he’s played.

While there was that off game against the Jackets, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and he could even tie Stamkos tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. In Gaudreau’s last three games, he has five points (and that’s with no points in one game). With Stamkos and Kucherov, they each have just one point in their last three. Kucherov has five points in his last five games and Stamkos has six in his last five. Gaudreau has 10.

Gaudreau is tied for first place in points among all skaters in the month of November with 19 points in 10 games. He’s almost averaging two points-per-game this month. Since he missed having any points against the Jackets, he has to play catchup. With three points tonight, he’ll be back on that two points-per-game this month. Kucherov has 13 points in nine games this month and Stamkos has 12 in nine games. They’ve slowed down since October, but Gaudreau has only been improving.

Could this be because of new teammate Jaromir Jagr?

CALGARY, AB – NOVEMBER 9: Jaromir Jagr #68 and Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames celebrate a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game on November 9, 2017 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB – NOVEMBER 9: Jaromir Jagr #68 and Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames celebrate a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game on November 9, 2017 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

A few weeks ago, Jagr mentioned how he talked to Gaudreau and told him that he could lead the league in points, but it’s up to him to do that. Basically saying, “Come on kid, start acting like a superstar.” Every game, you see Jagr talking to different players on the bench about what they could do differently on a given play. Many times, that player is Johnny Gaudreau.

Via Sporting News:

"“I talked to him many times,” Jagr said of Gaudreau. “I told him he’s got such a great talent, but it’s up to him how he’s going to take it. With his talent he can win the scoring (race) every year. It’s just up to him. He’s so quick. He’s so good one-on-one. He always keeps skating. It’s tough to shut him down one-on-one. When he’s skating like this it’s kind of impossible. If you double-team him he’ll always find somebody open.“It’s just up to him.”"

Even Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan knows how much potential Jagr sees in Gaudreau.

Via Calgary Sun:

"“Of course, you can always find Jags there,” Gulutzan said with a grin, recalling a moment from earlier on this six-game road-trip. “He was talking to me about how much he thinks of Johnny (Gaudreau) as a player and his offensive instincts. He’s told him that, and he’s talked to him about his mindset going into games and how he has to think like a top guy and want to win and to do well every shift. That’s one of the challenges for high-end players is that they have to will themselves every shift to get something done, so Jags has talked to him at length about those kind of things.“He speaks very highly of him. He says he’s got a great seat a lot of nights to watch him play, he really thinks a lot of him.”"

Of course, Jagr would know all about winning the Art Ross. Seeing how he’s won it five times, four times in a row. Over the last five seasons, the highest amount of points accumulated by the Art Ross winner was 109 points. Gaudreau right now is on pace for 126 points. Of course, he probably won’t keep that up, but on the other hand, you never know.

Related Story: Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan: Dynamic duo

Three weeks ago, Gaudreau was at a pace of 101 points. And I was thinking, “yeah that’s great, but he most likely won’t keep up this pace all season long”. Then another week went by, and his projected points increased. And then another week went by, and it increased again. And now he’s at 126 points. So he’s really making me eat my words here.

Right now, we’re among some players who will go down in history of some of the best point scorers in NHL history. With the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Evgeni Malkin, etc. Those players have all won the Art Ross at some point. Gaudreau is ahead of all those players in points right now. If Gaudreau keeps up his point pace and Kucherov and Stamkos keep slowing down (which in reality, they most likely won’t slow down a ton, but one can dream), Gaudreau can lead all players in points in a matter of days.

Next: Three stars of the week Nov. 13-19

If you had told me in the off-season that Gaudreau was a legitimate Art Ross candidate, I’d say, “No way. He’s great, but I’m a realist.” And now, he’s making me eat my words again.