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Source: Johnny Gaudreau Would Love to Play for Flyers, But …

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Johnny Gaudreau, Philadelphia Flyers

Johnny Gaudreau, would love to sign a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, but a source close to the star left winger wonders if Philly has enough money to sign him.

In the past, teams were allowed to talk to prospective unrestricted free agents starting a day after the draft, which this year, would have been Saturday. In the new CBA, agents and teams can’t talk (wink, wink) until the opening of free agency Wednesday at noon.

Maybe the Flyers and Gaudreau’s agent will talk soon.

Maybe the Flyers will clear cap space and somehow make the South Jersey native return home.

Right now, that looks like a long shot.

Gaudreau, a six-time All-Star selection who was a fourth-round steal in 2011, set career highs in goals (40) and points (115) with the Calgary Flames last season.

He is regarded as the top free agent on the market, and the Flames have reportedly offered him an eight-year deal with an annual $9.5 million cap hit.

According to CapFriendly, the Flyers currently have about $119,000 in cap space — and that’s with money earmarked for just 19 players. Teams carry 22 or 23 players.

In the summer, teams can exceed the $82.5 million cap by 10 percent, so the Flyers could make a minor move or two and then conceivably sign Gaudreau. They could later make some other moves to reduce their payroll in the upcoming months.

The Philadelphia Flyers could also gain cap relief if defenseman Ryan Ellis ($6.25 million cap hit) ends up on the long-term injured reserve list.

Lots of questions

There are lots of ifs involved to enable Gaudreau to play for the Orange and Black.

Gaudreau “would (come to the Flyers), but they don’t have any money,” the source told Philly Hockey Now. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Calgary wants him back in the worst way, and they made him a really good offer. The Flyers haven’t reached out to his agent yet (that would technically be illegal), and I don’t know if they plan on doing anything.”

The Flyers “have some real bad contracts there,” the source added. “There’s people they want to get rid of but can’t because nobody wants them. I mean, there’s four or five guys they could put on waivers and no one would pick them up. It’s a shame, but they’re really backed into a corner right now.”

Before the Flyers acquired Carolina’s Tony DeAngelo ($5 million cap hit), another South Jersey native, “I thought, they’d make a small trade and have been able to get John under the  cap,” the source said.

The source said Gaudreau, who once starred at Gloucester Catholic High, “wants to play on the East Coast if he can. But, again, he’s not going to close any door he has with (Calgary). We’ll see what happens.”

Gaudreau, who turns 29 next month and has been known as “Johnny Hockey” since his days at Boston College, can only sign an eight-year deal with Calgary; his maximum deal with other clubs is seven years.

New Jersey has $25.3 million in cap space (with money committed to 15 players) and figures to be a major player in the Gaudreau Sweepstakes.

Hosts golf tourney for Glouc. Catholic

Gaudreau has lots of local ties.

He has a home at the Jersey shore and is active in the area. Example: He will host the sixth annual Johnny Gaudreau Golf Tournament on July 29 at Ron Jaworski’s Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Galloway Township.

Proceeds will help supply families with financial needs a chance to give their children a Gloucester Catholic education, according to tourney officials.

All tournament proceeds directly fund the school’s student-tuition assistance program.

The tourney has sold out its foursomes, but for info on purchasing a sponsorship, contact Pat Murphy at pmurphy@gchsrams.org, or Gus Ostrum at gostrum@gchsrams.org.

Those wishing to bid on silent-action items should go to https://e.givesmart.com/events/rla/.

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