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NCAA standout Johnny Gaudreau ready to sign with Flames

John Gaudreau is one Flames prospect with something to prove in the coming year. (QMI Agency)

John Gaudreau is one Flames prospect with something to prove in the coming year. (QMI Agency)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:03 PM ET

Johnny Gaudreau is ready to go pro.

Boston College head coach Jerry York confirmed to the Boston Herald just prior to Friday's Hobey Baker Award ceremony in Philadelphia that the 20-year-old Gaudreau has decided to skip his senior season with the Eagles and instead sign an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames.

Fellow Flames prospect Bill Arnold — Gaudreau's linemate at Boston College — will also sign and both skaters are expected to make their NHL debuts in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Canucks in Vancouver.

“Yeah, the Flames are going to have their corporate jet pick them up tonight right after (the Hobey Baker Award ceremony) and fly them out to Vancouver, and they’re going to play on Sunday,’’ York told the Boston Herald.


Gaudreau is the most intriguing offensive prospect in the Flames' system, but there are question marks about whether the 5-foot-9, 159-lb. left-winger can be effective against grown men.

A fourth-round pick of the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, the 20-year-old racked up 36 goals and 80 points in 40 games for the Eagles this season. He also tied Paul Kariya's Hockey East conference record with a 31-game point spree.

“I've heard a lot about him,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano earlier this week. “I'd like to see him live, actually. It would be exciting.”

Since the Eagles were eliminated in Thursday's Frozen Four semifinal round, the captain will get that opportunity Sunday in Vancouver.

Gaudreau is considered a shoo-in to win the Hobey Baker Award, the hockey equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. After accepting the honour, he'll be en route to Calgary.

“He's a unique player and has such an original skill-set that many people haven't probably seen before,” said Flames rookie Kenny Agostino, who faced off against Gaudreau as high-school foes in New Jersey and signed an NHL deal after finishing his college career at Yale last month.

“I've been playing against him for many years and he's very hard to contain. You try to contain the skill guys and he's very slippery and turns on a dime. He's very hard to finish your checks on.”

Added Agostino: “I know he's ready for pro hockey, that's for sure.”

Arnold doesn't have the same eye-popping offensive numbers, but the 6-foot, 218-lb. centre could have a future as a solid two-way forward. The 21-year-old centre, a fourth-rounder of the Flames in 2010, notched 14 goals and 53 points in his senior season at Boston College.


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