Johnny Gaudreau is heading south of the border after nine seasons with the Calgary Flames as he headed into free agency and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In nearly a decade in Alberta, Gaudreau put up 210 goals and 609 points in 602 games for the Flames and this past season he notched 40 goals and 115 points, both single season highs in that regard.
His electric partnership with linemates Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm this past season helped the Flames finish first in the Pacific Division, ultimately losing to their cross-province rivals Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in five games.
For Columbus they will be receiving one of the smartest players on the puck in the NHL, matched with his quick speed and deadly accurate passes it has made him one of the best wingers in recent memory.
He should find a strong partnership with former second overall pick Patrik Laine (should he resign as an RFA) in Columbus, as he plays more of a sniper role on the team and with an elite puck mover like Gaudreau getting Laine the puck more often than not, it could spell an even more deadly combination than before.
Calgary now needs to pick up talks with their current RFA’s in Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington as Gaudreau happened to be the casualty of a stringent salary cap and losing arguably one of the most valuable pieces to your team for nothing will definitely hurt the Flames in the future.
As was reported, both the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils made Gaudreau offers, which would be more lucrative as compared to the deal he signed with the Blue Jackets.
Agent Lewis Gross and Gaudreau’s camp must feel that playing in Columbus will either be a better market to play in, or maybe that their is more of a chance to win with the Blue Jackets to be passing up on supposedly $10+ million or even playing close to his hometown with the Devils.
Whatever the reason may be Columbus should be a much more dangerous team for years to come.