Gaudreau Signing Headlines Dramatic Start To NHL Offseason
The NHL offseason has just begun, and there’s already been a ton of drama in it. Big trades and signings have been happening more as time passes by. However, the news regarding star left winger Johnny Gaudreau shocked the hockey world last night.
Gaudreau. 28, finished the 2021-22 season with a career-high 115 points, including 75 assists in 82 games, which led the team.
With Gaudreau coming off a great season, the market heated up for him. The Flames did all they could to keep their star in Calgary as they offered him an eight-year deal that would’ve paid him $10.5 million a year. Had Gaudreau accepted this offer, it would have made him the highest-paid Flames player in history. However, he notified the Flames that he wanted to leave Calgary and play closer to home. Shockingly, that wasn’t the case.
Gaudreau, 28, decided to go the unexpected route and sign a massive seven-year $9.5 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Gaudreau was born in Salem County, N.J., and grew up becoming a Flyers fan despite living in New Jersey, but his childhood team lives nearly an hour away from him, which is closer to him than the Prudential Center, home of the Devils.
There was speculation leading up to the start of free agency that the Flyers would clear up cap space to sign the star left winger. However, the Flyers failed to trade away key players such as left winger James Van Riemsdyk and center Travis Konecny to free up more cap space to help increase their chances at landing Gaudreau, eliminating them from the sweepstakes.
At this point, all eyes were on the Islanders and Devils as they were the two primary teams heavily linked to Gaudreau and favored to land him. But, surprisingly, neither of them signed him as the Blue Jackets came in and were able to land the star left winger to help bolster their offense.
This came out of nowhere as many, including myself, thought there would be a battle between the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders in signing Gaudreau. Initially, the Flyers were one of the suitors for Gaudreau and were arguably the favorites to land him.
Playing close to home wasn’t a factor since Columbus is eight hours away from Salem County. Money also wasn’t a factor since the Islanders and Devils would’ve paid around the same price to get Gaudreau.
However, this makes me believe that Gaudreau was desperate to leave Calgary since he notified the front office of his decision, leading to a new chapter in his professional career, playing around a different team with talent that has long-term potential.
This is a massive signing for the Blue Jackets as this franchise looks to turn the tide and start their push for a Stanley Cup in the future.