Johnny Gaudreau admits ditching Devils for Blue Jackets

johnny gaudreau
Mar 16, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

When Johnny Gaudreau signed a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on the opening day of Free Agent Frenzy, it shocked everyone. However, it probably stunned the New Jersey Devils more than anyone out there.

On Tuesday, Gaudreau appeared on the Spittin Chiclets podcast to drop this nugget.

“The day of, I was only really talking to two (teams),” Gaudreau said during an appearance on “Spittin Chiclets.” “I was pretty much signed with a different team, most of the day I hadn’t heard from Columbus, and then all of a sudden they called at like 4 p.m., and I told my agent, ‘I want to go here. Just try to get this done. This is the spot I want to be right here.’

“I was super thankful Columbus called during that late hour in the afternoon,” he added. “I think I was trying to get a deal done with the Devils, and then Columbus called.”

via TheScore

Johnny Gaudreau ditched New Jersey for Columbus

johnny gaudreau
Feb 21, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrates the game winning goal by forward Elias Lindholm (28) against the Winnipeg Jets in the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment he told the Calgary Flames he was headed to the market, almost everyone projected him to land closer to his Salem, New Jersey home. Since his signing, rumors surfaced that his first destination of choice, the Philadelphia Flyers were not going to be able to move out enough cap space to make it work.

The 28 year-old then started talking with the Devils and let the Blue Jackets know he’s be interested. After spending the day negotiating with NJ and coming close to signing, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen made the fateful call.

“He told us this was one of his true primary destinations,” Kekalainen said. “We were like, ‘OK, wow, is this real?’ Once we realized that yeah, he wants to come here, we got into serious talks. We obviously let him know that he was one of the players that we desired the most, and when it got real serious to where he was like, ‘OK, I want to come there,’ then we got it through the finish line pretty quickly.”

Gaudreau had a career year posting 115 points (40 G – 75A) in 82 games. The six-time all-star will now lace up his skates in Ohio after reportedly leaving more money on the table in Alberta.

According to Pierre LeBrun, Gaudreau had an 8-year offer for $10.5 million from the Flames.