Johnny Gaudreau, Blue Jackets Agree to Reported 7-Year Contract with $9.8M AAV

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 13, 2022

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) looks to pass the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

Left wing Johnny Gaudreau has signed a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team announced Wednesday.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman first reported the deal was done, for a reported $9.8 million annual average value.

The news comes after The Athletic's Aaron Portzline reported Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen "made a major play" for the veteran once free agency opened.

The Philadelphia Flyers were Gaudreau's top choice, ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported Wednesday, but the franchise was unable to clear enough cap space to even offer him a contract.

The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils were also among the teams that expressed interest in signing Gaudreau this summer.

Gaudreau previously played eight seasons with the Calgary Flames. His best effort came last year when he recorded 38 goals and 70 assists for 108 points.

Thanks largely to his efforts, the Flames finished first in the Pacific Division and reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in five games.

The 28-year-old, who starred at Boston College before heading to the NHL, has posted 208 goals and 394 helpers for his career.

Gaudreau signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract before the 2016-17 season. It's safe to say that deal worked out for the Flames, but it's still a tough blow for the organization, which looked primed to contend well into the decade had he stayed.

Columbus will now benefit from his point-scoring prowess as he provides a massive boost to their offense. The Blue Jackets finished sixth in the Metropolitan Division last season with a 37-38-7 record and missed the postseason. Gaudreau figures to immediately slot in on the team's top line alongside Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic.

With Gaudreau locked up, Columbus can now shift its attention to re-signing restricted free agents Patrik Laine and Emil Bemstrom.