The Philadelphia Flyers are out of the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun (h/t Rob Taub of News 12 New York).
However, the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are in the mix for the veteran forward. The Columbus Blue Jackets are also a potential destination, with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen having "made a major play" for him on Wednesday, according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline.
Gaudreau opted to part ways with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, letting the club know of his plans to enter the free-agent market on Wednesday.
Calgary offered Gaudreau a deal worth more than $10 million annually over eight years in an effort to retain him, per Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, but the veteran still opted to move on.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving confirmed the news while speaking with reporters, saying that he believes Gaudreau was making a "family decision, and I respect that fully."
The Flyers were Gaudreau's top choice, according to ESPN's Emily Kaplan. However, Philadelphia was unable to clear the necessary cap space to sign him. According to CapFriendly, the team is currently projected to be over the cap by more than $48,000.
The franchise attempted to trade James van Riemsdyk and his $7 million salary for the 2022-23 season to clear space, but no deal has come to fruition.
The Islanders were among the teams reported to heavily pursue Gaudreau this summer. Former Islanders VP of communications Chris Botta reported earlier this week that the franchise was expected to offer him a seven-year deal worth $9 million annually.
The Isles are projected to have nearly $11.2 million in cap space, per CapFriendly. They have enough space to sign Gaudreau, but they still need to come to terms on contracts for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows and Alexander Romanov.
The Blue Jackets also have enough space to sign Gaudreau as they are projected to have almost $13 million in cap space, per CapFriendly. However, it's unclear if Gaudreau is interested in Columbus, which also needs to re-sign RFA Patrik Laine this summer.
The Devils seem like a real possibility for Gaudreau, who grew up in New Jersey. The franchise is projected to have $23.5 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, which is more than enough room to sign Gaudreau and also add some pieces around him.
The 28-year-old spent the first nine seasons of his career in Calgary, which selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Boston College. In 602 regular-season games, Gaudreau notched 210 goals and 399 assists for 609 points.
The left wing broke out in 2021-22, tallying 40 goals and 75 assists for 115 points—all career highs—in 82 games. Whichever team lands him in free agency will be very lucky.