COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Arguably the most coveted free agent of the 2022 offseason is coming to Columbus.
On Wednesday, six-time NHL All-Star forward Johnny Gaudreau signed a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with the Blue Jackets.
Gaudreau has played in 602 NHL games and tallied 609 points. He’s also the first NHL player in 12 years to score 40+ goals and then change teams in the offseason.
Gaudreau left approximately $15 million-17.5 million on the table in Calgary by choosing Columbus, according to Daily Faceoff reporter Frank Seravalli.
Gaudreau has been one of the most productive offensive players of the past decade after spending nine years with the Calgary Flames where he amassed 210 goals and 399 assists.
The 28-year-old Salem County, New Jersey native has proven to be a mid-round steal after being selected in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft by Calgary.
“Johnny Gaudreau is a superstar in the National Hockey League, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the Columbus Blue Jackets family,” said CBJ General Manager Jarmo Kekäläinen. “He is an elite player with great character that makes the players around him better. We are thrilled to add a player of his caliber to our group. This is an exciting day for our franchise, our fans and the city of Columbus.”
The biggest question for Kekäläinen going into free agency Wednesday was whether they would be able to re-sign their best player — forward Patrik Laine.
Laine and Kekäläinen both expressed a desire in getting a long-term deal done for him to stay in Columbus. Laine could still be a Blue Jacket next year but the team will need to make a few additional moves to stay under the NHL’s salary cap.