Johnny Gaudreau isn’t coming home to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Instead, the star left winger stunned the hockey world by signing a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. In Columbus, he will be together with forward Eric Robinson. They both played at Gloucester Catholic High.
The deal has an annual cap hit of $9.75 million.
Cap-strapped, the Flyers never bid on Gaudreau, whose father, Guy, told Philly Hockey Now earlier this week that his son wanted to sign with Philly.
But Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher, who during the season said he needed to add more high-skilled players, was unable to make moves to get the Orange and Black out of cap problems.
That’s on him.
@NHLFlyers management despises the fans.
— Bergmeister (@SBerg74) July 14, 2022
Gaudreau, who turns 29 next month, set career bests in goals (40), assists (75), and points (115) last season, when he finished tied for second in the NHL in scoring, behind only Connor McDavid (123).
The South Jersey native stands just 5-foot-9, 165-pounds, but he makes up for his lack of size with his speed, shiftiness and talent. He was a fourth-round steal (104th overall) or Calgary in the 2011 draft. Since then, he has collected 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 games, all with Calgary.
On Tuesday night, Gaudreau informed Calgary GM Brad Treliving he was not returning. Treliving said it was an emotional conversation, and that the Flames “did everything possible to keep John here. It’s a disappointing day, to say the very least.”
The GM felt it was a “family decision and I respect that fully. John has every right, and we have nothing but respect for John the player and John the person.”
Gaudreau, who has a home at the Jersey shore, received a huge raise from his $6.75 million contract last season.
Players for the Phantoms. https://t.co/ezM2ioCgpk
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) July 14, 2022