Johnny Gaudreau, the electric left winger who wanted to play for the Philadelphia Flyers, is getting criticized by some members of the Canadian media for having the gall to leave their country for Columbus.
“Clearly it’s his prerogative, but the deception and the destination are what now stick in the craw of Flames fans and an organization that deserved better from the former face of the franchise, wrote Eric Francis for SportsNet in Canada.
He added: “As is his right, his ABC approach (Anywhere But Calgary) saw him turn down $84 million (eight years at $10.5 million) to accept a $68.25 million deal (7 x $9.75 million) in a city that is still a 75-minute flight from home.
“That doesn’t sit well with a fan base and franchise that waited patiently, in good faith, for a “negotiation” that held up everything else on the Flames’ to-do list.
“So, we wondered, why did it take so long before he pulled the plug at the 11th hour, giving the Flames no time to trade his rights?”
The headline on the story: “Columbus? Really? Gaudreau won’t ever be viewed the same in Calgary.”
The full rant is here.
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In the story, Gaudreau called Calgary a “special place for me,” said it was “time to make a change,” and that it was something he and his wife, Meredith, “talked about for a long time.”
Gaudreau wanted to come to Philadelphia, according to his dad, Guy.
But Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, inexplicably, never talked to his agent because he said he didn’t have enough cap space and that, in order to get more room, he would have had to deal someone he wanted to keep.
So the NHL’s second-leading scorer last season will play in Columbus, and the Flyers will struggle to score goals.
The Philadelphia Flyers were next to last in the NHL last season, averaging 2.56 goals per game. Only Arizona (2.51) was worse.
In other words, bypassing Gaudreau — who would have been a great piece to build around during a much-needed rebuild — is not causing fans to rush for Flyers season tickets.