Johnny Gaudreau has braced himself for what may very well be a combined response in his first journey to Scotiabank Saddledome as an opponent when the Columbus Blue Jackets go to the Calgary Flames on Monday (9:30 p.m., ESPN+, Hulu, SN1, SNW, TVAS).
“Sports activities is superior,” Gaudreau stated Friday. “It brings individuals collectively and I bought to play there for 10 years, 9 years, and I had some nice reminiscences they usually’re most likely somewhat upset that I am not there anymore. I get it.
“They love their staff and that is why I liked enjoying there a lot and I liked being a part of that group for 12, 13 years. It’ll be enjoyable going again.”
The 29-year-old ahead was chosen by the Flames within the fourth spherical (No. 104) of the 2011 NHL Draft and performed his first 9 seasons in Calgary earlier than informing the staff on July 12 that he would check free company, expressing a want to be nearer to his household in New Jersey. The subsequent day, when the signing interval started, he surprisingly agreed to a seven-year, $68.25 million contract ($9.75 million common annual worth) with the Blue Jackets.
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Throughout his time with the Flames, Gaudreau had 609 factors (210 objectives, 399 assists) in 602 regular-season video games, and 33 factors (11 objectives, 22 assists) in 42 playoff video games. Final season, he had an NHL career-high 115 factors (40 objectives, 75 assists), which was tied with Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers for second within the NHL.
“They liked him,” stated defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who performed with the Flames final season earlier than additionally signing with the Blue Jackets on July 13. “He performed onerous and did a number of actually good issues. I solely noticed him for a yr, however that yr, each time he touched the puck it was like they’re on the top of their seat ready for one thing to occur, and a number of the time he made one thing occur, so I feel they’ve an incredible respect for him.”
Gaudreau leads the Blue Jackets with 44 factors (13 objectives, 31 assists) in 46 video games and can characterize Columbus on the 2023 Honda All-Star Weekend at FLA Stay Area in Dawn, Florida, on Feb. 3-4.
“I am certain there will be some boos (Monday), I am assuming followers being [ticked],” Blue Jackets ahead Gustav Nyquist stated. “However we’re glad that now we have him, so we bought the nice on the top of the deal. Hopefully we are able to get a win for him there. It could imply so much for him.”
Though the Blue Jackets (14-30-2) are in final place within the NHL, Gaudreau has repeatedly stated he has no regrets along with his choice. He and his spouse, Meredith, had their first youngster, a daughter named Noa, in October, and Gaudreau’s new locale has allowed for fixed visits from his mother and father in addition to Meredith’s household, who’re from Michigan.
“It has been a tough yr, we get it, and we have been by ups and downs, a number of accidents and stuff,” Gaudreau stated. “I am simply excited to return there and play within the dome once more. It’s going to be a number of enjoyable, however whether or not we’re in first place or final place, it would not actually matter. It’ll be particular evening.”
Even with the expectation of some jeers on Monday, Gaudreau stated he’s trying ahead to the return whereas additionally prepared to maneuver previous it.
“I do know lots of people in that metropolis and lots of people in the entire group, not simply administration,” he stated. “You’ve got bought trainers and tools workers, media relations, individuals across the rink, Zamboni drivers. Acquainted faces, and will probably be nice to see them, say hello to them.
“It could have been good to only do it in October, November, however that is all proper. It is given me a chance to play with these guys, get to know this group right here.”