Top NHL Free Agent Johnny Gaudreau Signs With the Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau with the Calgary Flames in 2020
Johnny Gaudreau with the Calgary Flames in 2020. Photo by Canadian Press/Shutterstock (10712650af)

The Columbus Blue Jackets just snatched the top available free agent in the NHL. According to multiple reports, the Jackets agreed to a deal with Johnny Gaudreau, who inked a seven-year deal with the organization.

Gaudreau’s deal, which ties him to Columbus through the 2028-29 NHL season, is reportedly worth $9.75 million annually. He is coming off a career year in 2021-22 that saw him score 40 goals and add 75 assists for a career-high 115 points with the Calgary Flames.

Gaudreau spent his entire career with the Flames, and the franchise reportedly made a strong push to keep him in Canada. Their last offer was significantly more lucrative than the Columbus deal and would reportedly earn him $10.5 million annually on an eight-year- deal. But the 28-year-old player wanted to return to the United States and decided to leave money on the table in favor of the Blue Jackets deal. 

Johnny Gaudreau played his first full NHL season in 2014-15 and immediately made a big impact on the Flames by providing 64 points and becoming the Calder Memorial Trophy finalist and an All-Star. In the following seven seasons, Gaudreau made five more All-Star Game appearances while also earning one NHL First All-Star Team nod. He has scored 210 goals and added 399 assists for a total of 609 points in the Flames’ uniform.