Johnny Gaudreau explains shock Columbus switch: ‘I think there’s a lot of potential’

Johnny Gaudreau says he has joined the Columbus Blue Jackets to win after his shock free agency move from the Calgary Flames.

The New Jersey native reportedly left a huge amount of money on the table in Calgary to sign in a $68.25million seven-year deal with the Blue Jackets.

He will also be leaving a Playoff team to join one that has not been close to qualifying lately, but he has dismissed suggestions that this should be seen as a step down.

“I wanted to come here,” Gaudreau said. “This was always a place circled on my list.”

“I only got to play here once a year and it was from the hotel back to the rink and then back to the hotel and I had never been to Columbus before that.

“But throughout the summer, I did my homework on places that I thought were good for me, talked to some former players. After every time I talked to a different person about this city, it seemed like the person was more excited than the last person I was talking to. It sounded like a perfect spot for us.”

“I think there’s a lot of potential. They’ve got good players on this team. I’ve heard a lot of great things. They’re a close-knit group. That’s who you want to play with, guys who get along in the locker room and love coming to the rink and working every single day. It’s just a healthy environment to be around.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets have not reached the Playoffs for the last two years. Last season they were further away from qualifying than the season before, but Johnny Gaudreau says that was then.

“I’m so excited, I think we have a good group here,” he said. “I didn’t come to Columbus to check out the views. I came here to win hockey games.”

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