last off season, Johnny Goudreau shocked the hockey world by choosing to sign a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent, leaving the Calgary Flames after eight seasons.
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While Flames fans were extremely disappointed, many of them had the impression that the 29-year-old was going elsewhere, as did most fans in the league. Teams like the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and even the New York Islanders were rumored to be top fits, though it appears no one imagined the Blue Jackets were on their radar. That decision upset Flames fans, who took it as a sign that Goudreau had absolutely zero intention of returning to Calgary. According to a recent report by Frank Serravalli of The Daily Faceoff, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Speaking on Flames Nation ‘barnburnerpodcast, Seravalli supported Goudreau’s decision to leave the team last July. As the reliable insider said, Goudreau was actually conflicted on whether to return to the Flames or go elsewhere, to the point where the day before he signed with the Blue Jackets, he believed that he was going to rejoin Calgary.
“I don’t think it was Johnny. I don’t think Johnny would have had any trouble coming back. I think he wanted to come back,” Seravalli said. “Not really, to rehash it , But the Flames thought the day before that he was coming back. There was an afternoon’s worth of hustle and spring in everyone’s step as the hours dragged on before free agency where they thought they were bringing him back. They had negotiated the contract where everybody was comfortable with the numbers, and then Johnny Goudreau went on a car ride with his wife and then called the Flames back and said, ‘Sorry, I can’t do it. Can’.
It’s heartbreaking to hear for Flames fans, many of whom considered Goudreau their franchise player during his eight-year tenure with the team. His choosing to leave had a ripple effect on the organization, as Matthew Tkachuk found his way out shortly after being traded to the Florida Panthers, resulting in some new faces such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Viger and Nazem Qadri is being brought. The new group has failed to find the same success as a season ago, as they currently sit six points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card position in the Western Conference.
Goudreau has recorded 15 goals and 57 points in 63 games with the Blue Jackets this season.