After nine seasons with the Calgary Flames, including a career-best 115-point performance in 2021-22, left wing Johnny Gaudreau signed a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was quite a coup by the Jackets, as Gaudreau was considered one of the biggest stars in that summer’s free-agent market.
Earning an average annual value of $9.8 million, Gaudreau was expected to lead the rebuilding Blue Jackets into playoff contention. While he finished last season with a team-leading 74 points in 80 games, it was well below his previous production, as the Jackets missed the 2023 playoffs. Injuries to several teammates also contributed to that decline.
Gaudreau, 30, and linemate Patrik Laine were hoping to take bigger leadership roles this season. So far, however, they have little to show for it. Sidelined by injuries, Laine had three points in nine games. Gaudreau, meanwhile, had seven points in 18 contests as of Nov. 18.