The Calgary Flames are almost inarguably the National Hockey League team that went through the most dramatic upheaval during this most recent offseason, shedding some huge names from their previous core group of players and adding some equally big names via both trade and free agency.
One of the big names to move on this summer was former Calgary Flames star forward Johnny Gaudreau, who in the end would sign a 7 year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets valued at $68.25 million or an average annual value and salary cap hit of $9.75 million per season. Gaudreau was a popular figure in Calgary and it came as a huge blow to the fan base when he decided to leave, but the offseason moves by Flames general manager Brad Treliving have helped to soften that blow in a major way.
It's only natural to wonder how Gaudreau himself might feel about the moves he has seen his former team make from afar, and over the weekend the Columbus Blue Jackets star forward was asked about that very topic following an intrasquad scrimmage from the Blue Jackets in front of a live crowd. The former Flames star was somewhat dismissive of the question, although he did take the time to make it clear that his focus was no longer on the Calgary Flames but instead on the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also made sure to clarify that, while he had moved on from the Flames organization itself, that those feelings did not extend to the city of Calgary or the fans in that city that showed him so much love during his tenure with the Flames.
"When I say I love Calgary, it's the city," said Gaudreau as per Aaron Portzline. "Now that I'm on Columbus, I couldn't care less what they do as a team. I obviously want to beat them. But as a city, the fans, the organization, the way they treated me, I always loved it there. It was a great place to play for the nine years. Once I left, I didn't care anymore about the team, obviously, I'm more focused on the Blue Jackets and what our team is going to do. They got better or they got worse … I'm not really sure. I'm focused on our team and go from there."
Gaudreau will get his chance to beat his former team this season, but fans will unfortunately have to wait a little bit before they see the matchup. The Flames and the Blue Jackets are set to face off on December, 9th.