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Johnny Gaudreau on his Flames exit: ‘It was just time for me to make a little bit of a change.’

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
On Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets revealed their latest big signing: former Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau, who departed the organization in free agency on Wednesday and inked a seven-year pact with the Blue Jackets.
The focus of the press conference was on Gaudreau’s bright future in Columbus, and explanations from the winger regarding his reasons for leaving the Flames were fairly low on specifics.
Early in the presser, Gaudreau was basically asked ‘Why Columbus?’:
Me and my wife thought it was a really good fit for us. We looked at some other options but we felt this was the best one for us, where we’re at in our life, and just made the most sense.
Later, Gaudreau was asked what he would say to the people in Calgary. He began with noting he was trying to focus on his excitement for being in Columbus, but he did express fondness for Calgary.
Calgary was a special place for me. I was part of their organization for 12 years and I loved every second I was there. But for me, I think it was just time for me to make a little bit of a change, I think. I’ll leave it at that. But, you know, it was a special place for me. I loved it there. The fans were great to me.
(Editor’s note: Gaudreau was with the Flames organization for 11 years, from 2011-22.)
Later, Gaudreau was asked to expand on his reasons for leaving and why it took so long to make the decision:
It was a tough decision. I mean, it went right down to probably 11 o’clock the night before free agency where I decided I wasn’t going to go back. It was a really hard decision, but something that me and Meredith talked about for a long time there. It was difficult, but it was the best for us, and we were super excited with being able to sign here in Columbus.
(Editor’s note: Frank Seravalli’s tweet indicating Gaudreau had made his decision to leave was posted at 6:18 p.m. MT, or 8:18 p.m. ET, but that’s admittedly nitpicking on our part.)
Gaudreau was asked again about why it was time for a change:
Like I said, it was a hard decision. Calgary was a great place to me and my wife. But in talking to my family, talking to Meredith, like I said, it was the right move for us. And that’s all I can really tell you guys.
Gaudreau was also asked about he perception that he wanted to play closer to home, and the idea that Columbus wasn’t particularly close to home for him, and generally about moving further east from where he was:
Like I said, I’ve always wanted to play relatively a little bit closer… I grew up here. Not in Columbus, but on the east coast, and it’s somewhere I always wanted to play. I was in Calgary for 8-12 years there, from when I got drafted to when I started playing, and I always kind of dreamed about playing a tad closer to home. it didn’t matter where i was signing. our decision was it was best for us not to go back to Calgary, and then we decided to figure out what was the best option for us.
Gaudreau provided some answers, but (as is his right) he declined to really dive into specifics regarding his exit from Calgary.

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