Johnny Gaudreau is a new face in a new place.
However, he does have some connections with his new Blue Jackets teammates.
"I mean, there's a lot of guys that I played with before," he said in his introductory press conference last Thursday. "Change is hard sometimes but when you have familiar faces, it just makes it so much easier. And I was super excited about Columbus but after you see some of the guys that you've played with before and you know how they are good players and they help your team win games. Those are guys who you want to play with and go to battle with and that was exciting as well."
So, what are those connections?
Gaudreau played with forward Eric Robinson at Gloucester Catholic High School (Gloucester City, N.J.) and called Robinson a "super close, a really close buddy of mine" in an interview on Spittin' Chiclets this week.
Additionally, Gaudreau won a gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship for Team USA alongside Sean Kuraly. Gaudreau scored seven goals and nine points in seven games across the tournament. Kuraly added a goal and three points in those seven games.
Sticking with the theme of USA Hockey, Gaudreau played with Zach Werenski at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. In six games, Gaudreau scored a goal and two points. Werenski played in two games in that tournament and did not register a point.
USA-Canada lineups for todays game. Jack Hughes, Christian Wolanin out. Johnny Gaudreau back after a two-game absence and Zach Werenski debuts in the teams top 4. Adam Fox the 7th D. pic.twitter.com/4mWa1uvacg— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) May 21, 2019
Lastly, he played with fellow new signee Erik Gudbranson last season in Calgary. Gaudreau scored 40 goals and 115 points in 82 regular-season games last season and added three goals and 14 points in 12 playoff games. Gudbranson played 78 regular season games and scored six goals and 17 points while adding 145 hits and blocking 92 shots. In 12 playoff games, he registered one assist, 17 hits, and 13 blocked shots.
Team chemistry is vital to team success, and Gaudreau has some pre-existing relationships with his new teammates, and that can only benefit the team. How that will play out on the ice will be determined once the season rolls around.