While the Blue Jackets hope Johnny Gaudreau makes a major impact on the ice, his signing means much more to the franchise.
At Monday's pre-training camp media availability, Blue Jackets Vice President of Communications Todd Sharrock shared some tangible effects of the Gaudreau signing after John Davidson answered a question about what it has meant to the franchise.
"We anticipate season tickets to be well over 11,000," Sharrock said. "Which will get us back to the pre-pandemic numbers for the first time."
Sharrock also added that the team sold more season tickets this summer than in any summer over the past 10 years.
The #CBJ holding media day today. Jackets say they've sold more season tickets this off-season than they have in the previous ten summers. Expect more than 11,000 season ticket holders this season. pic.twitter.com/vIlVmSQK0o— Dave Maetzold (@DMaetzMedia) September 19, 2022
Davidson said it feels good that a player of Gaudreau's caliber picked to play in Columbus.
"It's a nice feeling to have a player like him," Davidson said. "[He] wants to be here. It's a perfect fit for him with his family. His wife's got some family in Michigan. He has, of course, family on the east coast, and he's excited. We ended up moving Bjorkstrand, and Gaudreau bought his house."
Some #CBJ news: at the teams annual media luncheon today, John Davidson said that Johnny Gaudreau bought Oliver Bjorkstrands house— Jason Priestas (@priestas) September 19, 2022
Gaudreau's impact will be felt most importantly on the ice, but as my colleague Ed Francis (@bluejacketstats on Twitter) wrote earlier this summer, his the effects of his arrival extend far beyond the ice at Nationwide Arena. Here's an excerpt from his piece that can be read in full here.
That brings us to the final theory, and it's a fool-proof one: Columbus was at the top of the list for his family. Full stop. Bar none. If he owed any explanation — and he didn't — it would start and end with that.
No matter what the reason is, the bottom line is this: Gaudreau chose the Blue Jackets, and you know what? He's going to like Columbus. And sooner rather than later, he's going to win in Columbus, too.
Jarmo Kekalainen: "It's a great day for the city of Columbus...to get a player of this caliber is going to make us instantly better, and make players better around him." #CBJ— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) July 14, 2022
Gaudreau hasn't played a second for the Jackets yet, but clearly, he's already made an impact. With training camp beginning on Thursday, there's a palpable buzz around this franchise.