I'm still gutted by the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers are a disastrously incompetent organization which is ran by a bunch of imbeciles who couldn't clear the cap space necessary to bring Johnny Gaudreau home this free agency. By all accounts it seemed like Ham & Cheese was making it aggressively clear that he wanted to sign with Philly this offseason, Flyers management had months to move some contracts around, and at the end of the day they couldn't do it because this organization is doomed for failure. It's sickening. It's maddening. But somehow...well somehow I feel even worse for the New Jersey Devils.
At least the Flyers never had a chance to make it happen. Don't get me wrong, it's still embarrassing as all hell. But the Devils had Johnny Hockey in their grasp. They had him right there on the hook, but he was still pulling away from the line just waiting for literally any other team to come along and save him. Then the moment Columbus called, he was gone. Hope Devils fans had fun during those few hours when they were so damn sure Gaudreau was actually going to spend the rest of his career playing in Newark.
The whole time Gaudreau kept saying he wants to play closer to home. But at the end of the day, he'd rather play 7.5 hours away in Columbus than play for the Devils. That's just some all-time cuckery. Brutal to listen to if you're a Devils fan. Especially because for some reason or another, they all seem to think New Jersey is a better team moving forward than Columbus. Clearly they don't know Jack Roslovic. Clearly they don't know about Kent Johnson coming up. Laine, Voracek, Werenski, Merzlikins between the pipes. Don't get me wrong, the Devils are in a perfectly fine spot as far as young talent goes. But talent alone doesn't mean shit in the NHL. For some reason that team is dead set on underachieving every year despite their big offseason moves. Fortunately Johnny Gaudreau now doesn't have to be a part of the annual meme where we rehash all the headlines from the summer about the Devils "winning" the offseason on the day they get mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
At the end of the day, if it wasn't going to be the Flyers then I'm just glad it wasn't the Devils. Would have been extremely painful to watch Gaudreau in that hideous sweater for the next 7 years. Thank god Columbus got on the phone there at the last minute.