Johnny Gaudreau & Artemi Panarin: Similar Paths to Success?

Johnny Gaudreau (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Johnny Gaudreau (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /
1 of 3

Why Johnny why? That seems to be the question that is revolving around the hockey world over the last several days after one of the league’s best players, Johnny Gaudreau, decided to take his talents to the small market of Columbus.

“Johnny Hockey” was viewed by everybody as the top free agent available this off-season and had many suitors in the Eastern Conference going after him including the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and his hometown Philadelphia Flyers.

Ultimately, Gaudreau decided to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a seven-year contract worth $68 million with an AAV of $9.8 million per season.

Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Gaudreau and Panarin have many similarities between their two signings.

While listening to “The Steve Dangle Podcast” over the course of free agency week, I heard Jesse Blake, an analyst on the show, bring up that this signing reminded him of another signing that took place a few seasons ago that also confused some fans and media members.

"” I liken this deal to sort of when New York signed Panarin in the middle of their “rebuild” and it kinda expedited everything. Now we saw a team this season over perform all expectations and jump ahead of schedule and make the Eastern Conference Finals. Columbus I see a similar situation with this signing.” – Jesse Blake"

After listening to that podcast and letting it marinate for a minute, the more I really liked the concept and idea of that point that he made.

So, I figured I would compare the two signings, the two rosters, and the two players to try to go in-depth as to why these situations are so similar.

Both players were among the best available at the time of their signings, and both franchises that went out and scooped them up were coming off of a string of lackluster seasons.

I’m also looking at how Gaudreau and the Blue Jackets could see their rebuild timeline sped up by a couple of seasons with this one massive free agency signing this off-season.

Here is an exploration and comparison of the Artemi Panarin to the New York Rangers signing and the much more recent Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets signing.