Gaudreau on returning to Calgary: 'It's going to be awesome'

Columbus Blue Jackets' Johnny Gaudreau and his father Guy join Ryan Leslie on Instagram Live to share their thoughts on leaving Calgary, and why Columbus is a right place for their family.

Calgary Flames fans will have Jan. 23 circled on their calendars, as that's when Johnny Gaudreau will return to the Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Whether the crowd celebrates his return or showers him with boos, it should be an emotional night for the former Flame.

"Obviously it's going to be tough for me," Gaudreau said in an Instagram live video with Sportsnet's Ryan Leslie. "I was part of this team for eight and a half years and part of the organization for 12. So it's going to be tough for me to come back, obviously a little emotional. But whatever happens on the ice, [if the fans] cheer for me, they boo for me, I just know that that's how passionate they are and I'm going to love it and it's going to be awesome. It's going to bring back so many memories."

The Blue Jackets will also host the Flames on Dec. 9.

Gaudreau was asked about former teammate Matthew Tkachuk being traded to the Florida Panthers on Friday, about a week after New Jerseyan left for Columbus. Tkachuk eventually signed an eight-year, $76-million contract with the Panthers after he was acquired by the team.

"It's probably hard for him as well," Gaudreau said. "He was there in Calgary for four or five years. But I don't really know his whole situation or how it went down. I do know I remember talking to him and how difficult the decision was for me. I was really close to going back to Calgary and I wanted to stay with [Elias Lindholm] and [Tkachuk] a little bit longer and see if we could get something going. And it was a super difficult decision for me and I don't know on his part or anything like that.

"But I wish him the best of luck and obviously hope he does well in Florida."

Gaudreau will also be experiencing a fresh start, and one of the perks in his eyes will be playing with another potent winger in Patrik Laine, who is coming off a campaign where he recorded 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games.

"I played with some really good players in Calgary but I don't think I've ever played with a guy who can shoot the puck the way that this kid does," Gaudreau said. "I feel like sometimes he's got a hard enough shot he can shoot from the red line and score. But I'm really looking forward to it. ... Anytime you get on a power play or something when the guy shoots the puck like that, that's a lot of fun for me."

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