It’s been an exciting week here in [Philadelphia]. I’m excited to get a chance to play for the Flames. This past month has been pretty crazy with hockey and what I’m going to do with next year. - Johnny Gaudreau
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- To say the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind for Johnny Gaudreau would be an understatement.
On Thursday, the winger suited up for Boston College's semi-final loss against Union in the Frozen Four in Philadelphia with a plethora of family and friends in the crowd from his nearby-hometown of Carneys Point, NJ.
On Friday, he signed an entry-level deal with the Calgary Flames and declared his intention to turn pro, ending his collegiate career after three years.
"It’s been an exciting week here in [Philadelphia],” Gaudreau told CalgaryFlames.com. “I’m excited to get a chance to play for the Flames. This past month has been pretty crazy with hockey and what I’m going to do with next year.
"I’m finally excited to get some stress off my shoulders and play hockey now."
In a back-and-forth affair between Boston College and Union, the Eagles fell 5-4, effectively ending Gaudreau’s season.
It also left him with a decision to make.
Gaudreau was eligible to head back to Boston College for his senior year and help the Eagles take another run at capturing the NCAA Championship. Several of his teammates are moving on -- graduating this spring or turning pro -- so he would have taken on even more of a leadership role with coach Jerry York's squad.
He also had the option to turn pro, which would allow him to make his NHL debut before Calgary's regular season came to a close and then vie for roster spot with the Flames in 2014-15.
After careful deliberation, Gaudreau has opted to move on to the next step in his career and sign with the Flames.
"It's been quick," he said. "I’ve had a good three years at Boston College. I’ve got to thank Coach York for that.
"I thought it was time to bring my game to another level and try to make a new team now."
Gaudreau, alongside Boston College teammate Bill Arnold, will make his NHL debut on Sunday when the Flames close out their year against the Vancouver Canucks.
Looking back at his time with Boston College, it’s fair to say there isn't anything left for Gaudreau to accomplish at the NCAA level.
As a freshman in 2011-12, he played in all 44 games with the Eagles, recording 21 goals and 44 points. That total was good for second in team scoring, trailing leader Chris Kreider by a single point. Boston College went to the Frozen Four in Tampa and earned the NCAA Championship.
That year saw Gaudreau earn Hockey East All-Tournament honours and Most Valuable Player accolades after he tallied a team-high seven points in four playoff victories. He won the program's Bernie Burke Outstanding Freshman Award, was named Hockey East's Rookie of the Month three times, captured Beanpot Most Valuable Player honours, and earned All-Hockey East Association and CollegeHockeyNews.com rookie-team nods.
He followed that up by rattling off 51 points in just 35 games in his sophomore season at Boston College, leading the Eagles in scoring by a six-point margin.
He was also one of three finalists in the Hobey Baker Hat Trick, earned All-USCHO.com, American Hockey Coaches Association All-America East, and CollegeHockeyNews.com All-America East first-team honours, was named the Hockey East Association Player of the Year, earned the Leonard Fowle Award as New England MVP as well as the Herb Gallagher Award as the region's top forward.
Gaudreau also shared the Norman F. Daily Memorial Award with Steven Whitney as the program's most valuable players.
To top off his time at Boston College, Gaudreau authored a career year during the 2013-14 campaign. He led the nation in scoring with 36 goals and 80 points through 40 games and managed to get his name in Hockey East history book by tying Paul Kariya's record with a 31-game point streak.
The numbers from that historic streak speak volumes: 29 goals, 32 assists, 61 points, a 1.91 points-per-game average, 17 multi-point performances, eight power play goals, one short-handed marker, five game-winning tallies and a plus-33 rating. Boston College went 24-5-3 during his run.
He, unsurprisingly, capped the season by winning the Hobey Baker Award, annually given to college hockey's top player.
Gaudreau credited his achievements with Boston College to York.
"He’s done a lot,” Gaudreau said. “Every single day we practiced two to three hours a day, working out after. He’s a great guy off the ice and a great coach. He’s done tremendous amounts for my game on the ice and he’s taught me a lot off the ice too, just about becoming a better person -- that’s kind of what I was looking for when I chose [Boston College]—to become a better hockey player and also a better person.
"He’s done a great job [of] that with me so I have a ton of thanks for Coach York."