The Florida Panthers acquired striker Matthew Tkachuk in a huge deal with Calgary Flames on Friday night, then immediately signed him for an eight-year extension. A source said the deal is worth $76 million the athlete.
Flames also sent a conditional fourth-round pick to the Panthers. In turn, Calgary acquired left winger Jonathan Huberdeau, defender MacKenzie Wiegard and quarterback Cole Schwindt, a conditional selection for the first round of 2025.
Calgary applied for arbitration with Tkachuk in mid-July. But he told the team that he would not re-sign a long-term deal, the athlete reported Wednesday. Last season, Tkachuk scored a career high with 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points. The average ice time was 17:54 and it was plus 57.
A source close to the situation previously said Tkachuk’s favorite destinations list at one point had the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars for several months, although that may not be the official list Calgary gave. The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers were among other teams that have expressed interest in the past.
Read our trade scores on the deal here.
Here’s everything you need to know about the situation:
Why did Tkachuk want to get out of Calgary?
It’s probably a mixture of things, but it will undoubtedly start with the departure of Johnny Goudreau as free agent last week. Tkachuk spent most of the early part of his career playing as a left winger on the second line, mostly alongside Mikael Backlund, because Godrow played a left winger in the first line, mostly alongside Sean Monahan.
Last season, almost from start to finish, Calgary coach Daryl Sutter turned Tkachuk to the right wing in the top line, using the theory of putting all his scoring eggs in one basket. It worked. Largely because Gaudreau created so many openings with his speed and vision, Tkachuk had a year in the making, and many analysts considered the top streak, focused on Elias Lindholm, to be the best streak in the NHL. Without Gaudreau, the desire to play for Calgary in the long run waned.
Then there’s the Canadian predicament: More and more, it seems like teams like Calgary are ending up on the players’ no-trade list, which is troubling. In part, this may have been a play function in an old building. In part, this may be the scrutiny at play in the Canadian market. And in part, this may be the fear of playing for a demanding old coach like Sutter. But once the player has added up all the pros and cons of playing in Calgary, they may just decide that they prefer being elsewhere.
Did the fire get a good return for Tkachuk?
Calgary was in a tough spot here, not only because they were trading the All-Star wing of Tkachuk, but because they lacked the leverage. The teams knew the Flames needed to move Tkachuk, who told Calgary he wouldn’t stay long. The teams also knew that if they got Tkachuk, it would be because he wanted to be there.
Despite all that, Calgary did well here. Sure, Huberdeau and Weegar each have a year left before the UFA – but bringing them in will help the Flames reduce the damage from losing Tkachuk (and Gaudreau) and give the club a chance to build their 2021-22 excellent season and give them at least another year to try to compete. It’s a neat job for general manager Brad Trilling, to say the least.
Why didn’t St. Louis Blues get Tkachuk?
The blues weren’t a lock to take down Tkachuk, but it looked promising. In the end, Florida put together a better package than what the blues’ general manager, Doug Armstrong, could put together. St. Louis’ Jordan Kerro is talented, but last season’s 75 points fall short of Huberdeau’s 115, and the Blues weren’t putting up a defense like Wigar, who finished eighth in the Norris Cup vote two years ago.
These are two reasons why Tkachuk is not blue, along with the fact that they will likely have a hard time liquidating the salary cap space. The club has 10 players with some form of no-trade clause, and that’s probably a challenge in who to deal with. It would have been a great occasion and a great story after Tkachuk followed in his father’s footsteps in St. Louis, but in the end, Florida won the lottery with a huge package.
Why did Florida trade for Tkachuk
immediate justification? “Matthew Tkachuk is the best player involved in the deal.” And there is certainly something to be said for that; Tkachuk is a rare combination of skill, size and skateboarding, and he wanted to be in a place like Florida. There’s nothing he doesn’t like about him as a hockey player. That doesn’t quite justify the price, though – Huberdeau was just one of the finalists at Hart and Weegar is a much better paid defensive man.
But the problem for Florida is that they will likely have trouble signing next summer. Perhaps, too, the logic seems to be over, lumping them together for eight years of Tkachuk. I’m not sure I agree with it, but I understand it.
What does the extension mean for the future of Florida
In the short term, that means Florida will have to send in some paycheck and/or put Anthony Dockler into a long injured reserve to start the season, then arrange things on his return from an Achilles tendon injury. In the long run, it locks them in at the heart of elite center Alexander Barkov ($10 million AAV through 2030), elite defender Aaron Ekblad ($7.5 million through 2026), Tkachuk and, uh, goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million through to 2026). year 2026). Very well.
It is also worth noting that if the Panthers lose trade, this has nothing to do with the extension of Tkachuk. Having him on this number for so long is a steal.
Why did the fire choose to take Tkachuk to arbitration?
The team said, via tweetGoing to arbitration gives Calgary “the opportunity to continue working with representatives of (Tkachuk) to reach a contractual solution while removing the possibility of an offer sheet”. It would have given Flames more time to negotiate a long-term deal with him, or perhaps find a business partner for him before the arbitration period if it came to that point. We gave an in-depth explanation of why the Flames team chose to referee the 24-year-old.
How big the effect did Tkachok have on the flame?
Goudreau was already lost due to the flames. Tkachuk’s loss that same summer may be seen as a nail in the coffin of the team’s aspirations to contend for the cup, but the flames may remain in the mix in the playoffs thanks to a comeback in the trade, along with their depth.
Tkachuk is the rhino in this league, an extremely rare combination of skill, snarling, dexterity, grit, scoring, passing, attack and defense. He can really do everything and is at the height of his career as one of the league’s most valuable players. This is the man who scored 42 goals and 104 points last year while leading play for the elite score at both ends of the ice. Tkachuk is a star.
Matthew Tkachuk is a unicorn. Every team has to be with him. pic.twitter.com/vqDmaOhwid
– Dom (domluszczyszyn) 20 July 2022
In numbers, he is expected to deserve 4.4 wins, behind only a handful of players in the league: Nathan McKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Brad Marchand, Mitch Marner, Cal McCarr, Conor McDavid and Auston Matthews. This is an elite winger with a strong five-on-five combination of commanding play, skillful hands and positive defensive impact.
Tkachuk projects to stay at this high level for some time. Over the next seven seasons, he is expected to score 26 wins. The only question about his influence going forward is how he would behave without an elite companion, Gaudreau. Calgary is already reeling from that, so losing both game-changing wings would be pretty devastating – especially because they don’t have any other wings measuring anywhere near this pair.
(Photo by Matthew Tkachuk: Candice Ward/USA Today)
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