Jonathan Huberdeau Will Remain A Flame
Jonathan Huberdeau has agreed to a huge extension with the Calgary Flames. Less than two weeks after being involved in the Matthew Tkachuk blockbuster, the newest Flame will stay in the C of Red. Even more ironic is that his deal will be worth even more than Tkachuks’ extension (income tax not included). Frank Seravalli has the details:
Not A Home Run, But An Extra Base Hit
In terms of dollars and cents, it’s hard to say that the former #3 pick doesn’t deserve it. He was one of the best wingers in the league during 2021-2022. He cruised to 30 goals and 115 points as the catalyst of the dominant Panthers’ regular season. Of course, the deal may not age well. Huby is far from a physical monster like Tkachuk was. Injuries and age could take their toll in the longer term. However, this is definitely a victory for the Flames organization. He is about as close to a Johnny Gaudreau replacement as you can get. While they’re still one elite forward short, it’s hard not to be relieved. Brad Treliving was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Despite offering the identical deal to Johnny Hockey, he opted to go stateside in a shocker of a move to Columbus.
The snowball got bigger and bigger when Tkachuk wanted out. To the point where it felt like there was no leverage from a Calgary standpoint. Not one, but TWO star players kicking this team to the curb? It felt like a teardown wasn’t imminent; it was mandatory.
Love To See It
Treliving could have withered and died. Instead, he held out for the best offer possible. In return came another big-name winger. As you can see, he is more than making do with it. Handy dandy JFresh shows that Huberdeau is an elite player who is worthy of a big extension:
Despite his defensive shortcomings, he can be the hub of offense on a team’s top line. Playing for crappy Panthers teams has continually kept him out of the mainstream. He also clearly makes his linemates better. As long as Elias Lindholm opts to stay around, the duo should be a treat to watch. As I reiterated following the Tkachuk trade, I think Treliving deserves a statue. In a smaller market like Calgary, a rebuild would be a slow and painful ordeal. They have their arch-rivals in Edmonton to look at when it comes to bottom-feeding in the NHL (roughly via 2009-2016). Instead, Treliving pushed his chips to the center of the table and wants to make this thing work. And gosh darn it, I think he’s got a shot.
Anything More, Brad?
In terms of additional moves, none really come to mind for Calgary. A top line of Huberdeau-Lindholm-Toffoli could end up being really good. As I alluded to in the Tkachuk piece, their defense could be Top 3 in the NHL. That core is both tremendously skilled and quite deep. The only piece of business I would want to be done as a Flames fan is extending MacKenzie Weegar. A 5-6 year deal would turn a really miserable start to the offseason into a much better one.
I’m not Steve Dangle, but I’d love to see a trade tree for this deal in a few years. Their asset pool has also been reloaded with Cole Schwindt and a first-round pick. Expect to see some aggressive offers at next year’s trade deadline if the Flames are in the playoff picture. In conclusion, I feel a lot better for the Flames than I did two weeks ago. The Tkachuk situation shows me that their front office is not afraid to think outside the box. And for that reason, the Flames will be a team that I keep a close eye on for 2022-2023.