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Matthew Tkachuk

(Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Matthew Tkachuk Has Been Traded To The Florida Panthers

Matthew Tkachuk
(Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Matthew Tkachuk Is On The Move

I hope Matthew Tkachuk enjoys sunshine and no taxes. The Flames’ star winger has been traded to the Florida Panthers for a whale of a package. He has also been extended to a contract at 8 years and $76 Million. Even more mind-boggling is that the Panthers are giving up star winger Jonathan Huberdeau in return. Frank Seravalli has more details below:

Matt Gets His Trade

Things moved very quickly on the Tkachuk front. Only days after Tkachuk told the Flames he would not re-sign in Calgary, he joins Johnny Gaudreau out of the C of Red. On a side note, Calgary GM Brad Treliving deserves a round of applause here. With a hand basically tied behind his back, he pulled off a trade that nets an excellent return for an equally great player. There were suitors near and far for the 40-goal scorer. Teams like Nashville, Vegas, and his hometown Blues were all linked. For Tkachuk, he is playing in the US once again for a team looking to get over the hump. On paper, Tkachuk and star center Alex Barkov could form one of the league’s best duos. However, it’s hard not to feel that Barkov could be upset that his longtime linemate got essentially kicked out the door.

A Dollar For Four Quarters?

While not as dominant on both ends as Tkachuk, Huberdeau is arguably a better scorer. He outdid Tkachuk’s 104-point season with 30 goals and 85 assists of his own. The Flames may even fare better than with Johnny Hockey in negotiations. At 29, the Quebec native has an expiring contract in 2023. However, the risk of Huberdeau running off to the U.S. is not as severe as with Gaudreau and Tkachuk. Treliving could even double down on the firesale and collect even more quality assets in exchange for the former Panther.

The same can be said for MacKenzie Weegar. The Ontario native is 28 and coming off a career year. Treliving could kick tires on an extension or sell him off for prospects and picks. There’s also the reality that Calgary will try to be competitive in 2023. If they remain in the playoff picture, they may choose to gamble and keep the pair around despite their free-agent status. However, it’s hard to assume what may happen given their shortcomings with Gaudreau.

Options Galore For One Side

The Flames have given themselves lots of flexibility, but only one shot at getting the next steps right. Vendetta hockey expert Andrew McGuiness put it best when it comes to the Flames. Either they arrive to next summer with both extended for the long term, or enter the 2023 draft with four first-round picks. It’s hard to deny that the Flames have one of the best defensive cores in the league after acquiring Weegar. On top of Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, and more, locking up Weegar will have an excellent blue line in place for a while. However, they need more goalscorers. Losing two 40-goal scorers in a matter of weeks is a tough pill to swallow. Replacing them will take years to figure out. However, there are still pathways for the Flames to retool and stay competitive for 2023 and beyond.

Florida, on the other hand, is locked into this window even further. They have bet on themselves even more after the sweep against Tampa. They lost a number of good pieces from last year’s squad. However, the star power in place, especially with Tkachuk now in the fold, could help them stay atop the Eastern Conference. While teams like Ottawa and Detroit have improved considerably this summer, the Cats must think of themselves as the top of the Atlantic after this trade. If next year is more of the same, it’ll hurt a lot. This division was already a bloodbath. Stars now love to play there. Alex Debrincat, Matthew Tkachuk, Claude Giroux, who’s next?

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