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Matthew Tkachuk

(Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vegas Needs To Do Whatever It Takes To Land Matthew Tkachuk

Matthew Tkachuk
The Vegas Golden Knights need to do whatever it takes to pull off a trade with Calgary for Matthew Tkachuk. Vegas is on Tkachuk’s trade wish list. (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vegas Needs To Do Whatever It Takes To Land Matthew Tkachuk

This is a safe space. We’re free, to be honest here. Take a walk with me, Kelly McCrimmon. I want to talk to you about something. Matthew Tkachuk to be precise but I promise it will be worth your time.

What are the Golden Knights Stanley Cup odds next year? Caesars sportsbook had Vegas tied for 5th prior to the offseason. However, that was before the offseason started. An offseason that’s only seen Evgeni Dadonov, Dylan Coughlan, and Max Pacioretty walk out the door for basically nothing. I would have traded them too but that’s beside the point.

Do we really think they have more than a puncher’s chance at it? This is a win-now team with a win-now core. It’s not outrageous to think the coaching change to Bruce Cassidy helps but that’s not going to fix all of the issues. If we’re being totally honest, Vegas is still a move away even after landing Jack Eichel.

The truth of the matter is there is a black hole sitting over there at left winger. Of course, as you may know, I’m very high on Chandler Stephenson. That guy is a low-key stud and he’s more than capable of replacing whatever glass Pacioretty was going to give them next year. Stephenson has real speed and it appears like he and Eichel have real chemistry. Stephenson, 28, scored a career high 64 points last year and spent portions of the season skating on the third line. He’s a much better player than that.

This is a safe space remember? Kelly, If we’re being totally honest here, Vegas is still missing a guy. You know exactly what I mean by that. A star the city can rally around to carry us to the real promise land. To take the Knights up a notch from punchers chance to contenders with a haymaker element. A guy that represents what Pacioretty was envisioned to do so.

There’s good news. He’s been gift wrapped in a bow for us. All you have to do is make it happen. You don’t pass on the chance to acquire unicorns like this. His name is Matthew Tkachuk and Vegas is on his list. The cost is irrelevant. Just don’t get outbid. Do you get it, Kelly?

Okay, I’m back now. In case you missed it, Matthew Tkachuk requested a trade from the Calgary Flames. The Athletic included in their report that Tkachuk’s list of teams he would accept a trade to (AKA where he is willing to sign a long term extension) includes St. Louis, Vegas, Florida, Nashville, and Dallas.

Side note: Don’t worry, you can actually click that link above. It’s an Athletic post but it’s actually free to read somehow.

There was later a report from Sportsnet that the apparent Tkachuk trade list wasn’t accurate. Maybe the list is accurate. Maybe it’s not. Either way, who cares. The conflict in the report is probably due to the fact that maybe he would consider two other teams since that list isn’t very long if you had to make an educated guess on it.

Regardless, Vegas is a place players want to play despite whatever the pathetic haters want to tell you. This is an organization that has a track record of winning and its management has been aggressive to a fault in order to make that happen. Players will always respect a commitment to winning. Plus, it’s Vegas. It’s a cool place to be. It’s also a really good team. There is a reason Vegas is on the alleged list.

The Athletic (also free to read for some reason) did a follow-up post to their report making a case as to what they believe a Tkachuk to Vegas trade could possibly look like:

“The Golden Knights are still over the cap, but they don’t care, largely because they have no issues with moving any player at any time. If Calgary is looking to reload immediately without Tkachuk, rather than enter any meaningful rebuild, Vegas would seem to be the spot.

Part of that is because the Golden Knights have no choice but to send out ready-made NHL contributors if they want to bring in Tkachuk. With Reilly Smith officially extended and Max Pacioretty in Carolina as part of a pure salary dump, Vegas needs a new player to dangle as bait for the next big thing. Hello, William Karlsson!

Now 29, Karlsson hasn’t been able to replicate his 78-point season in 2017-18 but remains a strong middle-six option on a contending team. He also carries a $5.9 million AAV through 2027. Jonathan Marchessault is more productive and an easier replacement for Tkachuk — he was a 30-goal winger last season, too — but he’s 32 with two more years on his deal at $5 million. Either (or both) would be a decent option if Calgary is desperate to try to stay toward the top of the Pacific Division in 2022-23. Vegas likely wouldn’t hesitate to move them out, either.

The fit, though, is far from perfect. The Flames would be trading Tkachuk to a division rival for a package headlined, almost certainly, by players near (or past) 30 — and Vegas, after the Eichel trade and years of win-now moves, has minimal future-focused pieces to add. Brendan Brisson, a first-round pick in 2021, might be their best trade chip. He would likely need to be included to balance Calgary taking on older players.”

Now, it wouldn’t be Trey if I wasn’t a little spiteful too. What these Athletic writers failed to tell you in their write-up is that Vegas is under the cap. Sure, Vegas is technically over the cap according to the books. The crooked books say otherwise and you’re not doing your job if you’re not maximizing the rules. That’s what the nerds fail to understand. They call it cheating. People with feel call it doing our job.

Shea Weber is on LTIR. He’s never not going to be on LTIR for as long as he’s under contract. Weber will never play a game for the Golden Knights. Therefore, he will not count against the salary cap. If you need a more elaborate description, SinBin Vegas does a good job explaining why Weber does not count towards the cap. I didn’t make the rules. I just read the CBA. Don’t be mad at me for not being educated on the topic. Let’s keep going.

The point is Tkachuk’s future extension isn’t going to be impossible to carry. Vegas can more than move some things around to make this work. I can show you the crooked books here. Here is the Vegas cap sheet via Spotrac. You can do the math yourself on how much cap space the Knights actually have but I can tell you it’s more than zero and that’s a win given the recent McCrimmon book of asset management.

William Karlsson has to go in the deal but that’s a given when you factor in what the cap sheet looks like. I’m not sure how much of an asset Karlsson is in reality with his $5.9 million AAV heading into age 30 with five more years to go. Don’t worry, we don’t need to tell Calgary that. Karlsson can more than play. He’s got another 78 point season in the tank and his CF% of 57.7 proves he’s a good player. He does a lot of little things well and is a big part of the reason why Vegas made the Cup Finals in their inaugural season.

Trading him for the chance to acquire a unicorn is always the right call even if it stings a little. That’s why you trade Alex Tuch for Eichel even if it hurts. There is no room for being sentimental and good enough. I need unicorns to compete. It’s the only way you’re beating Colorado or Edmonton at this point in the West. I gotta have me some Matthew Tkachuk and I will not get outbid. That has to be your mentality.

Tkachuk is also just the right fit for any team. You don’t have to worry about this guy fitting in. He’s tough, likes to fight, scores goals, can lay out hits and protect lines, provides a big body, can skate, can pass. It’s not hard to see why he is the son of a former hockey player. He’s the type of guy your teammates love and opponents hate. Exactly the kind of guy Vegas is missing in the locker room since Ryan Reaves left town. Long story short, everybody is more than well aware of how good Tkachuk is.

Let’s also have a chat about this trade list. Let’s just say it’s accurate for entertainment purposes. I’ll even throw in a bonus team at the end to make it interesting? What do you say? You got a deal. You’re still reading at this point so I’m just going to get to Xhibit whatever number this is. Just keep in mind his list (minus St. Louis but that’s a different story) all of the teams he listed are teams that have no state income tax.

Dallas has no chance to swing this trade. How is it possible? Calgary should not and will not take back Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin. Both are considered negative assets at this point to go along with their outrageous contract number. Dallas also has to sign new contracts for Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger. Two young man rockets that you have to keep and will cost a pretty penny. It’s hard to see a pathway to a deal but we’ll leave them open because the Chinese farmer always says maybe.

Florida finds itself in the same situation. They’re not swinging this deal. They’re already up against the cap and didn’t even compete to keep Claude Giroux after he forced a trade at the deadline to be there. The Sergei Bobrovsky contract is a poison pill. Jonathan Huberdeau also needs to be paid along with the fact that Aleksander Barkov’s new deal has now kicked in. Cross Florida along with Dallas off the list.

Nashville and St. Louis can both swing a Tkachuk trade but they also have their complications. Don’t give them time to figure them out. Who knows, maybe St. Louis doesn’t want to part with Pavel Buchnevich who comes with a really nice contract and keeps getting better. Maybe Nashville gets too greedy and tries to get Calgary to take a bad contract like Ryan Johansen back. We’re not even going to get into those scenarios because I’m going to try to manifest Tkachuk to Vegas into existence just like I did with Eichel.

If you’re looking for a bonus trade, maybe the Islanders get in the mix. They have been relatively quiet and that old man Lou has a move in him. I’d swap the Flames Mat Barzal in a hot second. It’s a risk you absolutely take if it means landing Tkachuk.

Don’t forget, Tkachuk has a lot of control here. Nobody is pulling off a trade without Tkachuk signing off on the new extension. Get on the phones and start recruiting. Use your people skills.

Figure it out with the prospects and picks. Just make it happen. The trade is staring you right in the face. William Karlsson, Nic Hague, two first round picks, and an extra third rounder for taking a year of Laurent Brossoit’s deal. Call Tkachuk’s agent right now and tell him we can get his contract done tonight. Also tell him we wouldn’t be outbid if he were on the open market so get a deal done with us first. We can hand him an $11 million AAV right now if we can just call this trade into the league office. I just want Matthew to be happy so he can talk shit to Johnny Hockey about how it took him a cup of coffee to top the contract he signed with Columbus.

The line construction part is pretty simple. Stephenson gets his opportunity to go to his more natural position and play second line center with Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith. You feel good about that line. Your first line of Tkachuk, Eichel, and Mark Stone becomes godly. Oh, you’re in the mix now.

Get it done. Do whatever it takes. Don’t let this opportunity go by the wayside. The Vegas Golden Knights should be doing everything they possibly can to land Matthew Tkachuk via trade with the Flames.

End of blog. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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