Examining potential Flames trade targets in a Tkachuk deal

Jul 20 2022, 9:41 pm

Matthew Tkachuk isn’t long for the Calgary Flames.¬†

The 24-year-old Tkachuk has reportedly served Flames general manager Brad Treliving notice that he will not be re-signing with Calgary on a long-term basis.

He is, however, reportedly open to a handful of destinations that the restricted free agent would consider a more long-term option, reportedly turning over a list to help Calgary aid in his relocation. 

Among them are St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Dallas Stars, according to Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic.

A trade should return Treliving, who just saw star Johnny Gaudreau walk as an unrestricted free agent with no compensation to Calgary, a proverbial haul. Tkachuk is, after all, coming off a career year that saw him finish eighth in NHL scoring with 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists).

Couple the production with the gritty, in-your-face style of game Tkachuk offers, and even despite a limited field of options, a return to go a long way to helping kickstart a retool, rebuild, reconfiguration, or whatever other adjective Calgary should look to describe the fact that they could see two franchise faces leave in consecutive weeks. 

The starting price will almost immediately begin with a younger forward, a prospect, and a first-round pick in return.

Here is who the Flames should be targeting from each team:

St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues will be the most speculated team Tkachuk could be shipped to due to his family connection to the city, and it’s no surprise he’s among the near half-dozen teams listed.¬†

Any conversation involving a potential swap to the Blues should start with 24-year-old forward Jordan Kyrou, who himself is coming off a career year with 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 74 games with the Blues. He’s in the final season of a two-year contract that pays him $2.8 million annually and will be a restricted free agent next summer.¬†

Prospect Jake Neighbours will also be tossed around in a potential return, but Zachary Bolduc, selected in the first round (No. 17) in the 2021 NHL Draft, is equally intriguing as an option for the Flames. 

Vegas Golden Knights

It’s hard to imagine any desire from the Flames to keep Tkachuk within the Pacific Division, but it’d be hard to turn down should the Vegas Golden Knights present the most intriguing package. The only issue is Vegas has stripped down its options after acquiring Jack Eichel last season.¬†

Nolan Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, shouldn’t move the needle, though defenceman Nicolas Hague isn’t the worst starting point. The 6’6 rearguard had 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 52 games last season.¬†

The Golden Knights would have to pepper their offer with additional first-rounders, or a plethora of prospects that’ll include Zach Dean, Daniil Chayka, and Brendan Brisson, among others. It still likely isn’t enough for Calgary to keep Tkachuk that close, however.

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers can check a lot of boxes as a potential trade partner on Tkachuk, should they find the cap space to accommodate. Not only is Florida in another division, Calgary would be shipping him off to the Eastern Conference and would see their former star just twice a year. 

The Panthers have a few intriguing options too, starting with centre Anton Lundell. The 20-year-old, selected in the first round (No. 12) of the 2020 draft, amassed 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 65 games as a rookie in Florida this season. He finished sixth overall in Calder Trophy voting. 

Couple Lundell with goaltender Spencer Knight, for example, and the Panthers have the makings of an interesting package for the Flames. 

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have no shortage of intriguing options when it comes to the ability to put together a package for Tkachuk. They have a couple of pro-ready players already quickly becoming regulars in the NHL and an abundance of prospects. 

Defenceman Dante Fabbro, 24, has three seasons under his belt and is coming off his most productive season to date with 24 points (three goals, 21 assists) in 66 games. Forward Philip Tomasino, picked in the first round (No. 24) in 2019, had 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 76 games in his rookie campaign in the NHL.

But the most intriguing option Nashville can put forth to the Flames is a combination of prospects, including forwards Zachary L’Heureux, Fyodor Svechkov, Joakim Kemell, and goaltender Yaroslav Askarov.¬†

Dallas Stars

The Flames good an up-close look at the immediate returns the Dallas Stars could provide after their seven-game battle in the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, though the likelihood of prying out one of Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson, or Jake Oettinger in a Tkachuk swap is slim to none. 

That’d leave options at the NHL level pretty slim. Thomas Harley, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, logged 34 games last season on the blue line for Dallas and would be of interest as a complimentary piece.¬†

Dallas does, however, boast a plethora of forward prospects that could intriguing, ranging from Mavrik Bourque to Wyatt Johnson to Logan Stankoven, making a futures deal to the Central Division club a potential intriguing option to the Flames.

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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