Matthew Tkachuk has seen his time with the Calgary Flames come to an end after a blockbuster trade on Friday night.
As reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Tkachuk has been reportedly been sent in a trade to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Jonathan Huberdeau, defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.
“I want to thank Matthew. I have a strong relationship with Matthew. We drafted him as an 18-year-old player. We saw him grow up in this organization. He’s been a special guy to this organization,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said Saturday. “He made a decision to move on. I appreciate his honesty. I appreciate him coming to that decision. A week ago this was not a plan that we had. We were not looking to move Matthew Tkachuk, but we were put in a situation we had to do the very best thing we could for the organization. He chose the path to go down and we had to facilitate as best we possibly could.”
WE HAVE A TRADE TO ANNOUNCE!
The #Flames have acquired Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 2025 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers!
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) July 23, 2022
Tkachuk, who was eighth in NHL scoring with 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in 82 games for the Flames in 2021-22, has also reportedly signed an eight-year extension in Florida worth an annual average value of $9.5 million.
The trade came after the 24-year-old winger reportedly told the Flames he would not be signing a long-term extension with the club. Tkachuk, who was to be taken to team-elected arbitration on August 11, was a restricted free agent.
Tkachuk’s departure comes just two weeks after losing star and franchise face Johnny Gaudreau for no return in unrestricted free agency. Gaudreau, who was second in league scoring with 115 points (40 goals, 75 assists), and Tkachuk were two-thirds of the NHL’s most productive line last season along with centre Elias Lindholm.
“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said in a statement. “He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”
Tkachuk, whom the Flames selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, has 382 points (152 goals, 230 assists) in 431 career NHL games, all with the Flames.
Huberdeau tied Gaudreau for second in NHL scoring last season with 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists), and Weegar had eight and goals, 36 assists in 80 games. Huberdeau is in the final year of a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $5.9 million, while Weegar has one year left at $3.25 million per season.
Schwindt, selected in the third round (No. 81) in the 2019 NHL Draft, had 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) as a rookie with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. He had zero points in three games in the NHL with the Panthers.
“Early on in the process when we felt we had an opportunity to look at the types of players and impact of players we were able to get a deal done with, which was Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weeger, Cole Schwindt, and the future pick, that became, clearly, a path we tried to go down early in the process,” Treliving said.
The first round pick is lottery protected.
Calgary finished first in the Pacific Division with a 50-21-11 record — the second-best regular-season result in franchise history. They advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for just the second time since reaching the Final in 2004, but were eliminated in five games in the Battle of Alberta by the Edmonton Oilers.