NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2022
Are the Flames planning to trade Matthew Tkachuk? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE FLAMES SIGN OR TRADE TKACHUK?
CALGARY SUN: Daniel Austin reports the Flames’ decision to take Matthew Tkachuk to salary arbitration has sparked speculation that the club could be preparing to trade the 24-year-old restricted free agent winger.
Austin noted Flames general manager Brad Treliving has stated his intent to sign Tkachuk to a long-term deal. However, he said the same thing about Johnny Gaudreau and lost him to free agency.
The same thing can’t happen to Tkachuk this summer because he’s an RFA. However, if the winger ends up getting a one-year deal via arbitration, it sets the state for his potential departure next summer as an unrestricted free agent. That’s what’s prompted some observers to suggest the Flames will trade him.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarland reports people believe Tkachuk wants to live and play in St. Louis where he grew up. However, he’ll have no control over where the Flames might trade him if they decide to shop him this summer. Macfarland also suggested Tkachuk could sign a four- or five-year deal with the Flames to set himself up for another big payday down the road as a UFA.
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes the Flames will trade Tkachuk if the winger is reluctant to sign beyond 2022-23. Taking him to arbitration prevents a rival club from signing him to an offer sheet. It also stops him from merely signing his qualifying offer and setting up his departure as a UFA next summer.
If Tkachuk gets his next contract via arbitration he can’t negotiate an extension until Jan. 1, 2023. Francis believes a trade before then makes the most sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Tuesday, Francis told 101 ESPN in St. Louis that he expects a Tkachuk trade to be wrapped up by the end of this week (stick tap to Mark Scheig). We’ll find out in due course if he’s right.
Macfarland doesn’t see the Flames wanting a return of futures (draft picks, prospects) if they put Tkachuk on the trade block. “There’s no appetite to go Bust for Bedard”, he said, referring to 2023 top prospect Connor Bedard. They won’t get a comparable player to Tkachuk but could perhaps land a player with star potential in a package deal.
A number of clubs will certainly have interest in Tkachuk but I daresay they’ll want assurances that he’ll sign a long-term deal with them before agreeing to a trade. Otherwise, they risk the same scenario the Flames face.
A new contract for Tkachuk could also complicate things. Teams will have to send one or two salaried players back to the Flames. They might also have to engage in a cost-cutting move or two to take on his new contract.