NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 24, 2022
The aftermath of the Matthew Tkachuk trade plus the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Matthew Tkachuk explained his refusal to sign a long-term contract with the Calgary Flames. At the time, the 24-year-old winger was a restricted free agent who was a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
Tkachuk indicated he knew when he inked his previous contract in 2019 that there was a chance that it would be time to leave when the deal was over. He said there wasn’t any single reason behind his decision.
He explained that he wanted to re-evaluate where he was at that point in his career. The winger stated that he didn’t know what his choice would be until after he spoke with several teams.
His decision forced the club to trade him on Friday night to the Florida Panthers in a multi-player deal that sent winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Flames. He agreed to an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per season with the Panthers.
Tkachuk indicated it wasn’t an easy decision, dismissing speculation that he was motivated by the recent departure of former linemate Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he was sad to be leaving Calgary, insisting that he enjoyed living and playing there. He explained why he choose the Panthers, saying he was drawn to their competitiveness and their prospects for success in the future.
CALGARY SUN: Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the offer he received from the Florida Panthers for Matthew Tkachuk was the best deal available “by a long shot.”
Treliving made the trade after Tkachuk informed the Flames that he wasn’t interested in signing a long-term contract. Huberdeau and Weegar are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.
The Flames GM said it was important for everyone to take a breather after everything that’s happened before moving on to the next round of challenges. That includes attempting to re-sign Huberdeau and Weegar.
Treliving also he was “pissed off” about the media narrative that suggests Calgary isn’t a good place to live and play for NHL players. He praised the community and defended his club, insisting that it will be competing every year to be a Stanley Cup contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk was a restricted free agent and within his rights under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement to determine where he wanted to play. Informing the Flames that he wouldn’t sign beyond the coming season gave him considerable leverage to force a trade wherever he wanted to go.
Treliving got the best deal he could under the circumstances. In the short term, it should keep the Flames competitive for 2022-23 despite the absence of Gaudreau. Whether it works out over the long term depends on whether Huberdeau and Weegar are willing to sign contract extensions.
NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed forwards Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to contract extensions. Vilardi’s is a one-year, one-way deal worth an annual average value of $825K. Anderson-Dolan’s is a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins signed center Jack Studnicka to a two-year, two-way contract extension with an average annual salary of $762,500 at the NHL level.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed defenseman Will Butcher to a one-year, two-way deal worth an AAV of $750K.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks recently announced new initiatives to help educate the public about the cultures of Native peoples.