While the Calgary Flames had to say goodbye to two of their superstars this offseason, they were able to come away with a solid severance package.
Losing one disgruntled star player is hard enough as is, but the Calgary Flames had to lose two of their best players this offseason as Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau (UFA) and Matthew Tkachuk (RFA) felt they needed a change of scenery.
Clearly, the Flames would have to forfeit one or the other as Johnny Hockey and Tkachuk put up 115-point and 104-point seasons, respectively, and each played in a contract year. The organization gave it its all when it came to resigning Gaudreau, as it was revealed the front office offered a long-term contract extension with an annual average value north of $11 million.
When it came down to it, however, the elite playmaker wanted to test the open market and seek a better opportunity not only for himself but for his family as well. As we all know, the frontrunners for landing the forward included the Philadelphia Flyers, his No. 1 choice, the New Jersey Devils, and the New York Islanders. At the last moment, a new contender emerged, which happened to be his final decision, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It was a mind-boggling decision for sure, considering the state of the franchise in Columbus compared to others like New Jersey, but at least Calgary can move on from the drama. As if this breakup wasn’t hard enough as is, Matthew Tkachuk also wanted to move to a new setting and leave Alberta for greener pastures.
The front-runners for one of the most effective power forwards in the NHL today included his hometown team the St. Louis Blues, as well as the New York Islanders and the Vegas Golden Knights. Once again though, another team emerged from the shadows in the name of the Florida Panthers and snatched the young aggressor. It did not come cheap either.
While there were many thoughts as to what it would take to acquire Matthew Tkachuk in a trade with the Flames, nobody would’ve guessed that they would receive Jonathan Huberdeau (30 goals, 85 assists in 80 games played), lockdown defenseman Mackenzie Weegar, forward prospect Cole Schwindt (81st OVR pick in 2019), and a 2025 1st-Round Draft pick. Talk about an absolute haul.
The goal for the Calgary Flames this offseason, knowing they would lose one or both of their superstars, would be to acquire enough pieces in a trade that would keep them competitive while also adding more talent to their prospect pool and draft capital. In this colossal trade with the Florida Panthers, they’ve done just that.
Huberdeau is a bonified superstar and one of the best playmakers in hockey while Mackenzie Weegar is a highly underrated true top-4 defenseman who can shut down the best skaters in the game. Calgary already has some solid prospects in their system including future star Matthew Coronato, and bringing in Schwindt and another 1st-Round pick will only strengthen their pool.
Now that the dust has settled, we can see the method to the madness of the Flames’ front office and fans can remain confident that their team will contend for the playoffs once again next season.