Matthew Tkachuk trade: The reward and risk for the Flames and Panthers

Matthew Tkachuk trade: The reward and risk for the Flames and Panthers

Published July 24, 2022
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Oct 24, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) controls the puck in front of Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

After Matthew Tkachuk told the Calgary Flames he would not sign a long-term contract with the club, a trade became inevitable — one that would likely push the Flames into rebuilding mode. No team in NHL history had ever lost two 100-point scorers in the same offseason. This summer, Calgary watched one (Johnny Gaudreau) leave in free agency while another (Tkachuk) essentially forced a trade, leaving the Flames in a highly undesirable spot with minimal leverage.

But in a stunning move on Friday, Calgary dealt Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a first-round pick. Simply put: It’s one of the rarest and most interesting trades in recent NHL history.

Not only is it a blockbuster deal involving two legitimate star players coming off the best season of their respective careers (Tkachuk and Huberdeau were both 100-point scorers in 2021-22), but it also was struck by two division winners who had over 110 points in the standings last season. It’s also the second time in NHL history that two 100-point players have been involved in the same trade. The first involved Wayne Gretzky.