The team that seemed to make the headlines the most was the Calgary Flames. After Connor McDavid put the dagger in the Flames’ hearts and won the Battle of Alberta playoff series, a major off-season awaited them. Two of their biggest stars needed new contracts. In the end, the team lost them both. Johnny Gaudreau opted to leave and sign with the Columbus Bluejackets. Now, the Matthew Tkachuk trade happened.
After telling management he will not sign long-term, the organization wasted no time and moved the star winger. Rather than risk losing the star for nothing, they got a gigantic haul for him instead. It went from panic to joy in just a matter of a week. Despite losing both star players, the team is in great shape going forward.
Matthew Tkachuk Trade Brings More Offensive Power to Flames
Tkachuk got his trade and it was also the first sign and trade in NHL history. He is locked up for the next seven seasons with the Florida Panthers with a $9.5 million AVV. When it was reported he would end up getting moved, you questioned where this team would be headed. This was a massive haul for the Calgary Flames.
Landing calibre talents in Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar are huge boosts to an already good team. Landing a conditional first-round pick and a prospect is the icing on the cake. After losing Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk all hope seemed to be lost. This is a good move for the Flames in every way and the talent they acquired should do wonders for the lineup and keeps them in contention status.
Speaking of goal vibes, @TKACHUKycheese_ has been clutch on home ice – 7 of his 15 goals have come at the ‘Dome.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) January 14, 2022
Why The Matthew Tkachuk Trade Was Worth It
Both Gaudreau and Tkachuk finished the season with 100+ points. As a matter of fact, Gaudreau finished third in points with 115, while Tkachuk finished eighth with 104. Those two were a large part of the offence and replacing that production is challenging.
Even though they lost two star wingers, they gained one in return. Huberdeau replaces that production. He finished second in the league in points with 115. The Canadian player went on to score 30 goals and 85 assists, which led the league. Huberdeau is one of the best passers in the league and does an excellent job generating chances off the rush. A top-line winger he is and replaces Gaudreau and Tkachuk in that regard.
Jonathan Huberdeau, traded to CGY, is a top-line winger and one of the best passers in the sport. Plays a high-tempo rush game that leads to plenty of chances (often at both ends of the ice.) #Flames pic.twitter.com/YNVokEQODY
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 23, 2022
Huberdeau is an offensive juggernaut who will look good slotted next to centre Elias Lindholm. Lindholm finished 10th in goals scored with 42, imagine how many more playing alongside Huberdeau with the way he dishes the puck.
In 671 games played, he has scored 198 goals, 415 assists, and 613 points. The sky is the limit and a player that will thrive in Calgary.
An already very good defending team just got better on the back end. Weegar is a great defenceman. In fact, Weegar is an elite two-way defenceman in this league and eats up big minutes. He went on to average 23:22 minutes a night. Despite some of the mistakes he made notably in the playoffs, Weegar is one of the best defencemen in terms of transition. Weegar is good at both ends of the ice and is a top defenseman in any lineup on any given night.
MacKenzie Weegar, traded to CGY, is an elite two-way defenceman who drives play at both ends of the ice at a level that very very few can equal. One of the best transition D – offensively and defensively – in the NHL. Commits the odd inopportune penalty or giveaway. #Flames pic.twitter.com/xST2G2XD33
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 23, 2022
Weegar can do it all as this photo demonstrates. Despite the inopportune giveaway and taking the occasional bad penalty to set the team back, he is great in every aspect of the game. He went on to have a career year for himself offensively. Skating in 80 games with the Florida Panthers, he scored 8 goals, 36 assists, and 44 points. He is not afraid to get physical as he finished with 179 hits and blocked 156 shots.
The Flames are getting an elite defenceman, and while they lost two stars, they replaced them with this trade. Calgary’s blue line should look like this come opening night:
Cole Schwindt is a prospect that was part of the package. This past season he spent it all in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers. In 72 games played, he scored 19 goals, 21 assists, and 40 points. Prior to being in the AHL, he lit up the OHL with the Mississauga Steelheads. In 2019-20 he had 71 points in 57 games. Schwindt will more than likely begin the year with the Stockton Heat.
Florida x Calgary: Who Won the Trade
The Matthew Tkachuk trade was huge. This is a massive trade for both teams. So much high-end talent headed in both directions. But the Calgary Flames did very well with this trade. Despite both players having only one year left on their contracts, both have been open to signing long-term in Calgary. That’s huge. They may have lost a star but they gained two in return. And both are immediate players that can plug right into the lineup.
Both players feel wanted by management and want to be there. According to Cap Friendly, the Calgary Flames have $9.3 million dollars in cap space. With a big contract like Milan Lucic coming off the books after this season, there will be room to keep both players in the fold.
Final Thoughts on the Flames’ Future
The Calgary Flames are in good shape going forward. With Darryl Sutter at the helm, you cannot count out a team led by him. After making the playoffs this past season, they will be looking to continue their contention status. The team allowed the fewest goals (140), and finished sixth in goals for (196) during the regular season. Coming off a Pacific Division championship, they will look to continue that success as well. In a wide-open Pacific Division, this team will have no problem being able to be at the top of it.
The Flames have a solid core still in place and the complimentary pieces to round out the lineup. Lindholm, Huberdeau, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane, Blake Coleman, Chris Tanev, Mackenzie Weegar and Noah Hanifin are just a few. The team boasts Vezina calibre goaltending in Jacob Markstrom. This is an already good Flames team that will remain good.
If the Flames can lock up Huberdeau and Weegar long-term, they will win this trade and be perennial contenders for a long time.