In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, a massive trade was pulled off over the weekend as general manager (GM) Brad Treliving acquired Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar and more from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk. In other news, Andrew Mangiapane’s agent recently let it be known that his client is more than willing to stay in Calgary on a long-term deal. Meanwhile, Johnny Gaudreau released a short story explaining his decision to join the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last but not least, the Flames officially confirmed the signing of 23-year-old Ben Jones on Thursday afternoon.
Flames Send Tkachuk to Florida
While it became well known that Tkachuk’s days in Calgary were limited, no one predicted the trade that Treliving was able to pull off on Friday. The Flames’ GM sent the 24-year-old to the Panthers in exchange for Huberdeau, Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick in 2025.
Wow. While it should be noted that both Huberdeau and Weegar are entering the final year of their deals, this was still undeniably a massive win for Treliving, who was stuck in a tough position. Not only did he acquire Huberdeau who is coming off of a career-best 115-points, but he also brought in a top pairing defenceman in Weegar who put up 44 points in 2021-22. On top of that, he was also able to bring in Schwindt, a 21-year-old prospect who appeared in the first three games of his career this past season, and a conditional first as mentioned.
Immediately after the trade was complete, the Panthers announced that they had re-signed Tkachuk to an eight-year, $76 million deal that will carry an average annual value of $9.5 million. It is a fair deal for both sides given that the agitating winger recorded 104 points this past season.
Mangiapane Interested in Long-Term Deal
While it appeared this offseason was going to be a major disaster for the Flames organization, the Tkachuk trade has changed things in a massive way. Even better for the team itself and its fanbase is that one of their top goal scorers appears committed to sticking in Calgary for the long haul. Speaking on Sportsnet 960 The Fan this past week, Mangiapane’s agent Ritch Winter let it be known that his client is interested in discussing a long-term deal with GM Treliving.
“He likes the city, he has had a good experience,” Winter said. “He has said to them, he’s quite willing to stay on a long-term deal.”
This is fantastic news for the Flames, as not all too long ago Winter said he had advised his client to sign short-term so that he could test free agency as soon as next offseason. Perhaps they sense the Flames’ desperation right now given how things have gone in recent weeks and are of the belief that they can capitalize on a lucrative deal. Nonetheless, the continuously improving 26-year-old seems willing to remain a Flame for some time.
Gaudreau Pens Letter to Flames Fans
After shocking the hockey world and signing a seven-year, $68.25 million deal with the Blue Jackets, Flames fans were furious with the former beloved Gaudreau, as they felt he betrayed their favorite team. They certainly appeared to have a case, as the 28-year-old didn’t inform Treliving until the 11th hour that he was going to test the market. However, after reading a note he penned in the Players’ Tribune, those feelings seem to have subsided.
In the letter, Gaudreau explains that he understands the fans’ frustration. He also mentioned that his love for the Flames organization and the city of Calgary was very real, and how appreciative he was and still is for his time spent there. He expressed that after his dad suffered a heart attack in 2018, he began to realize just how tough it was to be as far as he was from his family. Ultimately, this decision specifically came down to being closer to them. That said, it still wasn’t easy to see him go.
Gaudreau admitted in his letter that after turning down the Flames’ final eight-year deal, he truly considered renegotiating with them on the opening day of free agency to return on a seven-year contract. The temptation to be closer to home however outweighed his love for Calgary and resulted in him choosing the Blue Jackets. While many Flames fans will likely still be very upset over how things played out, this may help some understand what was going through his mind when trying to decide his playing future.
Flames Sign Jones
Though it was confirmed days prior, the Flames officially announced yesterday that they have signed Jones to a one-year, $750,000 deal. The 23-year-old, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (189 overall), suited up for 66 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Henderson Silver Knights. In those 66 games, the centerman recorded 25 goals and 41 points.
On top of his solid AHL season, Jones was also able to appear in the first two NHL games of his career in 2021-22 as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. Given his lack of experience, he will likely begin the 2022-23 season in the AHL but could be called up to the Flames if he impresses in the early going. This was a very under-the-radar signing that has a chance to be a nice pickup by Treliving and his staff.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
The main thing to pay attention for moving forward with the Flames is their players who are in need of extensions. While Matthew Phillips was recently able to re-up on a one-year deal, both Oliver Kylington and Mangiapane are in need of new deals for the 2022-23 season. Another thing to keep an eye on are possible extensions to one or both of Weegar and Huberdeau, who Treliving will try and keep around for the foreseeable future.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.