Flames Trade Tkachuk to Panthers for Huberdeau & Weegar

The Calgary Flames have traded Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick to the Florida Panthers for a massive package that includes Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a conditional 2025 first-round pick. This comes after Tkachuk informed general manager (GM) Brad Treliving that he would not be signing a long-term extension with the club. What’s more, Tkachuk immediately agreed to a long-term deal with the Panthers for eight years at $9.5 million in average annual value.

Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Florida was reportedly one of the five preferred destinations that Tkachuk gave to Treliving, so it was really no surprise that he eventually signed an extension with them (from ‘Matthew Tkachuk tells Flames he won’t re-sign long term; trade likely: Sources’ The Athletic, 7/21/22). After recording a career-high 42 goals and 104 points in 82 games, he became one of the hottest trade commodities on the market when it was made known that he didn’t want to remain in Calgary long-term. Before the Panthers ultimately acquired him, the most-talked-about team was the St. Louis Blues who housed his dad Keith for many years.

In the end, it was the superstar package offered by GM Bill Zito that swayed Treliving. It’s currently unknown what the Blues offered, but it was clearly not as good as another 100-point player in Huberdeau and a top-four defenceman in Weegar. Tkachuk will essentially replace Huberdeau on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and likely put up similar numbers with him as he did with Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm.

Flames Get a Huge Return with Huberdeau & Weegar

It’s been a tough summer for Flames fans, now having two of their superstars in different jerseys. However, they can rest a bit easier knowing they now have another star on their team in Huberdeau and a solid top-four defenceman in Weegar. Yes, Huberdeau and Weegar are on the older side at 29 and 28 respectively and both signed for one more season before they reach unrestricted free agency, but they will help stop the bleeding that was first caused by Gaudreau’s departure and later Tkachuk’s unofficial trade request.

Huberdeau will take over on the top line next to Lindholm and potentially Andrew Mangiapane and could put up similar numbers to Tkachuk. Just like the former Flames power forward, he put up a career-high 30 goals and 115 points in 80 games. He also was in the conversation for the Hart Trophy, finishing fifth in the voting and receiving 13 first-place votes.

As for Weegar, he will more than replace what Erik Gudbranson brought to the lineup as he is a much better skater and can generate a lot more offence from the right side. Last season, he recorded a career-high eight goals and 44 points in 80 games along with an insane plus-40 in the plus/minus column.

Finally, the Flames also received a mid-level prospect in Cole Schwindt who played only three games with the Panthers last season but had a solid campaign in the American Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers recording 19 goals and 40 points in 72 games. He was a third-round pick of the team in 2019 at 81st overall.

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The Flames may not have gotten a young impact player like Tkachuk from the Panthers, but they did get a perennial all-star and legitimate top-line forward in Huberdeau to replace him for at least the 2022-23 season. Weegar will also make the defence much faster in transition and solidify a group that was already a formidable one in 2021-22. Time will tell if Treliving can get both of them re-signed beyond that, but considering the circumstances surrounding Tkachuk and the fact that he was backed into a corner, he got a massive return for a guy that didn’t want to be part of the long-term plans in Calgary.