The Calgary Flames have reached an agreement with restricted free agent (RFA), Matthew Tkachuk. The deal is for three years and $21 million, making the star forward the highest Flame of all time.
Tkachuk is coming off of a breakout year in Alberta, scoring 34 goals, 43 assists and 77 points in 80 games. Through his first three seasons in the league, the 21-year-old has 71 goals, 103 assists for 174 points in 224 games.
Tkachuk’s average annual value comes in at $7 million, more than Johnny Gaudreau ($6.75 million), captain Mark Giordano ($6.75 million), and Sean Monahan ($6.375 million).
The Flames’ star was a member of numerous RFAs this summer, many of whom have recently signed contracts. The face of the summer’s RFA class was Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner, who signed a six-year, $10.893 million deal. Tampa Bay Lightning’s Braden Point, Boston Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy, and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski also recently re-signed with their clubs.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Point’s deal with the Lightning was a “catalyst” in the Flames and Tkachuk coming to an agreement. The term is the same, at three years, with Point coming in slightly lower, with a cap hit of $6.75 million per year.
There are still numerous RFAs left of the market, most notably Winnipeg Jets’ Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, and the Colorado Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen.
Pressure’s On for Tkachuk
With Tkachuk being the highest-paid player on the team, the pressure is now on for the player to continue to improve and grow. Last season, he finished fourth in points and tied for second in goals.
The Flames will need to see more from their star player through his deal to prove that he’s worth being the franchise’s highest-paid player. He seems to be trending that way, now he just needs to prove it on the ice.
He’ll also be playing for the next contract, as he’ll be eligible to sign another deal in just two seasons, where he’ll look to get another raise on top of this one.
Flames Have Forward Core Locked Up
With Tkachuk under contract for the next three seasons, it seems many of their big names are locked up for the near future. Gaudreau is signed for the next three seasons as well, Monahan is locked up for four, and Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm both have five seasons left on their deals.
On defence, Giordano is locked up for three seasons and Noah Hanafin has five years left. The rest of the defense could see some changes very soon. TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and Michael Stone are all in their final year, as are Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington, although they are on entry-level contracts.
While Andersson and Kylington are most likely going to re-up with the Flames, the other three pending free agents’ futures are less clear. Brodie has been in trade rumours for a couple of years now, and people are still trying to figure out the Stone situation.
The Flames appear to be building from the front back, and it will remain to see if that works for them. They are coming off of a season where they clinched the Western Conference with a 107-point season before falling to the Colorado Avalanche in five games in the playoffs. They will look to improve on that finish this season.
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.