On July 20, Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk told his team that he was not willing to re-sign with the organization long-term. This came just days after they lost their top forward in Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency. He also reportedly came with a list of teams that he would like to be dealt to, with one of those being the Atlantic Division champion and Presidents’ Trophy-winning, Florida Panthers. As much as it would be a dream come true for fans and the team itself, it, unfortunately, seems like a fantasy for a trade to actually happen.
Flames Would Want a King’s Ransom as a Return Package
If Panthers’ general manager Bill Zito were to pick up his phone and give the Flames a call, the conversation may not last very long. It is unknown exactly what the Flames would want in return for Tkachuk’s services, but despite him having leverage, it could cost them big roster pieces such as forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman Mackenzie Weeger. Additionally, they may want some of their young and rising stars in forward Anton Lundell and goaltender Spencer Knight. It could also cost the Panthers top prospects such as Grigori Denisenko.
Furthermore, they would more than likely want a first-round selection, which the Panthers’ soonest available would not be until 2025 as the earlier ones were dealt at the trade deadline last season for forward Claude Giroux and defenseman Ben Chiarot. While it’s understandable that they would want a king’s ransom for him, the Panthers do not have the draft picks to do so and there are some players they should not be willing to part ways with.
Calgary May Not Be Willing to Take On Some Contracts
In the past few months, the Panthers have looked to shop goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Patric Hornqvist. Both of them carry massive cap hits and some sort of no-move or no-trade clause in their contracts. For example, Bobrovsky carries an annual salary of a whopping $10 million per season with a no-movement clause (NMC).
Although Calgary does not have to pay another massive roster piece for at least a couple of seasons, they may not want to have their salary eaten away by players that were meant to be throw-aways from a different organization.
Panthers Could Not Pay What Tkachuk Wants in a New Contract
Tkachuk’s last deal ended with him being paid $7 million in average annual value (AAV) for the last three seasons. Of course, he’s gonna want to make either the same or more with his new team and the Panthers just simply cannot afford that, as they are currently a little more than $3 million over the cap.
In addition, if they were to bring him in without getting rid of a major star, there would be no way to re-sign him and said star. This would put Zito in yet another tough position and could potentially force him to get rid of someone that fans will not be happy with moving on.
What’s Next for Tkachuk?
The Panthers are not the only team that Tkachuk wants to go to. His other preferred destinations include the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars. It’s more than likely one of those organizations is going to give him a handsome new deal.
Of course, it’s almost heart-shattering that the terms may not be able to work out in Sunrise, Florida. However, it’s great to know that the Panthers are a team that top players would like to play for. It shows that they have finally built a culture of winning as opposed to one of retirement and partying on Fort Lauderdale beach or playing 18 holes of golf every weekend.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!