It was announced on Tuesday that the Calgary Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration for superstar Matthew Tkachuk. This means that other NHL teams will not have the opportunity to extend an offer sheet for Tkachuk that the Flames would ultimately have to match or let Tkachuk walk. It also means that Tkachuk’s time in Calgary very well may be coming to an end, further extinguishing the excitement that the franchise held skating into the ’21-’22 Stanley Cup playoffs.
With Johnny Gaudreau taking his talents closer to home and signing a 7-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the loss of Tkachuk would be another monster hit to the reigning Pacific Division leaders. This likely means that the Flames will be looking to move Tkachuk in hopes to lessen the blow of losing two of their most productive players in recent memory. Naturally, we have to look at the possibility of Jim Nill working his wizardry and making a deal happen to make Matthew Tkachuk a Dallas Star.
Let’s make a deal
Let me start by saying this, everything you see from here on out is purely hypothetical. Take it all with a grain of salt. Heavy sodium intake is incoming.
The Flames are going to need a hefty return to bring Tkachuk to Dallas so let’s take a look at the possible options that would land the mouth guard chomper in victory green starting with the most likely scenario that would send Thomas Harley, Esa Lindell, and Wyatt Johnston to Calgary.
Before you start throwing your phone or smashing your laptop just hear me out. The contract the Tkachuk would garner is going to be much like that of Jamie Ben and Tyler Seguin who have their own quarrels to deal with moving forward. (They are well documented.) That being said, you need to not only make cap space for Tkachuk, but you also need to make the deal work for the Flames as well. That’s why Harley and Johnston would be involved. Calgary needs to do some work and adding a young defenseman and a high-profile prospect to the mix is going to be what it takes for them to even answer the phone. This is also assuming Lindell waives his no-move clause to accept the trade which is another mountain to scale. Let’s just toss in a third-round draft pick as well to sweeten the deal.
A wildly out-of-left-field option would be to send Tyler Seguin and multiple picks to Calgary for Tkachuk. Again, this is assuming Seguin would waive his no-move clause. The deal would open up the cap space right away to sign Tkachuk to a multi-year deal while still leaving money open for Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger to be locked down as well. Throw in two to three draft picks over the next few years and a name like prospect Artem Grushnikov and I could see this deal having a .001% chance of happening.
Lastly, let’s get nuts. The rights to Jason Robertson for Matthew Tkachuk. Straight up. Does it make sense? Not really. Robo is coming off his best professional season yet and shows tremendous upside with the top line including Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski, but, Tkachuk did score 104 points last year. It won’t happen, but it’s always fun to stir the pot and ruffle some feathers. (I swear if this happens I didn’t mean to jinx it.)