Last month the Calgary Flames were going through the “Battle of Alberta” in the Western Conference second round with top stars Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.
Fast forward to today and Gaudreau is gone, signing a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency, and Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, told the Flames that he will not sign a long-term extension. With Tkachuk scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 season, Calgary has made him available for trade offers.
Tkachuk is coming off of a career year with 42 goals and 62 assists. His 104 points is the 18th highest point total for an American-born NHL player and he is only the fourth American-born NHL player to hit the 100-point mark since 1996, joining Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews and Gaudreau.
Matthew Tkachuk trade destinations
The New York Islanders might be the easiest trade to execute depending on the future status of their top player, Mathew Barzal. Both Barzal and Tkachuk are in similar salary ranges. Barzal will be an RFA after the 2022-23 season and will be in line for an extension. The Flames will probably ask for a first-round pick or another prospect as well considering Barzal’s offensive production isn’t on Tkachuk’s level.
The New Jersey Devils missed out on the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes, so they still have some money to burn and are looking for a big-ticket player to give it to. Calgary would likely ask for a package featuring RFA Jesper Bratt or Nico Hischier and it’s uncertain if the Devils want to give up either of those building blocks. The Devils do have prospects like Alexander Holtz, Luke Hughes and Dawson Mercer who can be dangled in a potential deal with picks.
The St. Louis Blues would have to make a move to create cap space, but they are likely Tkachuk’s preferred destination. He grew up in St. Louis. His father, Keith, played eight-plus seasons for the Blues. Can the Blues move a contract? Pavel Buchnevich ($5.8M) has a modified no-trade clause and would probably get the most in return. Vladimir Tarasenko or Ryan O’Reilly ($7.5M) only have one year left on deals and might be easier moves to clear the cap space. Calgary would likely want prospects and picks from the Blues.