Matthew Tkachuk trade shows Flames’ intent to defend Pacific Division title

Backed into a corner with a second star forward in two weeks set to leave the team, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving came out swinging and moved Matthew Tkachuk in one of the biggest deals in franchise history.

Late Friday evening, the team announced a deal that sent the 104-point game-breaker, a rare blend of skill, physicality, edge, and leadership, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for playmaking winger Jonathan Huberdeau, who himself had 115 points last season, underrated defenceman Mackenzie Weeegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a lottery-protected first-round pick.

For a Flames fanbase in the midst of one of the most excruciating off-seasons in recent memory, the return for Tkachuk has to provide at least some comfort and hope. While Calgary was never going to replicate him in a deal, they have at least come close to replacing him by adding another legitimate star in Huberdeau (who was fifth in Hart Trophy voting last season), a stay-at-home blueliner with an underrated offensive skillset in Weegar, plus two future assets.

The emphasis on immediate help in Huberdeau and Weegar shows the Flames still intend to defend their Pacific Division title next season.

Author: Lucy Green