Late Friday night, the blockbuster broke: Matthew Tkachuk was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers and had signed an eight-year extension. He ended up being worth two name-brand players, a solid, if unspectacular prospect and a future first-round pick.
One of the rare sign-and-trades in recent memory. This was as close to a win as the Flames could get, but the issue is that it mostly just kicked the can down the road for them. Now they have a year before they have to re-sign the two pending unrestricted free agents who came back in the deal, Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, and it could cost them a pretty penny. At least one of those players is unlikely to be worth the extension he’ll seek.
Whether those players re-sign, and what the AAVs on those contracts end up being, will tell us a lot about who won this trade.
However, the transaction also at least temporarily leaves the Panthers a little worse on paper than they were before making it, but that’s not true of Calgary. Tkachuk may be close to an MVP-caliber talent, but Huberdeau at least scored like one last season, and Weegar is arguably a top-pair defender.
Now, one can argue that, given the extensions Florida was staring down for its now-former players, GM Bill Zito did well to give himself a little wiggle room.