The news that the Florida Panthers had acquired star forward Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames in a massive trade on Friday night was the epitome of a news dump.
The first tweet about the Tkachuk Sweepstakes, which had been in the works for the past week but had only been made public on Wednesday, appeared shortly after 11 p.m. local time in South Florida.
One of the NHL’s most exciting forwards, Tkachuk, 24, has been added to the Panthers’ top lines and might be a long-term partner for Sasha Barkov.
Eight years? That’s a long time.
Barkov’s new eight-year, $80 million contract and Tkachuk’s eight-year, $76 million contract with the Panthers both begin this season with the start of the new league year.
General Manager Bill Zito has reiterated hundreds of times that the Panthers are willing to improve in whatever way possible, despite the fact that many Panthers supporters are upset about losing Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.
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Free agents Huberdeau or Weegar are likely to leave the Panthers at the end of the season.
The Panthers’ salary limit restrictions prevent them from signing either player to a new deal worth the money they expect to make on their current contracts.
And thus, the Panthers traded Huberdeau for Tkachuk, a strong skater who can score from everywhere on the ice and is only roughly five years younger than Huberdeau at the time of his trade.
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Despite the fact that Huberdeau just had the best scoring season in Panthers history, this is not a significant concern now. However, when that large contract ages, it will be.
Until Huberdeau is 30, a seven-year, $9.5-million contract with the Panthers makes no sense. Huberdeau will be 34 in the fourth year of the program.
Tkachuk, on the other hand, is committed to Florida for the remainder of his NHL career.
At the age of 24, he joined Huberdeau on the second team of the NHL’s all-stars with 42 goals for the Calgary Flames.
In the midst of one of his finest campaigns, Tkachuk is only getting warmed up.
The Panthers are eager to take advantage of everything he has to offer.
Is Matthew Tkachuk available to the Florida Panthers? Yes, Zito did really give up a lot in the transaction.
Huberdeau, Weegar, Schwindt, and Florida’s first-round pick in 2025 are all moving to Calgary, along with prospect Cole Schwindt.
The Panthers’ lack of a first-round draft pick for the next three years isn’t as bad as the defensive void Weegar’s departure will leave.
The salary cap situation in Florida may be about to get even worse. We’ll have to wait and see.
Tkachuk’s contract has one element that no one is arguing about.
It’s a lot of money, but it’ll be OK as the wage ceiling rises over the next few years and the NHL emerges from the Covid shadow.
Sunrise has a great group of young attackers, and Tkachuk is one of the greatest young players in the league.
With Tkachuk’s versatility, new coach Paul Maurice has a wide range of alternatives for his top lines.
Barkov in the center of Carter Verhaeghe and Tkachuk? No problem. Cool.
Tkachuk, Barkov, and Sam Reinhart would be a good combination. It’s up to you.
NHL players are flocking to the Sunshine State, and it’s not just for the beaches and golf courses. Zito is doing everything he can to ensure that everyone’s expectations are met.
To say goodbye to guys like MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau may be difficult, but welcoming Matthew Tkachuk should be a pleasant surprise.
Folks, he’s the real deal.