If you saw your house start to catch on fire and somehow you could find a way to deal with the fire to come back, say a year, you would do so – wouldn’t you?
That’s a bit like what happened to Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, who, in the middle of summer from hell seeing a talent defect from his Trophy team, created a blockbuster night Friday (as first reported by our Frank Seravalli).
With little room for options, Treliving shipped limited free agent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers to buy star winger Jonathan Huberdeau, defender MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a turn. pick the first round is protected by lottery in 2025. The fourth round of conditional pick also goes to Florida.
The Panthers immediately offered Tkachuk an 8-year extension with an average annual cap of $9.5 million.
This is the kind of trade that is only made by GMs who have a stronger stomach and belief in their plans. Will Treliving and his Florida counterpart Bill Zito find a way to make the deal at a more media-friendly time? Sure. But let’s not make excuses.
Treliving must be commended for keeping an eye on the award after losing Johnny Gaudreau to free agency (despite making a more lucrative offer than the one Gaudreau ultimately accepted to join the Columbus Blue Jackets).
Then, days later, Treliving must manage from trying to sign a long-term deal with Tkachuk, who possesses a unique blend of skill, physicality, and discomfort, to partial trade-offs. background of the Flames list, lest Tkachuk go five from now as an unrestricted free agent.
That he has managed to get one of the top wingers in the game at Huberdeau, alongside a solid top defender at Weegar, more a lead and first pick far exceeds what most people imagine the profits will go to Tkachuk.
A longtime NHL executive praised Treliving for getting the profits he made for the fact that everyone knew he had to deal with Tkachuk.
“The circumstances are difficult to work in,” the executive said. “He has an excellent attacking winger, a very solid D-man and a first choice.”
Although the executive was unfamiliar with the prospect, “all in all a very good job,” of Treliving, he said.
However, that doesn’t mean Treliving can stand on his desk at Saddledome.
Huberdeau is in the final year of a team friendly contract with a $5.9 million cap. Weegar could also become a UFA next summer when his current contract for $3.25 million comes to an end. Both will be looking forward to hitting a big payday next summer with Huberdeau looking for money and a Gaudreau/Tkachuk-like deadline.
Will the two be able to stick with the Flame for a long time? Sure. But if not, the same questions that are troubling Treliving about how to retain the elite talent in Calgary will return with a vengeance. If a long-term stay isn’t in the future of either player, Treliving can make them an asset by the end of year 23 deadline or, if the team is as good as it shows with these additions, he He could have a chance of the playoff dragging on and letting the chip drop at will.
Regardless, at least for now, the crisis has been averted.
Did we mention knocking that burning house down the street?
But Treliving didn’t just buy himself some time. He managed to avert the organizational disaster of an all-out rebuild – at least for now – by bringing in a player at Huberdeau who finished the game against Gaudreau in second place in NHL scored 115 points. Huberdeau is fifth in the Hart Trophy vote as the tournament’s MVP, one place behind Gaudreau, and will slide easily into Gaudreau’s spot in the top lane alongside Elias Lindholm.
Weegar represents the full package on both sides of the puck and adds another element to one of the deepest, most capable defensive units in the NHL. It also gives Treliving more flexibility if he needs to move a stretch or two on the road.
Based on CapFriendly.comThe Flames just hit $9 million in captivity, which would be great to bring back restricted freelance spies Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington.
If Treliving turns an inevitable situation – Tkachuk must be dealt with and with a team already capable of stretching him like the Panthers – to at least a temporary victory, then the real pressure point from this deal actually located in South Florida and with Zito.
Since taking over as GM in September 2020, Zito has repeatedly crossed the line in a bid to literally push the Panthers out of decades of organizational unrest and into the legitimate contender.
The team has reached the knockout stages in consecutive seasons, the first time since 1996 and 1997 (we don’t count qualifying losses in 2020), and Zito has made contracts to supplement. added high-profile talents such as Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe and, at the 22nd trading term, Ben Chiarot and Claude Giroux.
The Panthers have piled up offense in the regular season to a degree not seen since the mid-1990s. But in the knockout stages, they struggled against Washington before winning the open series. screen in six games and were then wiped out by Tampa, the second year in a row that their cross-state opponents had overtaken them in the post-season.
Worse still, the Panthers are only 3 goals behind in 4 games and don’t seem equipped to play a team with the dedication to testing and heavy hockey that Lightning has shown.
Tkachuk has a rare blend of size, skill and mindset, and his presence in a roster that already boasts one of the best two-way centers in the game in Aleksander Barkov makes The Panthers became even more majestic.
But turning around and coping has come at a cost.
In the 2023, 2024 and 2025 drafts, the Panthers possessed only four picks in the first three rounds: two picks in the second round, two picks in the third round, and no picks in the first round.
In short, the Panthers are an almighty team and believe the addition of Tkachuk represents one of the final, crucial pieces to a long-running playoff and perhaps the team’s first Stanley Cup.
It’s also proof that these aren’t your grandparents’ Panthers.
There will be a day to be reckoned with in Sunrise, Florida – in fact, the Panthers woke up Saturday morning with about $3 million more than capped pay – but that day, was also pushed down the street with the deal. this.