3 Potential Calgary Flames Trading Partners for Matthew Tkachuk

Let me first begin this article by stating that by no means is there a guarantee that the Calgary Flames are looking to trade Matthew Tkachuk. The 24-year-old has been everything and more this organization could have possibly hoped for when they stepped up to the podium at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft to select him with the sixth-overall pick. Not only has he produced at a great clip with the second-highest point total of all peers from his draft, but he has also exemplified many leadership traits that had, and still have many, believing he is in line to be this team’s next captain.

Related: Calgary Flames: Free Agent Replacements for Johnny Gaudreau

With all that said, there were reports after a down 2020-21 season that he may welcome a trade, and some of those rumors are once again popping up. Many believe that the restricted free agent’s future revolves around what happens with Johnny Gaudreau. If Gaudreau signs elsewhere, Tkachuk may be unsure about the future of the franchise and unwilling to sign anything more than a one-year deal, which would walk him straight to free agency after the 2022-23 season.

If the Flames get word that Tkachuk is unwilling to sign long term, there is no better time to trade him than this summer. Coming off of a career year in which he scored 42 goals and 104 points in just 82 games, his value is higher than it has ever been and Brad Treliving would have no issues getting a large return for him. If that is indeed to happen, here are three teams that make plenty of sense for the young star to end up on.

New Jersey Devils

As first reported on by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the New Jersey Devils have shown plenty of interest in Tkachuk, going as far as to offer Treliving a deal for him on the opening day of the 2022 Draft. The deal was said to include their second-overall pick, though it wasn’t enough to entice the Flames’ front office, and as a result the Devils used the pick to select defenceman Simon Nemec (from ‘Bruce Garrioch: INSIDER TRADING: The goalie carousel starts spinning with plenty of trade chatter’, Ottawa Sun, 07/07/22).

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While a deal didn’t occur on that particular day, things could change in the near future. Again, this all comes down to the future of Gaudreau. If he leaves, that could mean Tkachuk lets management know he isn’t interested in signing long term, which could very well result in this previous offer being revisited.

From the Devils’ standpoint, acquiring Tkachuk would make plenty of sense. After years of rebuilding, they are ready to take the next step, and adding more offense in a still-young player like Tkachuk would certainly help them do just that. On top of that, they currently sit with nearly $27 million in cap space, and aside from Jesper Bratt have no restricted free agents that will cost much to retain.

St. Louis Blues

When rumors surfaced that Tkachuk may want out of Calgary last year, one of the teams most discussed was the St. Louis Blues. This is a team that Tkachuk is believed to have interest in playing for due to the fact that he spent plenty of his childhood there as a result of his dad, Keith, playing parts of nine seasons there.

One trade suggested at the time would have seen Vladimir Tarasenko to the Flames in exchange for Tkachuk, but that quickly got ruled out given Tarasenko’s health issues. Though he bounced back nicely in 2021-22, it still wouldn’t make a ton of sense for Treliving to move arguably his most valuable player for another who will turn 31 later this year.

A trade that could make sense, however, is one that was suggested by Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic just over a month ago. He suggested that the main piece the Flames may look to target would be Jordan Kyrou, who is also just 24 years old and had an impressive 75 points this past season. While Kyrou is a great player, he is not as valuable as Tkachuk, which is why Rutherford also made sure to mention that picks and/or prospects would also likely be sent the Flames’ way (from ‘Jeremy Rutherford: Could the Blues trade for Matthew Tkachuk? Closing the gap on the Avalanche? Mailbag, part 2’, The Athletic, 06/10/22).

Ottawa Senators

While this move hasn’t seen any real traction from insiders, the Ottawa Senators are a very suitable fit for Tkachuk. Not only is his brother a part of the team, but like the Devils, they have been rebuilding and are now ready to take the next step. On top of that, they have many young assets, both on their current roster as well as prospects, that would certainly intrigue the Flames’ front office.

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Given how close the Tkachuk brothers are, this is a trade that Matthew would likely welcome in a heartbeat. With his brother Brady locked up long term with the Senators, Matthew may very well consider doing the exact same if given the opportunity to do so. At this point, the Sens have over $25 million in cap space, meaning that if they had interest in making this happen, they would certainly be able to make it work.

Flames in a Tough Position

As mentioned throughout this article, it is not by any means a guarantee that Tkachuk is traded. Perhaps even without Gaudreau he is being completely truthful in saying that he loves the city of Calgary and would love to remain in it long term. If there is an unwillingness to sign a lengthy deal, however, the Flames need to begin gauging interest from other teams, and the three listed above should be very high up on their list.

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