The Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames headlined the NHL offseason with a trade that involved Matthew Tkachuk, Jonathan Huberdaeu, and MacKenzie Weegar. The Calgary Flames received Jonathan Huberdaeu, MacKenzie Weegar, and prospect Cole Schwindt from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional first round pick in 2025.
Tkachuk was brought in as a sign and trade, and landed an eight-year, $76 million contract. The mega sign-and-trade deal is seen as the first of its kind in league history.
Tkachuck has lived up to his massive contract in South Florida, with 73 total points through 52 games played, Tkachuk has solidified himself amongst the league’s most elite players. Last year in Calgary Tkachuk amassed 104 points over a full season of 82 games played.
For Tkachuk to come to a new team and succeed the way that he has individually is something that should certainly encourage the Panthers for the next seven years of Tkachuk’s contract.
With a record of 26-23-6 (Wins, Losses, Overtime Losses), the Panthers have struggled as a team this year. Hovering around the “NHL .500” line is certainly not what General Manager Bill Zito had in mind.
As it stands, the Panthers are still looking in on the playoff picture from the outside. The team has undoubtedly taken a step back from its dominant form that saw them take home the President’s Trophy and earn a playoff series victory for the first time since 1996.
Jonathan Huberdeau & MacKenzie Weegar
Upon landing in Calgary, Jonathan Huberdaeu was inked to an eight-year $84 million extension. The deal begins in the 2023–2024 season, with Huberdaeu averaging $10.5 million a year. MacKenzie Weegar has also since been signed to an eight-year contract, $50 million extension by the Flames.
Since arriving, Huberdaeu has amassed 35 points in 50 games played. Huberdaeu’s production has taken a massive hit, as he put up 115 points playing in 80 games last year in Florida. MacKenzie Weegar has also struggled in his new home in Calgary, amassing only 15 points through 52 games.
Calgary has also struggled to gain their footing this year, amassing a record of 25-18-10. While the team has struggled, Moneypuck.com gives the Flames an 89% chance to make the playoffs (as of 2/13/23.) The battle for the western conference wild card playoff spots remains tight but less talented teams like the St. Louis Blues, who just traded away Vladimir Tarasenko, one of their elite goal scorers, to the New York Rangers, and the Nashville Predators, who, without the all-time play of their goalie Juuse Saros, wouldn’t have more than a handful of wins.
The Panthers should feel better than the Flames about the trade as the results stand today. Even though the Panthers are less likely to gain a playoff berth, the team has shown significant improvement behind coach Paul Maurice recently and such momentum should continue into next season. The Flames, however, while in the short term might be satisfied with a playoff berth, are saddled with an expensive and aging Jonathan Huberdaeu through his age 38 season, while the Panthers have Matthew Tkachuk signed through his age 32 season.