The Florida Panthers made a massive move late Friday night, trading for Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. Calgary acquired forward Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a lottery protected 2025 first-round pick in the deal, and it also sent a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick the Panthers' way.
Along with the trade, Florida announced it signed Tkachuk to an eight-year contract set to run through the 2029-30 season. According to Elliotte Friedman, the deal has an average annual value of $9.5 million.
"Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset," Panthers general manager Bill Zito said in a statement. "He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup."
Tkachuk is coming off a career year in Calgary, as he played all 82 games and ranked eighth among NHL skaters with 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) and was ninth in goals. The 24-year old's strong regular-season effort led to the NHL naming him a second team All-Star.
To make the deal happen, Florida lost a franchise great in Huberdeau, its career leader in games, assists and points. Huberdeau, 29, scored 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists) this past season, suggesting he still has a plenty left in the tank despite his advancing age.
"On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida," Zito said. "They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise and we wish them both continued success in their future."
After reaching the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2021-22, the Flames will enter next season without the two players who largely carried them there. With Tkachuk heading to Florida, Calgary's two leading scorers from last year are now both gone, as Johnny Gaudreau (whose 115 points were a team high) with the Columbus Blue Jackets last week.
For Florida, this may be the reset the team needs, as it won the President's Trophy last season only to be swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs.