It was a big shock for Jonathan Huberdeau, when he found out that he had been traded to the Calgary Flames after only knowing one organization through his first ten years in the league. The 29-year-old is heading into his final year under contract and could get his chance to go anywhere he wants, should he decide Calgary isn’t for him. But yesterday, when meeting with the media, Huberdeau explained that he is certainly open to the idea of an extension:
I’m open to staying in Calgary for a long time…I leave it to the GM and my agent, and they already started talking about it. We’ll see what’s going to happen.
He wasn’t the only one to express a willingness to extend. MacKenzie Weegar, the other big piece in the deal that sent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers, is also heading into his final year under contract. He told the media that he is “very open” to signing a long-term deal, and explained his excitement about getting started with his new team.
The worry for many Flames fans when they saw the return was whether these two players would be around more than a few months, given their contract situations. After watching Johnny Gaudreau leave in free agency without getting anything in return, the Flames won’t be able to do the same with Huberdeau and Weegar. If they aren’t going to re-sign, flipping them somewhere else before the end of the season will be critical.
Of course, extensions won’t come cheap. Huberdeau has been one of the top playmakers in the league for years now and is coming off a 115-point season. That’s the same total as Gaudreau, who landed a seven-year, $68.25MM deal on the open market this year. The two are essentially the same age, though Huberdeau will be reaching unrestricted free agency a year later thanks to the six-year, $35.4MM contract he signed in 2016. That has been one of the best bargains in the league for a while now, as he has posted four straight years of better than point-per-game production.
Weegar too, while not quite at the same level as his teammate, will be a sought-after commodity should he hit the open market. The 28-year-old has worked his way up from the seventh round in 2013 to become a true top-pairing defenseman, even if there are a few frustrating moments where his high-risk play backfires. This season, he recorded 44 points in 80 games, logged more than 23 minutes a night, and added 179 hits (and 156 blocks). He can be used in all situations, is right-handed, and won’t turn 29 until January.
The worry now for Calgary, even if they are both willing to sign extensions, will be whether it is actually worth it. The team would be buying out exclusively UFA years for both, likely agreeing to contracts that take them well into their mid-thirties at huge price points. The team has plenty of cap space after the exits of Gaudreau and Tkachuk–more than $36MM projected for 2023-24–but could be locking themselves into a pair of declining assets, depending on what the deals look like.
So it is good to hear that both players are open to extensions but for Calgary fans, it is still an anxious time, not knowing what kind of deals might be on the horizon.
More to come…
With monny and lucic contracts up at end of season they have the money to bring them both back
I think they did well considering the situation – your two best players either walking out or about to walk. Replacing JG with JH is the closest wash they could’ve made at this time, and Weeger for MT, while not close to being a wash, could close the gap if they sign Kadri. Sprinkle in the draft pick and id say kudos to Calgary.
Joe Carters walkoff
Not a Flame fan but even if they dont resign i dont think Brad lets them go past the deadline. Each likely fetches a 1st and top prospect if not much more for Huberdeau. No matter how you look at it, with the 1st and prospect they got already from Florida, it’ll be a big haul for Tkachuk and a win for Calgary no matter how you slice it
Do you like 1st round picks in the +20 range?
Because if you are you might end up with three of them!
What are they going to say? Get me the hell out of here? In all areas of professional sports it all comes down to money.
They can say, as JG, want to test free agency at the end of their contract or as MT, “not interested in signing long term with you”
Well if it’s a money thing, they are screwed. Florida had no income tax. Canada is on par with NY or Cali
No, they are NOT “screwed.” They will pay more in taxes than they would have in Florida. (Granted, some people actually think that taxes are the price a civilized society pays for all those goodies they want to have, like roads, police, firefighters, schools and the like.) But I’m not going to weep for multi-millionaires getting more money for three hours of work a night than you and I will make in a year.
You should really try to educate yourself. Florida does not have an income tax or a GST a la Alberta, but there are other forms of taxes that people pay for all of the “goodies” of which you speak. There are other states beside Florida that does not have an income tax (e.g., Nevada) but they make up for it in other ways. Governments must be funded in some way.
Texas is a great destination…No tax right…
We have roads, police, schools etc in Florida without needing to have a state income tax. Biggest problem here is too many people want to come here to live.
And the other problem is Florida man
They’re being tact and saying the right things but both dudes are gone after next season.
You can’t candy coat this. Small market teams, especially Canadian ones have little appeal. And that’s coming from someone who lives in a large Canadian market where the local team faces challenges too.