There’s a significant sense around the league that teams are rushing to get their salary cap situations cleared up before the start of free agency next week. Moves like the Tampa Bay Lightning trading Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators for spare change and the Minnesota Wild moving early on a Kevin Fiala deal are evidence of that.
Now, another team is joining that list of really trying to make headlines in the near future. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports that the Calgary Flames are making “every effort” now not only to re-sign top pending unrestricted free agent forward Johnny Gaudreau but also restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk.
While most of the public talk has centered around Gaudreau’s status, it makes sense that general manager Brad Treliving would want to get these deals done in a short window. Playing on the same line, Gaudreau and Tkachuk helped propel each other to career seasons. The Flames are likely hoping that keeping the two together will keep their level of play from declining after this season.
Finances are also a huge part of this equation too, though. Gaudreau and Tkachuk are surely bound to take up a gigantic chunk of Calgary’s offseason spending limit, likely at least $16MM of it. With a long list of other players to re-sign and/or spots to fill via free agency, Calgary needs a clear picture of how much cash they’ll be able to devote to players like Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington while still fielding a cap-compliant squad.
With Tkachuk’s value through the roof after his 40-goal, 100-point season and Gaudreau likely able to net eight figures on the open market, Treliving faces his toughest challenge yet as GM in Calgary in order to keep this year’s Pacific Division champions at the top of the Western Conference.