After the conclusion of the Calgary Flames’ season on Thursday, the team took some time to digest and spoke to the media today in their end-of-season media availability, touching primarily on injury news, some known and some not, as well as topics for this offseason. One of those offseason topics comes with the status of superstar forward Matthew Tkachuk, who is a RFA after finishing a three-year, $21MM contract this season. Tkachuk impressed over the life of the contract, capping it off with an incredible 42 goals and 62 assists in 82 games this season. Keeping the forward in the fold long-term is absolutely a priority for the Flames, however they also have to focus on re-signing superstar Johnny Gaudreau, who is a pending UFA, and give fairly significant raises to forward Andrew Mangiapane and defenseman Oliver Kylington.
Calgary did seem to clear one hurdle today, as Tkachuk himself told the media, when asked about an extension, that he would love to sign a long-term deal with the Flames, expressing his love for the team, the city, and the fanbase. Tkachuk’s sentiment is no small feat for the Flames considering the league has seen a number of superstar players depart their teams in free agency in recent years. Though a RFA, Tkachuk could opt for a shorter-term bridge deal and hit the unrestricted free agent market sooner than later, which would put Calgary in a tough spot, with forwards Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, and Elias Lindholm, as well as defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev all set to become UFAs after the 2023-24 season. All of that before considering what an extension with Gaudreau would include. Keeping Tkachuk long-term won’t ease the burden of his cap hit, but will provide Calgary with the security of knowing a superstar is staying put for a certain salary while they navigate that predictably difficult 2024 offseason and the future of the franchise.
- Sportsnet’s Eric Francis provided injury updates on several Flames players, including Tkachuck, Mangiapane, Tanev, Milan Lucic, and Nikita Zadorov. Lucic, who had struggled to just one assist in 12 playoff games has an AC sprain. Tkachuck had an injured hand and Mangipane a bad wrist. Perhaps most notably, Zadorov, who had done an excellent job shutting down both Edmonton and the Dallas Stars, did so in some part with two broken ribs. Despite the number of injuries for Calgary, it appears that Tanev, who has a torn labrum, separated shoulder, and sprained neck, will be the only one having surgery (link).
- More from the injury front, as The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian also provided an update on forward Sean Monahan, who had hip surgery in the first week of April. Flames GM Brad Treliving told Salvian that Monahan’s recovery was about 5-6 weeks ahead of schedule as compared to where he was with his hip surgery last offseason, and the forward should resume skating in the coming weeks. With opening night over four months away, we will have to wait a while to see Monahan back in the Calgary lineup at full strength. However, the update on Monahan, who has struggled more and more over the past three seasons while dealing with injury, is absolutely encouraging, and getting him back to the form that saw him hit a career-high 82 points in 2018-19 could work as a “free” addition for the Flames, who are currently at-risk of losing Gaudreau in free agency this offseason.