In what has so far shaped up to be a nightmarish offseason for the Calgary Flames, there could be another high-profile departure yet to come. Matthew Tkachuk, the team’s remaining superstar winger, is headed for an arbitration battle with the Flames, as we found out yesterday. They may not even reach that point, though. Eric Francis of Sportsnet believes that the Flames and Tkachuk are “parting ways,” and that the club elected to pursue arbitration in order to “buy more time” to find an appropriate exit plan. Francis added on that he thinks the situation “will be wrapped up within the week,” and if he’s right the deal would cement this July as one of the most transformative months in Flames history.
The decision to potentially trade Tkachuk comes thanks to the reality of his contract situation. Tkachuk is in a position to hit unrestricted free agency next summer and looks poised to do so. The Flames have had every opportunity to extend Tkachuk on a long-term extension, and yet have failed to secure his signature on a deal to this point, indicating that Tkachuk’s heart may not be in Calgary long-term, just like Gaudreau. As a result, the Flames might be motivated to move Tkachuk now in order to avoid a situation where the team allows 100-point wingers to leave in free agency in two consecutive offseasons. The Flames asking price, should they be open to a Tkachuk trade, is likely to be sky-high, although the lack of cap space league-wide could limit them in their chase to get the largest return package possible.
Now, for some other notes from across the league:
- Conor Geekie scared quite a few Arizona Coyotes fans early in the team’s development camp when he went down with what looked to be a pretty grisly lower-body injury. Thankfully, though, the injury was not serious, and Geekie confirmed as much today to PHNX’s Craig Morgan. Per Morgan, Geekie “did not elaborate” on the nature of his injury or any timeline for a return to the ice, but he did note that he was still doing cardio and working out his upper body. With his entry-level deal already signed, Geekie has the chance to make the Coyotes’ opening-night roster, so he’ll want to ensure that this upper-body injury is fully recovered by this fall so he can hit the ground running at training camp.
- There has been some nervousness from people across the NHL regarding Russian players and whether they’ll be able to easily return to North America from offseasons spent in Russia for training camps this fall. For the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, they won’t need to worry much longer about two of their players. CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal has learned from agent Dan Milstein that the Canucks’ big offseason signing, Ilya Mikheyev, has arrived in North America in order to begin his preparations for the upcoming season. The New York Post’s Mollie Walker has also learned from Milstein that winger Vitali Kravtsov has arrived in New York City in advance of training camp.