May 15, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Dallas Stars in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers agreed to a huge trade on Friday night that saw the teams swap superstars. The Flames dealt young star Matthew Tkachuk to Florida in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick.

Tkachuk, a 24-year-old well-rounded winger, did not want to sign long-term in Calgary after his Flames co-star Johnny Gaudreau left for the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency. Calgary traded Tkachuk at the peak of his value. As part of what appears to be the first sign-and-trade in NHL history, the Panthers signed Tkachuk to an eight-year contract worth more than $70 million.

Florida gave up a lot for the long-term rights to Tkachuk. Huberdeau finished third in Hart Trophy voting last season and Weegar is an elite puck-moving defenseman. They are both very valuable players, and this past season was the only one up to this point that saw Tkachuk produce elite point totals, which partially stemmed from playing alongside Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm.

Hubderdeau and Weegar will both be unrestricted free agents in 2023, and paying both might have been difficult or unfeasible for Florida. They’ve chosen to instead grab a younger star for the foreseeable future, adding him to a core that includes Aleksandar Barkov and Aaron Ekblad. They will be top contenders in 2022-23.

The trade news has gotten the hockey world talking as it’s not every day a player of Tkachuk’s quality is traded.

Ultimately, the Panthers get the best player in the deal when considering long-term potential. But the Flames have managed to remain well positioned for this season, and will have a chance to retain Huberdeau and Weegar after the season (or trade one or both for a big return). It’s a good deal for both teams, with Calgary appearing to have come out on top with all of the value that they’ve acquired.


About Harrison Hamm

Sports stuff for The Comeback. Often will write about MLS. Follow me on twitter @harrisonhamm21.