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NHL Trade Grade: Who won the Matthew Tkachuk move, Flames or Panthers?

The Florida Panthers acquired Matthew Tkachuk. The Calgary Flames got a huge return. So, who won the trade?

There are certain occurrences in the NHL where a trade between teams leaves fans with their jaws dropped. That is exactly what the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers provided.

Winger Matthew Tkachuk informed the Flames earlier this week that he was not looking to re-sign with the team. That opened up trade discussions, and the Panthers were reportedly one of the teams on his list he would approve a trade to, per The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford and Hailey Salvian.

Sure enough, the Panthers successfully acquired Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round pick from the Flames in exchange for forward Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 2025 first-round draft pick.

One important thing to note is that Tkachuk signed an eight-year contract which pays him $9.5 million per year.

It is a blockbuster trade in every sense of the word. But who won the deal?

Panthers trade grade

Credit to the Panthers for making a huge splash move. They have shown that they are all-in on contending for a Stanley Cup.

At the trade deadline this past season, they brought in former Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux to have on the team for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately for them, they were swept in the second-round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. This offseason, they brought in Paul Maurice to be their head coach.

Now, they have made the move to bring in the 24-year-old Tkachuk who is coming off of a career-year. The winger played in all 82 regular-season games, where he tallied 42 goals and 62 assists (104 points), all of which the most he has recorded in a single season.

Not only that, but they were able to instantly agree to terms on a contract extension that keeps him in Sunrise, Fla. until the summer of 2030.

While on paper being able to get a player like Tkachuk who can tally points and get under the opponent’s skin, they did not exactly win this trade.

Grade: B

Flames trade grade

Just when Flames fans thought the offseason was heading towards disastrous territory, general manager Brad Treliving totally redeemed himself.

This is a team who was unsuccessful in keeping star forward Johnny Gaudreau on a lucrative contract extension, as he desired to be closer to his family. Shortly afterwards, Gaudreau signed a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then, they find out that Tkachuk had no desire to sign a contract extension. Talk about an undesirable situation for the Flames to be in.

But then, they received the offer from the Panthers.

Huberdeau is one of the league’s most consistent scorers, as he has not put up over 60 points in each of the last four seasons. But this past campaign was a great one for Huberdeau, as he scored a single-season best 30 goals and put up a career-high 85 assists. Huberdeau finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting.

Weegar was one of Florida’s top pairing defensemen. A former seventh-round pick by the Panthers in 2013, scoring eight goals, tallying 36 assists and posting a plus/minus rating of 40, all of which were the highest he’s ever recorded in one season.

Getting these two players are the highlights of the deal. They are also getting a center prospect in Schwindt, and a conditional first-rounder in 2025, which also sweetens the deal. This is an A+ trade on paper, but there is one issue — both Huberdeau and Weegar hit free agency after next season. Calgary will have to figure out how to lock in both Huberdeau and Weegar for the foreeseeable future.

Even with the looming contract issues, the Flames win this trade.

Grade: A

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