Flames and Panthers identity changes with blockbuster trade

In the biggest offseason trade in the National Hockey League so far, the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers had a blockbuster deal. The Flames traded left winger Matthew Tkachuk to the Panthers with a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2025 for Jonathan Huberdeau, Cole Schwindt, Mackenzie Weegar and a conditional first round draft pick in 2025.

Matthew Tkachuk

The native of Scottsdale, Arizona played in 82 games for the Flames in 2021-22, and had a record-breaking year. He had 42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points. Tkachuk was also an amazing +57 with 29 power-play points, six game-winning goals, 253 shots on goal, 20 faceoff wins, 20 blocked shots, 93 hits, 41 takeaways and 91 giveaways. He was also selected to the NHL second all-star team at left wing. One surprise statistic is that Tkachuk was a +57 (third best plus/minus in the NHL), yet he had 50 more giveaways than takeaways.

In his six-year NHL career, Tkachuk has 152 goals and 230 assists for 382 points. He is a +85 with 425 penalty minutes, 117 power-play points, 16 game-winning goals, 1129 shots on goal, 44 faceoff wins, 102 blocked shots, 596 hits, 216 takeaways and 355 giveaways.

Jonathan Huberdeau

The native of Saint-Jerome, Quebec had 30 goals and a NHL high 85 assists for 115 points in 80 games in 2021-22. He was a +35 with 54 penalty minutes, 38 power-play points, five shothanded points, seven game-winning goals, 222 shots on goals, 18 faceoff wins, 28 blocked shots, 99 hits, 63 takeaways, and 85 giveaways. The last two seasons, Huberdeau has been named to the NHL Second All-Star Team.

In his career, Huberdeau, a left winger, won the Calder Trophy in 2012-13 for the NHL rookie of the year. In his first NHL season, he had 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 48 games. Huberdeau was also a +41 with 341 penalty minutes, 190 power play points, six shorthanded points, 26 game-winning goals, 1575 shots on goal, 121 faceoff wins, 261 blocked shots, 544 hits, 369 takeaways and 512 giveaways.

Mackenzie Weegar

The native of Ottawa, Ontario had eight goals and 36 assists for 44 points in 80 games in 2021-22. He was a +40 with 81 penalty minutes, three power-play points, two shorthanded points, two game-winning goals, 203 shots on goal, 156 blocked shots, 179 hits, 74 takeaways, and 85 giveaways.

For his career, Weegar, a defenseman, has 27 goals and 94 assists for 121 points. He is a +77 with 259 penalty minutes, seven power-play points, four shorthanded points, six game-winning goals, 521 shots on goal, one faceoff win, 483 blocked shots, 612 hits, 203 takeaways, and 287 giveaways.

Cole Schwindt

In his rookie season, Schwindt, a native of Kitchener, Ontario, played three games and was a -4. He had three shots on goal, 15 faceoff wins, two blocked shots, five hits, one takeaway, and two giveaways. Schwindt, a right winger, was the Panthers’ third round draft pick, 81st overall, in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He played his junior hockey with the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League.

Takeaway from the Blockbuster

The immediate takeaway from the deal was the remarkable plus/minus that Tkachuk, Huberdeau and Weegar had this past season. The trio were an amazing +132. That is just downright stunning.

The Flames were looking to trade Tkachuk as they could not come to terms with him on a long-term deal, and did not want to risk losing him like they did Johnny Gaudreau. As a result, Tkachuk signed an eight-year contract extension worth $76 million with Florida.

The Panthers get one of the more intimidating players in the NHL in Tkachuk. There is no doubt he plays with an edge to his game and will make Florida tougher to play against. Huberdeau meanwhile has remarkable skill, and provides the Flames a bigger presence than their days of Johnny Hockey. Weegar is an underrated defenseman and joins a Flames franchise that has great defensive skill.