How the Sebastian Aho offer sheet impacts Matthew Tkachuk’s new deal

On July 1, restricted free agent Sebastian Aho signed an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens. On Sunday, the Carolina Hurricanes matched the offer sheet and Aho is now locked in on a five year deal worth $8.454 million per season.

Now that the drama surrounding the signing has subsided the big question for other teams with RFAs to sign – like Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk – is how the Aho signing will set the market for young forwards.

A brief comparison

Aho, 21, is a left shot forward from Rauma, Finland. He played primarily center in 2018-19, but spent much of the prior two seasons on the wing. He has 83 goals and 197 points over 242 games, with seasons of 24, 29 and 30 goals.

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Tkachuk, 21, is a left shot forward from St. Louis, Missouri. He’s played exclusively on the wing over his three seasons. He has 71 goals and 174 points over 224 games, with seasons of 13, 24 and 34 goals.

A deeper dive

Over three seasons, Aho has played 3,433 minutes of five-on-five hockey – approximately 14.2 minutes per game. His Corsi For percentage is 54.99 (18th among all forwards with more than 1,000 minutes played) and 60.54% of his shifts begin in the offensive zone. His PDO is 1.006.

Aho has played primarily with Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and a mixture of Jaccob Slavin, Justin Faulk and Brett Pesce. His five most frequent forward opponents are Sean Couturier, Anders Lee, Mats Zuccarello, Sidney Crosby and Josh Bailey, while his three most frequent defensive opponents are Ivan Provorov, Aaron Ekblad and Zach Werenski.

Tkachuk has played 2,945 minutes of five-on-five hockey – roughly 13.1 minutes per game. His Corsi For percentage is 56.76 (3rd among all forwards with more than 1,000 minutes played) and 48.97% of his shifts begin in the offensive zone. His PDO is 0.991.

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Tkachuk has played primarily with Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie. His five most frequent forward opponents are Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Joe Pavelski, while his three most frequent defensive opponents are Brent Burns, Cam Fowler and Brenden Dillon.

Aho has played more at even strength and has buried his chances more frequently – his on-ice shooting percentage is a full percentage point higher than Tkachuk’s. Tkachuk’s deployments have been rougher in terms of starting considerably more shifts in the defensive zone, but the quality of competition he’s faced is roughly similar to Aho’s and Tkachuk has had the benefit of playing with perpetual Selke contender Backlund and reigning Norris winner Giordano during his young career. Aho’s had a bit less to work with.

Setting the market

Centers tend to get paid more than wingers (due to their increased defensive responsibilities) and goal-scorers tend to get paid more than non-scorers. On a five year deal, Aho’s $8.454 million AAV would be downgraded a little bit because Tkachuk is exclusively a winger and then downgraded slightly more due to Aho having more showy offensive stats than Tkachuk.

A case can be made that Tkachuk is a better two-way player than Aho and has shown better possession stats with tougher deployments, which would bump up his value. But a case can also be made that Tkachuk has more help from effective two-way players on his team than Aho does.

If nothing else, Aho’s new deal sets a ceiling on what can reasonably be paid to Tkachuk over a five year period in the current marketplace. It would be extremely difficult to justify a deal that has Tkachuk’s cap hit north of $8.454 million. If nothing else, a five year deal would land somewhere around $8 million.

  • Off the wall

    Tkachuk started his career at the young age of 19. His UFA starts after 7 years of hockey played, or 26 years old in his case, assuming my math is correct.

    He’s 21, DOB, is in December, when he’ll turn 22.
    I think the important thing is term. Do we sign him for 6-8 years, eating some valuable UFA years, or does Treliving try a shorter term, and keep the Cap hit a bit lower?

    I honestly don’t know what Tkachuk is gonna get. One thing I’m happy about, is that Conroy indicated he has no intention of signing an offer sheet. That means he wants to play in Calgary and by the sounds of it, negotiations are going well.

    • Zorn

      I know that traditionally players look forward to their UFA status and historically bigger pay cheques, but the league is changing. I think that the young guns are now the ones that will be paid. Too many of these older players are unable to live up to expectations and teams are becoming less likely to give huge money on long term contracts. Remember that GMs are still learning how to manage the salary cap and do not want to be left holding the bag with albatross signings. Owners will get fed up with paying huge money for buyouts.

        • Zorn

          Some may still sign for less money short term but only if they don’t see themselves as yet a part of the team’s core. Those like our “Bing”
          are going to want their money ‘now’ and I don’t think it matters too much whether it is long or short term.

          • Kevin R

            I think this younger generation, very much like my kids are I want it all & I want it now mentality. I think Tre could get a long term with the cap lowered, he just needs to get Chucky a real good chunk of that value of the contract to him in the first 2-3 years through bonuses. So again, if we can get Chucky to sign for 7 years at a 7.0 mill AV but Chucky gets 40% of that in the first two years, even old man Chucky will pat his boy on the back.

        • oilcanboyd

          If his long term contract includes years after he would have been eligible for free agency the more for long term. Plus players coming in after this season will have the benefit of a higher cap and will demand even more…

  • Just a Fan

    I think you are missing one very important point. The term of Aho cntract is 5 years. He is a free agent when it expires. How much more is the cost if Calgary wants Tkachuk for 6-8 years?

    I think the Aho contract sets the ceiling for a bridge contract and the floor for a long term deal.

  • Willi P

    If not for the i di ot in Toronto paying UFA money to Matthews on a 5 year deal, the Aho and future Tkachuk deals would have been discounted for the RFA years. Dubas panicked after the MElander “negotiation” and gave Auston what ever he wanted (5 year UFA money), eliminating the RFA discount.

  • freethe flames

    It would not surprise me at all if Tkachuk’s contract was 5 years at @7.6m keeping roughly the same cap % as Johnny’s was at the time. It will likely be front loaded like Aho’s.

    • Uranus

      Yes, I agree that a hybrid bridge deal that finds the middle ground makes sense for both parties. It will be also front loaded to take the sting out of a potential lockout.

  • drogon

    I like Tkachuk, but he’s not elite, not at the same level of Marner and Aho. He should not get more than $7.5M and he’s lucky that his number will be inflated because of this crazy RFA market. Today”s NHL is all about skills & speed and he’s only 50% of the package.

  • Thirty years ago Keith held the Jets hostage and he was gone a year later… Matthew will be doing the same. Short two/three year deal at or below Gio to take a run at it while the window is open and then it’s off to America baby. They, and a couple other families, are USA hockey.

    • Albertabeef

      Actually that wasn’t even 20 years ago yet. Keith also had back to back 50 goal seasons as well to negotiate with. Keith was also traded after playing games in 10 seasons for the Jets/PHX franchise in 2000-01. Matty has only been here 3 seasons so far. Comparing the two to me is pointless.

      • Kevin R

        I agree! I feel Gaudreau thinks he got ground down & low balled on his negotiation & juast didnt want to miss any of the season so he succumbed to Tre. I would be seriously in the court of trading him next summer to max out value. I see him doing a Tavares to us.

        • drogon

          I agree. Something’s wrong with Gaudreau… like the comments he made following the quick playoff exit, it sounds like indifference or a lack of accountability. It’s troubling. Not sure how the owners or management reacted when they’ve read this.
          He’s definitely not a playoff performer because of the intense physicality. And BT knows that he will not extend his current contract, I’m sure he has a plan in place…

        • fretsey

          He’s do a $3.5 Million dollar signing bonus next year and the year after he has a modified NTC: Starting 2021-22, Player submits a 5 team trade list. That list screams East Coast…talk about projecting where you actually want to play rather than in Calagery. Philly would want him bad,they’re attendance is down and JG fills the seats. Trade him at the draft next year (we’d have to pay the SB)

  • dewtel

    Great informative article, Ryan. Thanks.

    Discussion has as usual digressed to the same level from the same tired posters.

    1) The flames do everything wrong.
    2) Poster tells us immediately its will not work out, management sucks.
    3) Then when any players under performs, they tell everyone they were right, and are smarter than everyone else.

    Sorry, this flawed narrative contributes nothing to this or any other discussion. But keep on feeling good about yourself (for whatever reason you feel the need to post on FLAMESnation).

    • Derzie

      This is true BUT see if this sounds familiar

      1) Flames are doing things the right way
      2) Poster tells us immediately it’s a smart move & in Tre we trust
      3) Then when any players performs, they tell everyone they were wrong to worry, and the downers need to lighten up.

      Sorry, this flawed narrative contributes nothing to this or any other discussion. But keep on feeling good about yourself (for whatever reason you feel the need to post on flamesNATION).

      • freethe flames

        !. Things sometimes go well sometimes go poorly. When nothing is happening people dwell on what the nothing means.
        2. Every poster thinks they are smarter than every other poster(hence I wrote this silly response)
        3. When my favorite player(s) performs I gloat, when the guy I hate performs I disappear.

        Ahh the wonders of being a fan.

    • buts

      Dewy, we are fans and our team has done what this summer? This is a blog and if some of us want to criticize especially if we dump a lot of money then so be it. Don’t criticize our passion.

      • Albertabeef

        And I just realized Gio had his best ever playoff performance of his Flames franchise career(Lowell Lock Monsters were mostly Hurricane prospects). He had more playoff games played and more points than any season before in any kind of Flames silks. At this rate of progression he may lead us to a cup in another 10-15 years lol. Other than that year with Lowell and the other one in Moscow those are the only times Gio has seen a second round of playoff hockey. He never even played more than 7 playoff games in a single season in junior.

    • Luter 1

      Seriously though, you can’t give Tre top rankings with the Stone, Brouwer, Neal deals. I’ve never been a GM but watched 50 years of hockey and immediately thought Stone was a huge overpay (also previous non-Tre signings: Engelland, Sarich) along with both Brouwer and Neal all in an effort to bring some supposed talented toughness to this team. All were big misses for Tre and now he lost Hathaway so he is still searching for functional toughness. I believe he knows he needs some but can’t seem to find the right fit.

        • Albertabeef

          Mostly I think the evidence shows otherwise as more losses than wins. Tre has been hard nosed with the RFA’s and the only good trade was for Lindholm. Everything else has been blah or worse. I give any draft success to the scouts not the GM, although GM should veto any bad picks like MacDonald instead of Demko(or any forward or D) for a goalie pick. How many Flames fans lost their minds that day? I remember freaking out in front of Starbucks that day lol.

  • With Respect

    You can bet his camp will be asking for 8.5 minimum and more if it includes UFA years or this deal would be done already. Tre’s biggest challenge so far. The kid will not take any kind of hometown discount those days are over.

    • Ranchman

      I agree. It would appear that Tre has not been very successful in convincing the kid’s camp in taking less than market (because you can’t make more than a Norris Trophy winner and the leading scorer…). My guess is he’s talking to Marner for intel and waiting out the Flames to increase his leverage. If I had to bet, I’d say he’ll push management to the wall and sign after the start of camp at something north of $8.5 times 4.

  • buts

    He’s smart, can score, can play in the dirty areas. He’s a terrible skater that will rarely score on a line rush. Love him but he’s worth no more than 7 to 7.5

        • Bobby Bitman

          Not many. Stating that he is not a good skater does not mean he is not a good hockey player. It means he has a very important area to work on. If he cannot get quicker and faster, he will not be able to keep up, as he has shown in some instances. How much is he worth as a below average skater ?

          Maybe more importantly, say he signs for 8 or more. Demanding fans will be looking for results commensurate with that salary. Will he be able to deliver (including playoffs where slower players are exposed even more)? Those heavy boots better get faster if he wants big coin.

      • Budgie

        Tkachuk was a 2 point a game player in the OHL and Scouts said his skating was average but he was very effective-he came into the NHL quickly-2016 he was an OHL player-he transitioned quickly

  • Trevy

    I guarantee you with Tre losing out on Ferland and the fact that he’s going to a rival, he’s going to go after someone like Maroon or McGinn for a little more toughness. Who could blame him though, we have just Benny and Hamonic and both are hardly ones that should be defending our stars. Again I say try and trade for Reaves

  • freethe flames

    I suspect that BT is trying to keep the number down to the internal cap of $6.75 x 3 years and his basic argument would go like this; in 3 years both Gio and Johnny’s numbers come off the the books and you will set the new team internal cap. That and with the likely cap increase between no and then will be near the top of the league. By you taking a little less now we have a better chance of adding another top 6 forward to play with you and thereby increasing your next contract.

  • Rockmorton65

    I think Tre gets creative with the structure of the contract.

    For the first three years, Tkachuk gets 6.75. Keeps him in line with the internal cap structure for the length of Gio’s deal. For five years after that, it jumps to 8.

    (6.75 x 3) + (8 x 5) = 60.25 mil

    60.25 mil/8 years = 7.53 AAV

    That should eliminate any potential problems in the dressing room while paying Chucky what he’s worth.

    • freethe flames

      The aav will say $7.53 but Tre will be able to look Gio in the eyes and say”see you are still the highest paid Flame (for the next 3 years) and still be able to go to Johnny and basically say the same thing. Again it will be highly front loaded with bonuses.

  • freethe flames

    The missing element in this article is the Meier contract; $6m. Tkachuk needs to be between these two numbers as he is between these two players. That would put it at $7.2m but he closer to AHO so I still think it will be @the $7.6m number.

  • Off the wall

    I’m bored, Mrs Otw is watching Bachelorette again, so it’s story time folks. Just scroll if ya don’t wanna read it. It’s not like I’ll know.

    So, this Monday I worked for a woman who has a horse farm.
    I’ve been working there for years, but now it’s a regular thing, looking after her Landscape.

    Last year, she got this dog, his name is Brodie ( I’m not kidding)
    Well him and I have developed quite the friendship. He’s a terrier mix, stout and strong. When I’m cutting down trees, he helps me drag the branches onto a tarp. He’s only 25 -30 lbs, but gawd is that dog one strong sob. I’ve watched him carry a limb 3 inches in diameter and 10 feet long.

    When I take a rest, he comes with me to my truck and lies down, right beside it. I just love the lil’ bugger.

    Well this Monday, I was distracted. I had about 5 things on the go at the same time and didn’t have much time for him.
    I was getting into my truck to move it to another location and Brodie was incessantly barking at me. I had no idea what the hell he wanted and quite frankly I was too busy to get outta the truck to see. I started the truck and moved forward. I heard a big “ clunk” come from underneath the truck, as if my truck hit a speed bump. I got out to check and much to my dismay, I had run over my week old (expensive) hedge trimmer. It now looked like a banana. Perfect, now I’ll only be able to trim corners..

    I was so pissed off with myself. How could I be so stupid! As I kneeled beside the mangled equipment, Brodie came over and put his paw on me.

    “ You’re right pal, I should have got out to check on why you were barking” He cocked his head at an angle, as if to tell me,
    “ Don’t be looking at mez, I waz barking!”

    Again, he put his paws on me. It helped. He knows my habits already. He watches out for me, even following me outside the perimeter of the farm (even though he’s not allowed) to keep his eye on me. He’s such a good boy!

    What’s this got to do with hockey? Other than the dogs name, not much, although it’s fun calling him.
    I do believe dog is man’s best friend. I think hockey players should all have dogs. They have an uncanny ability to calm you when you’re upset and the affection they provide is sometimes better than having a wife, cuz they want nothing in return. Please don’t tell Mrs Otw that, I’ll be sleeping with them if ya do!

    It’s amazing how Brodie tried to warn me. I keep learning things about him every time I get to see him. He’s my protector when I’m there, and come to think of it, it’s exactly what our team needs.
    Not brute protection, but being able to feel safe while they’re playing the game we love to watch.

    I know Ferland is with the Canucks, however wouldn’t it be nice to have some protection for our stars?

    Perhaps, I can teach Brodie (the dog) to skate, cuz I’m sure he would protect our players. If he can carry a branch 2x heavier than him, I think we should sign him!

  • Ramskull

    I have a feeling this is going to be a long negotiation. Tre has been insistent on maintaining the internal cap structure. My guess is that it’s a bridge deal around the same cap hit as Gio or just a little more.

  • calgaryfan

    It seems the agents and the young players are not going to sign past their UFA date anymore, and why would they? A 26 or 27 year old at UFA could create quite a bidding war.

  • Clayton

    I think this one is easy to predict. It will be an annual cap hit of $7.75M per season. That will make him the highest paid Flame, but will keep is salary in line with Gio’s internal cap in terms of %age of the salary cap. When Gio signed his deal he took up 9.5% of the cap at the time. 9.5% of the current $81.5M cap is about $7.75M per. Tre will work this number as hard as he can to get closer and closer to the $7M figure he can, but it will settle in that $7.5-7.75 range.

  • Loud_voices

    I think this is definitely a reasonable assessment.
    The flames will push to get him low. I thought Guadreau would easily get 8 at a discount when he signed and some how they were able to get him at 6.75. that blew my mind. I think they will aim to be the same as that but with inflation and market they might settle between 7-8. The only way he gets more than that is if someone produces and offer sheet and the flames match because I don’t think Chucky could hold out a whole year without signing. He wouldn’t want to and I think that would hurt his value if anything.

  • Herringchoker1971

    This was a great article. Everyone kept it pretty realistic and played in the same sand box. I agree that Tre will do his due diligence and try and keep the cap hit percentages the same as Johnny at least until the year Johnny’s current contract ends. I think he has to. The issue with that, is it will be a game of chicken with Chucky’s agents until mid summer. I just hope that Tre can free some cap so we can inject a little toughness into the lineup. I wouldn’t be shocked if Brodie doesn’t get traded. I’m sure Tre doesn’t really want to give him away as a complete cap dump. Same as Frolik. If we don’t trade them though we risk losing them for nothing. He’s in a tough spot.

    • freethe flames

      In order to meet the cap it is almost essential for one of FRolik or Brodie(Hamonic) to be moved. Both are still NHL players and if kept would help this team make the playoffs again. Of the two I think Frolik is the most easily replaced from within.(yes I know that Andersson is close if not ready to step up) but after that happens there is no proven depth on D. I like FRolik but as a 3rd liner not a second liner. As a 3rd liner it appears that Dube and Mangiapane are close to being able to play regular minutes there.

  • Off the wall

    I just had a gander at Canucks Army. It seems like the Ferland signing has them bickering.
    Sounds familiar…

    Some are extremely happy, others are questioning why the heck Boeser wasn’t locked up first. They have $5M in Cap space and Boeser and Goldobin to sign as RFA’s.

    I’m happy for Ferland personally.
    He gets 4 years, and trade protection for the first two.

    Watch, the Canucks will probably make the playoffs this season.

    It seems like they have a surplus of forwards. I’m not sure what they’re going to do about that?