Flames-related news recently has been quiet. Perhaps a little too quiet. Ominously quiet.
On Friday’s edition of the Pinder and Steinberg show, Pat welcomed in Eric Francis via telephone to address the quiet, mostly on the TJ Brodie trade front and the Matthew Tkachuk contract negotiations. As the title has already told you, there’s two major pieces of news dropped, and a whole lot of other important discussions going on.
You can listen to the 22-minute clip here, but here are some of the key points, player by player:
TJ Brodie: Francis reports that they’re still shopping him, but there’s not much interest right now, citing a person inside the organization that says it’s been “tough” (around seven minutes in). The major issue is that interested teams have already made moves, making it difficult to add Brodie. He suggests that they may need to pair him with “a guy like” Mark Jankowski in order to clear Brodie’s salary. That’s not entirely news, given that those two were Toronto-bound in the cancelled Nazem Kadri deal, but I think that the implication is that the trade return for those two won’t be as good as Kadri.
Michael Frolik: Eleven minutes in, the two briefly touch on Michael Frolik’s trade value. Again, there’s not really anything shocking: Frolik is hard to trade because of his age, his cap hit, and his relative impact on a roster. Francis suggests that teams aren’t willing to give up assets to take Frolik, but also that the Flames aren’t necessarily interested in acquiring any either – they just want to clear his salary. He again suggests that another piece may need to move to make that deal, but doesn’t offer a specific name.
Mark Jankowski: The centre’s name is bandied about a bit, both as part of a package and as a solo deal to clear up a bit of space. Francis says that there’s hesitancy in moving him from Calgary’s perspective a few times (especially at 13 minutes in), but that it might be a necessary sacrifice. He also brings up Sam Bennett (who is apparently still practising faceoffs) and Dillon Dube as potential replacements at centre.
Austin Czarnik: He is also mentioned in trade talk, and Francis says that it is a “possibility” (about 12:30 in), but that it only clears $1.25M in space.
Travis Hamonic: Around 15 minutes in, both talk about the rumours earlier this season that Hamonic was also on the trade block, dismissing it as other GMs being interested in trading for him rather than the Flames being interested in moving him. They bring up the possibility of him being moved at trade deadline if they feel they can’t come to terms with him, but Steinberg also says that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Hamonic re-signs for two or three years.
Matthew Tkachuk: The final section of the show (about 16:30 onwards) is dedicated to the Flames’ biggest offseason task. Francis brings up what he feels are the three options for a Tkachuk contract: two years, five years, or seven years. He also believes that the longer the wait goes on, the more likely it is that Tkachuk signs a two-year deal and everyone goes through this all again in 2021. Francis also throws in that he doesn’t believe that Tkachuk is signed to start the season, though he does see him as a Calgary Flame.
After that, Steinberg really drops the hammer, not only agreeing with Francis’ assessment that Tkachuk misses part of the season, but revealing that Tkachuk and the club aren’t even talking (18 minutes). There’s no specific holdup mentioned (it might just be a staring contest, as Steinberg says that silence is what the agent wants. They don’t want to be the first RFA domino to fall), but term is likely the issue. In his conversations with various agents, Francis believes that most RFAs in this offseason are set on big money deals that take them right to UFA, and then cashing in on the market. Tkachuk’s side is pushing for that, while the Flames are pushing for more.