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Three former Calgary Flames advance to Stanley Cup Final with Florida Panthers

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
As the Stanley Cup playoffs wear on, teams drop off and before you know it, only a few remain. One of the two teams that will be competing in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final will be the Florida Panthers. It’s potentially a bit awkward for fans of the Calgary Flames, though, given that Florida earned fewer regular season points than Calgary did and features three former Flames players on their roster.
But yes: Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Ryan Lomberg will be facing the Vegas/Dallas winner for the Stanley Cup.
A 2016 first-round selection of the Flames, Tkachuk came to Florida in a memorable, gigantic trade in July 2022. Negotiated after Tkachuk, a year away from unrestricted free agency, informed the Flames that he wasn’t interested in signing a multi-year deal with the club, the swap saw Tkachuk sign an eight-year deal with the Flames, then get traded along with a conditional fourth-round pick to the Panthers in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick. Huberdeau and Weegar subsequently signed long-term extensions with Calgary, while the conditional first-rounder was traded to Montreal in the Sean Monahan salary dump (that allowed the Flames to sign Nazem Kadri).
In his first season in Florida, Tkachuk scored 40 goals, had 109 points, and was voted a Hart Trophy finalist. He’s scored game-winning goals in four of Florida’s 12 playoff victories (three in overtime) through three rounds.
A 2014 first-round selection of the Flames, and the first player ever drafted by then-Flames general manager Brad Treliving, Sam Bennett broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old during the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs – earning the permanent nickname of “18-year-old Sam Bennett.” He never quite found that level of consistency with the club, between constantly changing roles and his boisterous game perhaps being better-suited for the playoff style of play. He was traded to Florida at the 2021 trade deadline (along with a sixth-round pick) in exchange for Emil Heineman and a second-round pick. (Heineman was traded to Montreal in the Tyler Toffoli swap, while the draft pick went to Seattle in exchange for Calle Jarnkrok.)
Since moving to Florida, Bennett has had his two best offensive seasons as a pro, with 40 and 49 points respectively.
Originally a minor-league signing, Lomberg spent two seasons on AHL deals in the Flames system and impressed enough to earn an entry-level deal. He spent three seasons in the Flames system on NHL deals, playing 11 games in the process, but moved onto Florida as a free agent in 2020. He found a really nice niche with the Panthers as a physical, energy player and has been a fixture in their bottom six for the past three seasons.
The 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs begin next week.

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