What will Matthew Tkachuk’s next contract look like?
Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike2 years ago
On July 13, Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk will become a restricted free agent. He’s one of four big pieces of impending off-season business for general manager Brad Treliving.
What kind of deal should we expect to see for Tkachuk?
Tkachuk, so far
Tkachuk is 23 years old. He’s currently in his sixth pro season, all of which have been in the NHL.
Here’s his progression:
- 2016-17: 76 NHL games (48 points)
- 2017-18: 68 NHL games (49 points)
- 2018-19: 80 NHL games (77 points)
- 2019-20: 69 NHL games (61 points)
- 2020-21: 56 NHL games (43 points)
- 2021-22: 21 NHL games (19 points), so far
Tkachuk has been a consistent top six forward basically since he found himself in the NHL as a teenager. He’s a skilled offensive player, an underrated two-way player, an elite agitator, and a very valuable and useful hockey player. all-around.
Recent contracts for somewhat similar forwards
Tkachuk turns 24 in December and because he’s already played six NHL seasons, a one-year deal walks him to free agency and anything past that would buy free agency year. If he merely accepts his one year, $9 million qualifying offer, that would walk him to free agency.
Let’s assume Tkachuk’s offensive production dips 20% over the remaining 61 games. If that holds, he’ll have 340 points in 431 games when the season ends, for a career average of 0.790 points per game.
Here’s a rundown of some somewhat similar players who’ve signed recently.
|Mathew Barzal||234||207||0.885||3 years x $7 million|
|Sam Reinhart||453||295||0.651||3 years x $6.5 million|
|Brayden Point||351||310||0.883||8 years x $9.5 million|
Tkachuk is kind of a unicorn. His production is pretty good, but the stuff he does that doesn’t hit the scoresheet – penalties drawn, his physicality, his leadership – will probably drive up his cap hit a bit.
If anything, Point might be the best comparable over a long term deal because of all the things he does for Tampa.
Alright, let’s be honest here: it’s going to be tough to hash out a deal with Tkachuk’s camp that doesn’t have a cap hit of $9 million or thereabouts. That’s his qualifying offer. All he has to do is say “Sure” and he makes that for 2022-23. So let’s assume that Year 1 of whatever deal he signs starts there.
So you’re probably looking at something in the neighbourhood of $8.75 to $9.25 million over six, seven or eight seasons. (He’ll be 33 when an eight year deal ends, so it’s not like it would be capturing a lot of years of diminishing production.) The year-to-year breakdown would be pretty variable, though: probably nudging up towards $10 million for a couple seasons (which, again, is an incentive to try to do a longer-term deal to get into his 30s and bring the average cap hit down a bit).
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