While the waiting game continues for the Calgary Flames as it pertains to pending unrestricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun provided a bit of an update on another big negotiation, this one with pending restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk.
According to LeBrun, teams are “delicately approaching” the Flames regarding the forward’s availability.
Based on LeBrun’s intel, the situation is playing out in a fairly predictable manner:
  • Gaudreau’s negotiations are going to determine (a) how competitive the Flames are and (b) how much cap space the Flames have. (LeBrun wrote that he expects Brad Treliving to chat with Gaudreau’s camp in the next few days to try to get some clarity there.)
  • Per LeBrun, Tkachuk’s camp is sitting back and waiting to see Gaudreau’s situation play out before determining how they’ll handle negotiations with the Flames.
  • For various reasons, teams see Tkachuk having a year left before potential unrestricted free agency and are anticipating that maybe the Flames would be willing to part with him now (for assets via trade) rather than in a year (for nothing via free agency).
Tkachuk could walk himself to free agency either via accepting the Flames’ qualifying offer or by filing for salary arbitration later this month. Either outcome – accepting the qualifying offer or getting an arbitration ruling – would give him a one year contract and take him right to free agency next July 1.
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It’s a very fascinating, tumultuous time for the Flames. We’ll see if they get some clarity on the club’s future over the next few days in Montreal for the 2022 NHL Draft.

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