Matthew Tkachuk is now a Florida Panther.
Over at Sportsnet, Eric Francis managed to track Tkachuk down and has a pretty extensive chat with the former Calgary Flames forward. Among the big takeaways: Tkachuk went into his 2019 contract negotiations – coming out of his entry level deal – with an eye towards keeping his options open.
Tkachuk echoed Brad Treliving’s statement from earlier on Saturday that his decision wasn’t impacted by Gaudreau’s move to Columbus at all. In fact, Tkachuk wasn’t sure what he was going to do until after speaking with teams during the restricted free agent courting period that opened up on July 12.
There’s a lot that went into it. There’s no single reason why I left. At the end of the day, I wanted to re-evaluate where I’m at, and after talking to a few teams I did that, and kind of came down to that conclusion.
He noted that he signed a three-year bridge contract in 2019 (rather than a longer deal) in order to keep his options open, allow him to see where his life and career were headed at this point, and decide his future.
Tkachuk spoke with Treliving upon deciding to seek a future elsewhere, which led to the whirlwind week of trade negotiations. Tkachuk’s proposed trade list was quickly narrowed to three teams, from which Florida’s offer to the Flames was found to be the strongest.
He admitted to Francis that, yeah, he could’ve merely accepted his one-year $9 million qualifying offer and headed out the door into free agency next July, but he didn’t want to handle it that way.
“I wanted to be straight with them right away and being able to work with them made this so much easier.”
And in true Tkachuk fashion, he ended his time representing Calgary with a parting shot at Edmonton.
I was looking back and reflecting about my draft day, I knew nothing about Calgary. … Leaving there I hope they can consider me the type of player the people of Alberta can be proud of. Well, in Calgary, not the people up north.
Make sure to check out the whole piece over at Sportsnet’s site.
Tkachuk will be unveiled as the latest member of the Panthers at a Monday press conference.
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