NHL Offseason Tracker: Flames Trade Matthew Tkachuk To Panthers For Stunning Return

There were many changes of teams during the first day of the NHL free agency period. Johnny Gaudreau, Claude Giroux, Andrew Copp, Darcy Kuemper and others changed teams.

There are still a few unrestricted free agents to sign, restricted free agents to get under contract, salary arbitration cases to settle, and teams still need to make moves to get under the salary cap before training camp ends. Stanley Cup Winner Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg, Evan Rodrigues, Phil Kessel and other unrestricted free agents also still have to sign, restricted free agents to get under contract and salary arbitration cases to settle. The San Jose Sharks need to hire a coach, and Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron must decide if he will return for another season. 

Keep up with NHL offseason moves with the following news and analysis:

July 22: Tkachuk is traded by Flames to Panthers

As recent days have progressed, it has become increasingly clear that Matthew Tkachuk's Calgary tenure is winding down. Florida acquired the talented young winger and a conditional 2025 draft pick in exchange for Huberdeau, Weegar, and Schwindt.  

The trade is pretty impressive from start to finish. 

The 24-year-old Tkachuk and the 29-year-old Huberdeau both scored over 100 points last season. In fact, Huberdeau tied with former Calgary star Johnny Gaudreau for the most points in the NHL, trailing only Connor McDavid. In his years with the Panthers, Weegar, 28, has proven to be a reliable and underrated player.

There is one year left on both Huberdeau and Weegar's contracts. In an eight-year deal worth 76 million dollars (an average annual value of $9.5 million), Tkachuk has agreed to sign with the Panthers. 

After Gaudreau walked and Tkachuk made it clear that he wanted out, the Flames will benefit from players as talented as Huberdeau and Weegar. As well as losing two key players from last year's NHL regular-season champions, the Panthers added a young star at the peak of his career, which may alleviate more future salary cap headaches.  

— Jace Evans

July 22: Patrik Laine signs an extension with the Blue Jackets

In the four-year contract, he'll earn an average of $8.7 million. Laine, 24, scored 56 points in 56 games last season, and re-signing him was a priority, especially after signing superstar Johnny Gaudreau ($9.7 million cap hit). There is a possibility of Laine and Gaudreau becoming linemates. As a cap-saving measure, the Blue Jackets traded Oliver Bjorkstrand ($5.4 million average salary) to the Seattle Kraken.

Also:Pierre-Luc Dubois has been re-signed by the Jets for one more year at $6 million, nearly doubling his salary. Next summer, he will again be a restricted free agent.

July 21: Nino Niederreiter signs with the Predators

In his new contract, the former Hurricane will receive $8 million over two years. As a result of re-signing Filip Forsberg and trading for Ryan McDonagh, the Predators made a smart move. In his third line role, Niederreiter scored 24 goals and had five other seasons with 20 goals. At even strength, he scored 39 of his 44 points. Even strength goals ranked 16th for the Predators.

A two-year, $6.4 million contract was reached between the Penguins and forward Kasperi Kaspanen, avoiding arbitration. Despite scoring only 11 goals last season, his cap hit remains the same. 

July 20: Matthew Tkachuk appears to be on his way out

In an article published by The Athletic, Tkachuk said he wouldn't sign a long-term deal with the Flames, and the team is likely to trade him soon rather than lose him next summer for nothing. According to the website, Tkachuk also provided a list of teams with whom he would be interested in signing a long-term contract. St. Louis Blues are one of them, where Keith played for his father.

July 19: The Devils sign three-year deal with Vitek Vanecek

This will be his average annual salary, and he will avoid arbitration. A restricted free agent next season, Vanecek is likely to make more than Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood ($2.8 million), who was acquired from the Capitals at the draft. 

July 18: Matthew Tkachuk to be arbitrated by the Flames

He has reached 40 goals and 100 points in his career for the first time, but was prevented from signing an offer sheet by the move.Since a ruling would be for one year and Tkachuk will be a UFA next summer, the Flames would prefer to sign him long-term before his Aug. 11 hearing. Their goal is to avoid losing Tkachuk for nothing like they did with Gaudreau. There is a possibility that he will be traded by the Flames. A dispute over arbitration has been filed by Calgary players Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington.