SUNRISE, Fla. – Matthew Tkachuk and Jonathan Huberdeau had the best years of their careers last season.
And now they’re switching places in an NHL blockbuster.
Tkachuk was traded to the Florida Panthers on Friday night, with Huberdeau part of the pitching going to the Calgary Flames for the power forward. Florida also sent defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a lottery-protected first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.
“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skill set,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “He is a consistently elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”
As part of the move, Tkachuk is also under contract with Florida through the 2029-30 season, the Panthers said. Tkachuk decided earlier in the week that he would not accept such a deal to stay in Calgary, which immediately sparked trade talks and there was no shortage of suitors in the NHL who wanted to land him.
The Panthers, a team that won the President’s Trophy last season for having the NHL’s best regular-season record, apparently wanted him more than most.
They gave up a pack headlined by Huberdeau, Florida’s career leader in games, assists and points, to make it happen. The move also breaks up one of the best duos in hockey, after Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov formed a 1-2 punch like few have with Florida in recent years.
But it never translated into the kind of playoff success Florida is looking for. The Panthers won a playoff series last season for the first time since 1996, then were swept by Tampa Bay in the second round and scored just three goals in those four games.
“We want to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,” Zito said. “Both have become exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people have left an indelible mark on our franchise.”
Tkachuk had career bests of 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points last season for Calgary. Huberdeau tied a career high with 30 goals for Florida, while also setting career highs with 85 assists and 115 points, both Panthers franchise records.
The change means Calgary is without its top two scorers from last season. Johnny Gaudreau, who led the Flames with 115 points, signed a seven-year contract with Columbus as a free agent last week.
Huberdeau was also eligible for an extension this summer, and the Panthers had a decision to make: commit to him to a long-term, big-money deal or look to make another abrupt move.
Tkachuk is 24, Huberdeau is 29, and that was surely something Florida had in mind when deciding to make an eight-year commitment. Age is one of the few things that separates Tkachuk and Huberdeau on paper: Both are about 6-foot-2, both weigh roughly 200 pounds, both are left wingers, both average about nine points per 10 games played in their careers in the NHL. , Huberdeau was the No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft, Tkachuk the No. 6 pick in the 2016 draft.
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Panthers get Tkachuk from Flames for Huberdeau, Weegar
Source link Panthers get Tkachuk from Flames for Huberdeau, Weegar