The long awaited announcement has finally come. The Calgary Flames have been informed that Matthew Tkachuk is not interested in signing a long term deal with them and therefore have placed him on the trading block. For a few years now it has been speculated that Tkachuk wanted out and it is now official.
There may be speculation as of to where he will be shipped off to but I truly think there is only one clear option, the St. Louis Blues. The Flames are only going to get something worth while for Tkachuk if he is willing to sign long term with the team. St. Lous is said to fit the bill as Tkachuk grew up in St. Louis and his Dad, Kieth, played for St. Louis. The next question would be, do the Blues need his service? I mean, who couldn’t use a player of his caliber? He produced over 100 points last year and plays a very physical game. His Offensive output would be great for a Blues team that just lost David Perron and his physical play makes him fit perfectly in the cycle scheme that the Blues run.
Everything seems to be lining up, but who would the Blues be willing to give up? Well we need to take into account that this acquisition would put the Blues over the salary cap so a large salary needs to go back to Calgary (even with the rumor of Tkachuk willing to go to St. Louis on a discount. The Blues have three of their biggest stars becoming UFAs after this season: Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev, and Vladimir Tarasenko. I don’t see the Blues trading their captain without the need of a culture change in the locker room (which they do not need). Trading Barbashev would require at least $5 million more with him to come close to fixing the salary issue, and with his age, I see the Blues more interested in resigning him if he can repeat his breakout season. The obvious choice is Tarasenko because of his cap hit and the fact that he never rescinded his trade request. I could see this going down easily as a player for player swap with Tkachuk and Tarasenko. Both teams get an elite player on an expiring contract that I feel would sign long term with their new homes.
I could see the Flames wanting more in return than just Tarasenko and perhaps turning to a different trade partner that would offer more but would Tkachuk be willing to sign long term? My answer is no. I think Tkachuk’s end goal is to sign with St. Louis whether it’s via trade now or waiting til the off season and I think the Blues would be willing to see if that is the case if the Flames ask for too much.
Prediction: Tkachuk for Tarasenko by the end of July.