Now that Matthew Tkachuk has finally landed at his new home, can we all just move on from this fairytale that the Nashville Predators were going to acquire him?
Look, I’ll admit that I too was starting to drink the kool-aide and think the Predators might actually land the 100-plus point scoring wrecking ball that is Tkachuk. However, in the end the price tag ended up being enormous and too rich for my blood.
The Florida Panthers have traded a 100-plus point scorer of their own, Jonathan Huberdeau, along with a couple other decent trade pieces:
Additionally, Tkachuk as a RFA received a contract extension from Florida to the tune of eight years, $9.5M AAV. Yeah, he’s good, but that length scares the heck out of me for almost every player on the planet, with the exception of Connor McDavid and a few other generational talents.
It’s been a horrendous offseason for the Calgary Flames after Johnny Gaudreau bolted for the Columbus Blue Jackets of all teams. They have to be happy to get this lucrative return for Tkachuk.
Nashville Predators still having a great offseason
When it comes to the Nashville Predators, their offseason is still going very well after their most recent acquisition of Nino Niederreiter, who will undoubtedly offer a huge boost to their depth scoring and leadership in the top-six. A badly needed weakness in the lineup that was exposed in the first round of the playoffs when they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.
After the Predators were emerging as a top contender to get Tkachuk, everyone was instantly thinking about who might be given up and trying to crunch all of the numbers. It was likely that a Philip Tomasino was going to be lost, but when you see Huberdeau being offered, the Predators were probably far away from having enough assets for Calgary to consider.
The Panthers also kind of came out of nowhere in these sweepstakes. Several other teams were speculated to be in the running along with the Predators, including the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils. Among others.
The truth was no one really knew except Tkachuk himself. It was wildly entertaining to watch unfold in an NHL offseason that has been full of drama. It’s been outstanding to see unfold.
Tkachuk going to the Panthers is an interesting match. The Panthers have floundered the postseason, but have been dominant in the regular season. Can Tkachuk give them that extra punch to actually push for a Stanley Cup? I’m not convinced, especially with the cost of losing Huberdeau.
We can always dream of what this Predators team could’ve accomplished if Tkachuk joined the fold with Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, and the newly acquired Niederreiter. In reality, the Predators have had a productive offseason and there’s reason to have high expectations for 2022-23.