The Calgary Flames are expected to trade forward Matthew Tkachuk after he told the team he will not sign a long-term extension, an NHL source confirmed to ESPN.
The news was first reported by The Athletic.
Tkachuk, 24, has played all six NHL seasons with Calgary, which drafted him sixth overall in 2016. Known for his tenacious physical game as much as for his offensive pop, Tkachuk had a dominant 2021-22 with 42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points in 82 games, all career highs.
The Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration with Tkachuk on Monday, ahead of a July 22 qualifying-offer deadline. The team said it wanted to “continue to work with his representatives towards a contractual resolution” while also removing the possibility of an offer sheet for the restricted free agent.
Tkachuk had a $9 million salary last season. He’s one season away from unrestricted free agency.
It’s expected that the Flames would seek to trade Tkachuk to one of his preferred destinations, where he would then sign a long-term contract. There has been speculation throughout his career that the St. Louis Blues would be one of those destinations. Tkachuk grew up in St. Louis, and his father, Keith, played for the Blues.
The loss of Tkachuk would continue a devastating offseason for the Flames, who could be left without their top two scorers from last season.
Winger Johnny Gaudreau, their leading scorer last season with 115 points, informed the team earlier this month that he would not return to Calgary. He signed a seven-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on the opening day of NHL free agency last week.
Tkachuk was the second-leading scorer on the Flames, who won the Pacific Division last season before bowing out in five games to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.