A difficult off-season in Calgary just got exponentially worse.
According to a report from The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford and Hailey Salvian, Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk has informed the club that he will not re-sign long-term with the team this summer and is expected to be traded.
As the report states, Tkachuk in fact has a specific list of teams with whom he would sign a long-term extension with, comprised of the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars.
The New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers are two other teams that have also expressed interest in the star winger in the past.
What a crushing blow to an already-reeling fanbase.
Exactly one week after Flames fans watched franchise face Johnny Gaudreau leave roughly $16 million on the table to spurn the team that drafted him and sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary's other star forward is now expressing his intent to hightail it out of town as well, gutting a roster that finished atop the Pacific Division standings last season and effectively plunging the Flames into a rebuild.
Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, does not have any trade protection and could, in theory, be dealt to any of the 31 teams in the NHL. But his lack of a contract at the moment will assuredly deter any club looking to sell the farm for Tkachuk in the event he opts against signing with them for the foreseeable future and leaves next summer as a free agent.
That shouldn't stop every NHL GM from inquiring about Tkachuk, though.
The 24-year-old is a bonafide superstar, coming off a breakout season in which he racked up 42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points while logging nearly 18 minutes in ice time per night.