Calgary Flames fans are either disappointed or relieved that their club lost out to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. That they were among the finalists raises questions about their next steps.
Before the Buffalo Sabres traded Eichel to the Golden Knights, ESPN's Kevin Weekes reported hearing the Flames offered up Matthew Tkachuk as part of a package deal. Calgary Hockey Now's Steve McFarland cited a source claiming Tkachuk and Sean Monahan were part of the offer.
Following the Eichel trade, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adam dismissed the Tkachuk rumors as inaccurate. Monahan, meanwhile, would've had to approve a deal to Buffalo if the Sabres were on his 10-team no-trade list. Neither club confirmed if he was part of their discussions.
The Athletic's Hailey Salvian reports Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke to Tkachuk on Wednesday. While the 23-year-old winger kept details of that discussion to himself, he told reporters he wasn't concerned about the rumors.
Tkachuk's status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who's also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility might've been behind the trade rumor. Cap Friendly indicates his annual average value is $7 million but he's earning $9 million in actual salary this season. As per PuckPedia, it will cost the Flames $9 million to qualify his rights because he signed that contract prior to last year's CBA extension.
Salvian believes the Flames' interest in Eichel indicates they're in the market for a center. She wondered if they might turn their sights toward San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl. He's slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer unless the Sharks sign him to an extension.