Last night’s trade between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers involving Matthew Tkachuk and Jonathan Huberdeau will likely go down as one of the biggest blockbuster deals in the NHL’s history. For only the second time in NHL history, two players who were 100-point scorers the previous season were traded for one another, with the other trade involving The Great One himself – Wayne Gretzky (link). To underscore that, in this four-player deal, MacKenzie Weegar, who received Norris votes in each of the last two seasons and has established himself as a true top-pairing defenseman, was most likely only the third best player involved.
In the trade, the Panthers were able to acquire a 24-year-old superstar winger, one who scored 42 goals as part of a 104-point campaign this past season, crushing previous career-bests, as well as a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025 (0r 2026). On top of simply acquiring Tkachuk, Florida was able to ensure the player came signed long-term, as the teams worked out a sign-and-trade with the forward, who agreed to an eight-year, $76MM contract with the Flames immediately prior to the trade. That extension, likely helped by Calgary’s ability to give Tkachuk the eighth-year that no other team had, not only boosted Tkachuk’s value in the trade, but was likely a sticking point for any interested team, protecting them from the threat of the young star testing the free agent market next summer.
As interesting as an MVP-caliber-player for MVP-caliber-player trade is, this one is made all the more intriguing by considering that Huberdeau is arguably the better player as against Tkachuk, but it was Huberdeau that was sent along with Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a first-round pick for Tkachuk and a fourth-round pick. In Huberdeau, Calgary receives a superstar playmaker who has averaged over a point-per-game since 2018-19, including an incredible 115 point 2021-22. Not necessarily seen as the superstar-caliber player that the other two are, Weegar has quietly emerged as one of the league’s best defensemen, combining excellent puck-moving with superb shutdown defense.