The Calgary Flames have a sticky situation brewing when it comes to their 2022 offseason. Three key forwards on their roster, Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau and Andrew Mangiapane all need new contracts after monster seasons. Matthew Tkachuk is the crown jewel of the three. At 24 years old, he’s recorded 40 goals and 100 points during the 2021-22 campaign. He will become a restricted free agent this summer, prompting conversation as to whether or not he could be vulnerable to an offer sheet.
The Philadelphia Flyers are limited when it comes to offer sheets. Thanks to previous trades when they dealt away their 2023 second round pick, they are severely hindered when it comes to the financial categories they can enter.
So basically, the $6.1 to $10.2 range isn’t feasible. That leaves the $10.2-plus mark as the only available option for the Flyers.
$10.2-plus million for someone like Matthew Tkachuk doesn’t seem too far off base. He’s already making $7 million a season, and at just 24 years old with a 100-point season under his belt, there’s a good chance we haven’t seen the best he has to offer. 13 players in the league are making at least $10 million per season, with an additional 14 making $9-$10 million.
For the Flyers, finding $10 million in cap space isn’t overly challenging to accomplish. Just clearing James Van Riemsdyk would open up $7 million alone. Throw in someone like Oskar Lindblom and his $3 million cap hit and boom! Enough cap space. With other moves and changes on the roster there’d still be enough cash to find another worthwhile player or two to insulate their newest acquisition.
The downfall of a $10.2 million offer sheet is the cost. They would have to send Calgary four first round picks, in this case in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026. For a team that, in the short term, may need those first round picks like the Flyers, it has to be a serious acquisition to give them up. There have been situations over the last few years across the league where a team gives up their first round pick and then end up having a terrible season and, in turn, don’t have their high draft pick and another team prospers off their failure. Bowen Byram with the Colorado Avalanche, who was drafted fourth overall in 2019 by a pick originally belonging to the Ottawa Senators given up in the Matt Duchene trade is a prime example. Tim Stutzle, drafted by Ottawa third overall in 2020 with a pick originally belonging to the Sharks acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade is another.
The Flyers aren’t exactly projected to be a powerhouse in 2022-23, and Tkachuk probably won’t be a complete difference maker by himself. Losing a potential top five pick in one of the projected deepest drafts in years seems like a very Flyers thing to do.
Could Calgary match A $10.5 million offer sheet? It’s not impossible, but it would force them to lose Johnny Gaudreau, and potentially Andrew Mangiapane as well. Though one has to assume Calgary is already scheming up ways to open close to $10 million in cap themselves for Tkachuk this summer. It’s no secret they’re going to struggle to keep all three forwards, and that Tkachuk would be their first choice when it comes to retaining services.
If the Flames were to match the offer sheet, the Flyers could then just pursue Gaudreau in free agency. If the Flames didn’t match the offer, they’d lose their biggest star, but gain the funds to sign everyone else and improve the roster elsewhere.
Not only is Matthew Tkachuk a great hockey player, he’d be a great Flyers hockey player. The physicality, the attitude, the personality, he’d be a megastar in this city. Not only could the Flyers use his offensive output, but they’re desperately lacking star power right now. He’d be the face of the franchise, appealing to the younger crowd and the older “Broad Street Bullies” era fans alike. If the Flyers are serious about being competitive next season and want to put Dave Scott’s blank check to good use, there are few better options than sending an offer sheet to Matthew Tkachuk.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: puckprose.com