The Calgary Flames announced having reached an agreement over a three-year deal with restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old, fondly known as Chucky, will be the team’s highest earner as his deal is valued at $7 million a year, according to ESPN. Tkachuk was one of the more sought out restricted NHL free agents this year but the Flames have managed to lock him in for the next three campaigns.
Where the player is concerned, it helped that Brayden Point signed a three-year contract carrying an AAV of $6.75 million with the Tampa Bay Lighting previously as it set the market for him. Patrick Laine, Kyle Connor and Miko Rantanen are among big-name restricted free agents who are yet to sign deals.
Chucky performed remarkably well for Calgary last term, scoring 34 goals along with a career-high 43 assists for 77 points. Those numbers racked up to deliver his best output in three seasons and he now boasts a career Corsi percentage of 59.6 after putting up admirable possession stats.
The team tying Tkachuk down to a new deal leaves them right up against the salary cap as they have 10 players on their roster with a cap hit north of $4 million.
Flames head coach Bill Peters says Tkachuk will have no difficulty getting in shape for the season and will play the team’s final pre-season game on the weekend, with a clash against the Edmonton Oilers scheduled for Saturday.
“It’s not like he was in the Bahamas on the beach, so I know he’s been working hard,” he said. “I know he’ll want to hit the ground running and I know he won’t want to listen to the narrative of ‘if you get off to a slow start it’s because you missed however many days of camp.’
“He doesn’t want to hear that. We’ll try to get him up to speed as quick as we can. He’s a smart player so I don’t see any issue there.”
The Flames are 18/1 to win the Stanley Cup next season with Bet365 while the Lightning are the favorites at 15/2. The Vegas Golden Knights are 10/1 with William Hill, who’s offering the same odds on the Toronto Maple Leafs and 11/1 on the Boston Bruins. If you’re looking to be brought up to speed on Hockey betting, onlinesportbetting.ca has tips on NHL odds, betting offers and the best betting sites available.
Meanwhile, Betfair’s offering odds of 9/1 on the Flames winning the Western Conference, but they’re behind the Colorado Avalanche (5/1), the St. Louis Blues (7/1), the Golden Knights (7/2), the Nashville Predators (8/1) and the Dallas Stars (15/2) as it pertains to the favored teams.
Keeping Tkachuk around certainly can’t hurt their chances and Peters’ side could have a pretty great season if everything falls into place. That they’ve secured one of the league’s most promising wingers is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a lot left to do.