The Calgary Flames bid a bitter farewell to Johnny Gaudreau at the start of NHL free agency.
Now they’re parting ways with his linemate.
The Florida Panthers announced Friday night they’ve acquired forward Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round pick from Calgary.
Florida also said Tkachuk has agreed to terms on an eight-year deal. According to numerous reports, the contract is for $76 million US.
“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,” Panthers GM Bill Zito said in a statement. “He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”
Thanks Chucky – best of luck in Florida! <a href=”https://t.co/oXDSMyxeXW”>pic.twitter.com/oXDSMyxeXW</a>
Tkachuk reportedly informed the Flames after Gaudreau signed a seven-year, $68.25-million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets when the market opened that he also wouldn’t be staying in Calgary long-term.
The club filed for salary arbitration with Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, in order to eliminate the possibility of an offer sheet — which the Flames said was part of the process to come to terms on an extension.
Tkachuk’s hearing had been set for Aug. 11, the last day of proceedings.
Schwindt appeared in three games for the Panthers last season. The 21-year-old had 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 72 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,” said Zito. “They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people.
“Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise and we wish them both continued success in their future.”
And while Calgary fans will be upset to lose two-thirds of their team’s top line in short order, the Flames got something for 24-year-old Tkachuk after losing Gaudreau, 28, for nothing.
Tkachuk set career-highs for goals (40), assists (62) and points.
The Arizona-born, St. Louis-raised forward registered 152 goals and 382 points in 431 regular-season games with Calgary. Selected sixth overall at the 2016 NHL draft, Tkachuk added seven goals and eight assists in 27 post-season appearances.
The Flames finished first in the Pacific Division last season before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the playoffs — the first post-season Battle of Alberta since 1991.
Calgary’s veteran roster, which includes goaltender and Vezina Trophy finalist Jacob Markstrom, will now look to regroup and push ahead minus its two best offensive threats.