Tkachuk never believed Flames would trade him for Eichel
It doesn’t seem like there needs to be any damage control after the inclusion of Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk’s name in the NHL trade rumours late on the eve of the Jack Eichel trade. Like any good hockey player, he’s already moved on to focus on what’s in front of him.
Hours after news broke that the Buffalo Sabres traded Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, Tkachuk answered questions at the Saddledome after the morning skate.
“I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I had a hard time believing it was true. So I just went about my business like I normally do the night before a game,” said Tkachuk ahead of the game against the Dallas Stars. “It’s out of our control, all of that stuff. If that would have happened here it would have obviously affected some guys that you’re probably close with. We’ve all dealt with players that have been traded, teammates … it’s just been just part of the business.
“You don’t deal with that stuff until it happens, you don’t speculate and you don’t plan accordingly, you just go about your business.”
Post-deal NHL trade chatter suggests Tkachuk was never in play
Some reports on Thursday deny Tkachuk was ever in any offer. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes dropped Tkachuk’s name on Twitter and multiple sources told Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy the same.
The denials don’t actually confirm Tkachuk was never in the conversation. Nobody gains from naming players included in negotiations. Especially after a deal is done. Did anyone really expect Sabres GM Kevyn Adams to throw Flames GM Brad Treliving under a bus after his blockbuster with the Golden Knights?
It’s also true that some sources strategically drop nuggets in order to push moves along or apply pressure in the big picture.
A small number of people know the truth to all the behind-the-scenes conversations and they have nothing to gain by shedding light on it now.
As far as Tkachuk and Treliving go, they had a brief phone conversation when things lit up Wednesday night.
“He talked to me but we’ll just keep that between us,” Tkachuk said. “We don’t need to talk about that. It was very quick and all good.”
Pacific Division battles between Calgary Flames and Knights more interesting now
In the end, it’s a relief to have the trade completed. On a personal level, it will allow a young man who has been dealing with pain and uncertainty for eight months to get his preferred surgery and start the healing process.
There was talk he could be back in three months but a safer estimate is as long as five or six months before Eichel plays a game. It’s the first time any NHLer has had this surgery,
Tkachuk hasn’t spoken with Eichel during the process but he said it’s easy to empathize with his fellow American knowing how hard it is to be out with an injury.
“Anytime you’re not playing as a player, I know it sucks. I know I hated it,” Tkachuk said. “I’m sure he just wants to get back playing as soon as possible.”
When he does, it will be with a Calgary Flames division rival in the Vegas Golden Knights.
“He got traded to a division rival that we’ve had some battles with. I’m sure we’ll have battles with him soon,” Tkachuk said. “We’ll be seeing more of him than when he was in Buffalo.”