You can be mad at Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, or at hockey analysts and media members for sharing what their sources are saying during a complicated process. But in the end, be happy that the Jack Eichel madness is over.
The Flames missed out despite putting big names into the NHL trade conversation, and woke up to the news the Vegas Golden Knights landed Eichel for centre Peyton Krebs, winger Alex Tuch, a first-round pick in 2022, and a second-rounder in ’23. But they made their push and came up short.
And the package was surprisingly light considering a player like Matthew Tkachuk’s name was brought up by sources on the eve before the trade was solidified with Vegas. Their asking price was four first-round assets. In the end they got three, with Tuch and Krebs both drafted in the top round, and next year’s first pick from the Knights. That pick could be a high one .
Golden Knights trade package slightly smaller than expected
If you’re wondering how the Buffalo Sabres could have picked Tuch and Krebs over Tkachuk, the talented and pesky Flames winger comes with some complications. He’s a pending restricted free agent due a $9 million qualifying offer and is only a guaranteed team-controlled asset for another season after this one. He could become an unrestricted free agent as early as after the 2022-23 season.
Essentially, Tkachuk has all the leverage going into his next contract, and has earned the right to be selective. After such a public and nasty battle with Eichel, they may have wanted more security with Tuch and the 20-year-old Krebs.
As for Monahan, the package of assets accompanying him would have had to be much higher and there may be places the Flames were not willing to go on the rostered prospect front.
Calgary Flames can focus on hockey without extra NHL trade chatter
For a Flames team that has been playing pretty well and has an eight-game point streak going into their Thursday game against the Dallas Stars, the return to hockey without Eichel questions will be a welcome relief.
As things heated up in the past couple of days, head coach Darryl Sutter and players like Johnny Gaudreau and Noah Hanifin were all asked to offer opinions on Eichel in addition to talking about their own team’s performance.
The performance has been pretty good and, at least in the short term, missing out on Eichel means the Calgary Flames won’t be weakened while waiting for the star centre to recover from surgery. They can focus on building on their 6-1-2 start to the season with the players they have.
Meanwhile, the logistical nightmare of fitting Eichel into the salary cap structure falls to Vegas.
According to PuckPedia.com, the Golden Knights will be about $10 million OVER the salary cap when everyone is healthy. Whenever that may be.