While Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter played off the Jack Eichel NHL trade rumours as “just a media thing,” the chatter hit an all-time high, with specific names being dropped by sources for the first time. That’s typically a sign things are nearing a resolution.
A source close to Eichel told Calgary Hockey Now the 25-year-old centre is “more confident than he’s been since this all started” that a trade was close and that Eichel would be a member of a new team by next Monday, if not before.
Wednesday night, multiple sources confirmed to CHN that the Calgary Flames have made Matthew Tkachuk available to the Buffalo Sabres, as tweeted by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes. However, one source close to the situation also included Sean Monahan. A second source later confirmed Monahan is also part of the conversation.
NHL trade chatter climbing since we confirmed progressing talks
Since Vegas Hockey Now and Calgary Hockey Now confirmed the heightened talks last weekend, the NHL trade chatter has progressed steadily.
Early Wednesday evening, Calgary shot past the Golden Knights with a significant offer, including Tkachuk or Monahan, a first-rounder, a prospect who is a former first-rounder, and two more prospects.
Credit Weekes for those details, although some of those pieces may depend on which of Tkachuk or Monahan would go the other way.
Following Flames practice in Calgary, Sutter tried to downplay the NHL trade buzz engulfing his club.
“I wasn’t aware of (the reports),” Sutter said. “I think it’s a little bit of a …(he pauses here for about six seconds)… just a media thing.”
A Flames source indicated to National Hockey now that Sutter was likely trying to misdirect the scent of a trade and confirmed the Flames were as close as reported. A denial came from Flames GM Brad Treliving just a day prior to the Dougie Hamilton trade that brought in Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.
Almost immediately after that Sutter tip, Weekes tweeted this bombshell:
For all asking, my understanding is the @NHLFlames have Tkachuk ( who is a future potential captain) an upcoming 1 Rd pick, a former 1st Rd pick, and 2 prospects in the Eichel sweepstakes with the @BuffaloSabres . @espn @NHLNetwork #HockeyTwitter .
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) November 3, 2021
While National Hockey Now sources had indicated Monahan, and not winger Matthew Tkachuk was the centre of the return from the Flames to the Sabres, another source has since confirmed that Weekes was correct that Tkachuk was on the table.
So what does this all mean?
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving not going down without a fight
Based on all we’re hearing right now, it means that Flames GM Brad Treliving is looking to make a massive move that would also keep a star player away from division rival Vegas Golden Knights.
Will Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon finally budge on his refusal to include top prospect Peyton Krebbs, whom the Knights drafted 17th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft?
“Can’t answer that right now but, man, Brad’s forcing Kelly’s hand right now, eh?” a neutral NHL executive source opined to NHN’s Jimmy Murphy.
“I wonder if Kelly offers up a more established vet. I think Alex Tuch is there, but what about Shea Theodore? That frees up $5.2 mill for the rest of this year, and three more.”
*Hockey Now colleague Jimmy Murphy @murphyslaw74 confirmed the source details for Calgary Hockey Now and contributed to this report.