In a somewhat surprising move, the Calgary Flames decided to take Matthew Tkachuk to arbitration.
The critical remaining cornerstone of the Flames offence elected not to file for arbitration himself this week because he had a $9-million qualifying offer in front of him – which gave him multiple paths forward.
He could have signed the QO before Friday’s deadline and walked himself to free agency next July. Tkachuk also would have had the opportunity to consider offer sheets from other clubs.
Instead, the Calgary Flames have imposed what appears to be a hard negotiating deadline. It’s expected that if they get to arbitration later this summer, the team will start seriously considering trade offers.
There would be an opportunity to discuss extensions again after January 1, 2023, but Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving may be leery of letting things go to long after the Gaudreau gamble backfired and he lost his top scorer to unrestricted free agency last week.
“The Flames have filed for club-elected salary arbitration with Matthew Tkachuk,” the Flames announced via Twitter. “This provides us the opportunity to continue to work with his representatives towards a contractual resolution while removing the possibility of an offer sheet.”
It’s a strong move in the wake of what has been a rough start to free agency for the Flames. But if the goal is to retain Tkachuk, let’s hope the communication about the move was transparent in their negotiations.