Despite their recent two-game losing streak, the Calgary Flames woke up today still comfortably in first place in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of both the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. The team is also tied with the Winnipeg Jets for the best goal differential in the entire Western Conference, and have bought themselves some time to slowly assess their roster heading into 2019. When looking at their contract situation though, one name sticks out as a pending free agent. Matthew Tkachuk will reach restricted free agency for the first time at the end of this season, and Flames GM Brad Treliving made it quite clear to TSN’s Jermain Franklin that a re-signing the young forward is a focus:
Matthew is a terrific player. He’s on the last year of his contract. We’ve said all along, our goal is to get him signed obviously before the start of next season. Nothing’s changed in that regard, we’re going to continue to see if we can’t get something done. Both Matthew and us know the most important thing right now is the play on the ice of the team, and Matthew’s play. We’re trying to limit any distractions so that the sole focus can stay on the games ahead of us, but certainly it’s priority one for us to get him signed to a new contract, and we will.
Tkachuk, 21, is one of a number of talented players coming up on restricted free agency at the end of the year, and could very well wait to see what his contemporaries sign for before putting ink to paper. The entire league just watched a long negotiation between the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander result in a hefty long-term contract, and most will want to avoid that type of situation. While Tkachuk’s first two seasons didn’t have the same sort of offensive totals that Nylander did, he’s off to an outstanding start in the first half of 2018-19 and could very well set his asking price extremely high.