NHL: Matthew Tkachuk on why he left Flames, Kings sign two, and more news

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The aftershocks of the Calgary Flames having to trade Matthew Tkachuk are still being felt throughout Alberta.

Tkachuk, 24, registered a career-high 104 points on the strength of 42 goals in 82 games last season. He has 382 career points in 431 games since he joined the Flames, who selected him sixth overall in the 2016 Draft. But now, he a member of the Florida Panthers.

Late Friday night, the Flames shipped Tkachuk to the Panthers along with a conditional pick for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft. Florida immediately signed Tkachuk to an 8-year deal worth $76 million (AAV $9.5M).

Matthew Tkachuk on leaving the Flames

matthew tkachuk
May 16, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk (19) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

“There’s a lot that went into it. There’s no single reason why I left. At the end of the day, I wanted to re-evaluate where I’m at, and after talking to a few teams I did that, and kind of came down to that conclusion,” Tkachuk told Sportsnet in an exclusive interview.

It’s been a difficult offseason for the Flames, who also lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency. After Tkachuk told them he wouldn’t sign a long-term deal as a restricted free agent it was one hit too many.

“A lot has been written, discussed over the last week about Calgary. The city and us as an organization has taken some body shots,” GM Brad Treliving said. “Quite frankly, it pisses me off. It’s a wonderful community. We’ve got a team in the league that’s competing every year to be a Stanley Cup Champion. People have the right to choose where they may or may not want to go, but as a community and organization, we do not have to apologize for anything. We’re proud of who we are.”

In the end, Tkachuk admits that once he started to talking to other teams he knew it was time for a change. That’s when he decided to tell Treliving of his decision.

“It was the hardest phone call I’ve ever had in this sport at any level,” Tkachuk revealed. “Nothing even comes close to rivalling it. It was a very real conversation. Pretty emotional for me, some of the most emotions I’ve had. And he was too. It was like two friends. We really respect one another. I wanted to make sure I worked with him and not leave them dry.”

Kings sign two

The Los Angeles Kings signed centers Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to one-year contract extensions on Saturday.

Vilardi’s one-way deal is worth $825,000 through the 2022-23 season, while Anderson-Dolan’s two-way contract is worth $750,000.

Vilardi, 22, recorded seven points (five goals, two assists) in 25 games this past season with the Kings.

He has 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) in 89 career games since being selected by Los Angeles with the 11th overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Anderson-Dolan, 22, did not register a point in seven games this past season.

He totaled 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 50 career games since being selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Bruins re-sign Jack Studnicka

The Boston Bruins re-signed forward Jack Studnicka to a two-year contract.

The agreement announced Saturday is a two-way deal in 2022-23 and a one-way deal in 2023-24 and carries an annual NHL cap hit of $762,500.

Studnicka, 23, had three assists in 15 games with the Bruins in 2021-22. He added 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) in 41 games with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

A second-round draft pick by Boston in 2017, the Ontario native has one goal and six assists in 37 games since making his NHL debut on Nov. 26, 2019.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this report