They'll Write History Books About How Great The Matthew Tkachuk Trade Worked For The Florida Panthers
Every time there's a massive blockbuster trade in the NHL, you'll always get the people who say you have to wait to see how it all pans out before determining a winner or loser of the trade.
I think anybody with half a brain knew the Florida Panthers were making out like bandits the night that Matthew Tkachuk was dealt from Calgary in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. Now the trade itself was the best move possible for both teams. Calgary knew that Tkachuk wanted out, Florida knew they weren't going to be able to give Huberdeau and Weegar the money they'd be looking for this summer ($10.5M for Huberdeau, $6.25M for Weegar). This was a trade that needed to happen.
But holy shit did the Panthers mercilessly dummy Calgary on this one.
Matthew Tkachuk was everything the Florida Panthers had been missing for the past few seasons. They've had plenty of skill. They've had really solid defensemen. They've had a great goaltender. But they were a bunch of soft little bitches for so long. I know this term has been beat to death in the hockey world, but this team had no jam. Great in the regular season, but there wasn't a single team in the league who would be worried about playing them in a 7-game series. Large Cats in the regular season, giant pussies in the playoffs.
All you need is one Tkachuk on the roster to totally turn that around. You add a Tkachuk to your roster and all of a sudden your team becomes a bunch of pricks to play against. Tkachuk's are greasy, Tkachuk's are pesky, and Tkachuk's can put the puck in the back of the net. But I think the most important thing about Matthew Tkachuk is what you hear him say when he's answering Gretzky in this interview.
There's a moment when he's talking about his line of himself, Sam Bennett, and Nick Cousins. He says "whether we're scoring or not, we try to be that identity line for our team". In 13 games so far these playoffs, that line has combined for 12 goals and 20 assists. 32 combined points in 13 games. Nick Cousins scored the overtime game winner to end the series against Toronto in game 5. Matthew Tkachuk now has 2 overtime game winners so far these playoffs. They've been one of the most productive lines throughout the entire playoffs, and Matthew Tkachuk would rather be known as the "identity line" for the Panthers.
When the Florida Panthers traded for Matthew Tkachuk, obviously they got 109 points from him during the regular season. But they got 115 points out of Jonathan Huberdeau last year, so the points are pretty much a wash. The biggest thing the Panthers got in that trade was their identity. There's a reason why the Flames didn't make the playoffs this year and the Panthers are now just 3 wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. That reason goes back to July 22, 2022.