Matthew Tkachuk opens up about how his trade happened and what he told the Flames GM

November 17, 2022  (10:44)

Brad Treliving had a massive off-season, after talent as Johnny Gaudreau left for Columbus, Calgary Flames fans started to feel disturbed about their regular season prospects, as their 115-point man left for a small market team to be closer to home.

Then a bigger trade happened, as it was reported that Matthew Tkachuk wanted out after he wasn't going to receive the Captaincy of the team he'd been with since being drafted in 2016.
While both Treliving and Tkachuk declined to reveal the list of interested teams, The Athletic has reported that the Blues, Lightning and Hurricanes were also among the teams on Tkachuk's list. The Panthers jumped into discussions within a day or two of the trade's completion.

Tkachuk's choice to leave was compounded when his linemate Gaudreau decided to leave the Flames.
Huberdeau: I was shocked and, obviously, disappointed. I gave a lot to this organization. I think the respect they gave me, I think I deserved a little bit more.

Walsh: I see Jonathan Huberdeau calling me. Right away, I calculate. Friday night. 8 p.m. L.A., 11 p.m. in Montreal. Hmm. Right away, Spidey senses are tingling. I answered the phone, «Hey Jo, everything OK?» And he said, «I don't know, I think I was just traded to Calgary?» I said, what do you mean you think? And he said, «Well, Bill Zito called me and said I was traded to Calgary. Is it true?»

His feelings were initially hurt, as he had given the Florida Panthers ten years and in an instant, a trade happened without his knowledge or his agents' knowledge, as Bill Zito and Brad Treliving keep it tight-sealed between the both of them and Tkachuk beforehand.
Zito: I remember in our pro meetings, we were joking about Tkachuk. When we had gone through the Calgary players, somebody had said, «Boy, oh boy, if we could ever get a guy like Tkachuk.» That stuck in my head. When I got that first phone call, I was like, are you kidding me?

Since this was a sign and trade, the league had to step in to complete the necessary legwork and it was a possibility in the long run the league could have vetoed it as well.
2 of the other major assets in Mackenzie Weeger and Cole Schwindt didn't even know till late, as Schwindt was out fishing in Sault St. Marie and Weegar was on a family trip to the spa.
Julian Mackenzie uncovered the fact that basically, Brad Treliving, Matthew Tkachuk, and Bill Zito drove this trade to completion, without it getting out too early beforehand.
Huberdeau being let down by Zito didn't make Treliving's job any easier, as Huberdeau didn't expect a trade, but during the draft talked to Allan Walsh about an extension which never happened.
This is just shades of how Vegas operates and Bill Zito's ruthlessness in acquiring Tkachuk ignored the human element of Huberdeau's relationship to the team.
The trade was a blockbuster in the off-season and secured Treliving's legitimacy again, despite the narrative that he wasn't able to recover from losing Johnny Gaudreau.
Whatever the result, the NHL's first sign and trade was in reality a winner for both teams, however, the behind-the-scenes shows how the players are little more than assets and that one player alone can affect the fate of others in a quest to part ways with his first NHL team.
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