It appears as though another prominent scoring winger in Matthew Tkachuk is headed to the trade market for Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders’ consideration — though trying to predict what they’ll do to improve their roster is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble, to quote Baz Luhrmann.
Tkachuk could very well be the latest star forward to depart the Calgary Flames after the team announced on Monday that they filed to take the 24-year-old to arbitration.
The move eliminates the chance of the restricted free agent to receive an offer sheet, but it feels as though the Flames are just buying time to trade him.
After all, a long-term extension likely would have been hammered out by now if that was a viable option.
Calgary just learned this lesson last week when they saw the face of their franchise, Johnny Gaudreau, sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets rather than committing his long-term future to the team that drafted him.
Tkachuk would certainly become the new crown jewel of the trade market if this is the case as he’s coming off a monster year in which he slotted 42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points — all career bests.
And once again — as has been discussed ad nauseam about different forwards for the last 20 years — he would provide an immeasurable boost to an Islanders team that is devoid of a bona fide, first-line wing option to stretch out the attack and make it a postseason-worthy unit.
Of course, this all comes down to the lingering question of whether or not the Islanders could pull off such a deal? It’s a concept that has brought about a resounding “no” for what seems like ever, especially in the Lamoriello era, so we would need to see a few “prove-us-wrongs” and “show-me-now” sort of transactions of this magnitude to hold such optimism moving forward.
But to snag Tkachuk — whether that means getting his rights or making a deal with the promise of a long-term extension — the Islanders would have to give up a bounty that they might not necessarily have.
Talks would not only have to include a bundle of draft picks and top prospects like Aatu Räty or William Dufour but players currently on the roster like Anthony Beauvillier or Oliver Wahlstrom to open the necessary cap space to fit a big-time contract.
And that might not even be enough to win the sweepstakes for a player who will want a say in where he plays next year and beyond. Tkachuk is a St. Louis native and early inclinations are that he’ll try to make a push for a new home around there.
Also, take into account how Lamoriello and the Islanders have performed on the market over the last four seasons and you can come to your own deduction about whether or not this is something that could happen.