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Should the Flyers offer sheet Matthew Tkachuk?

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Proposing a bit more thievery.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back, and we’re still talking offer sheets. Earlier this week we talked about Kasperi Kapanen, and what it would look like if the Flyers were to bring in a depth player like him. Now, we’re moving on to look at a player up a tier. How do we feel about a Matthew Tkachuk?

Like the Leafs, the Calgary Flames are looking to be in something of a tight cap situation, with one big RFA to sign and a handful of other players in need to signing or re-signing (including two goalies!), which makes them seem extra vulnerable to having a player stolen via offer sheet. And we, as purveyors of chaos, love the idea of stealing another team’s good players, but is there a fit, here? Let’s find out.

What he’s done

Season and Career Stats

Year GP G A P1 P CF% xGF% RelT CF% RelT xGF%
Year GP G A P1 P CF% xGF% RelT CF% RelT xGF%
2018-19 79 33 43 59 76 56.49 53.91 4.89 1.93
Career 223 70 103 135 173 55.88 54.69 4.83 5.35

We’ll be direct here: this is a pretty exciting stat line. Tkachuk has been a pretty consistent offensive producer throughout his first three seasons in the NHL, but he really seemed to explode this season, well surpassing his career season totals. Additionally, even playing top-six minutes, he’s figured out this whole play driving thing already—the Flames are out-shooting and out-chancing opponents when he’s on the ice, but on top of that, he’s performing well enough above the level of most of his teammates (which is no small feat, on a team that, as a whole, drives play reasonably well). We’re checking all of the boxes here, folks!

And, as something of a neat aside, Tkachuk finished this season with a +7 penalty differential, and has averaged a +28 over the whole of career, which ranks him 18th among all skaters (1065 in total) over the last three seasons.

How would he fit?

This is sort of a complicated question, because unlike Kapanen, Tkachuk doesn’t fill an immediate need for the Flyers. He’s a left wing, and, at first glance, the Flyers are kind of good at left wing. If they were committed to the idea of moving Claude Giroux back to center, that would free up a space, and then you could probably make it work. Tkachuk fared very well on Calgary’s 3M line, playing alongside Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik, and the Flyers have the pieces to at least come close to replicating that, if they were to put him alongside, say Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. Integrating him into the power play would take some doing, as well, as he played net-front in Calgary (and to good results, I should add), and the Flyers seem to have had James van Riemsdyk and Nolan Patrick locked into these positions recently, but hey, they’ll have a new person running the power play this season, so who knows what will happen there. This is all just to say that the fit wouldn’t be quite seamless.

But, that said, Matthew Tkachuk is a very good player, and having him on your team likely improves it. It’s hard to look at his numbers and say “you know what, I’m good. I don’t want that.”

Plus, he’s a bit of an instigator, and could you just imagine having he and Travis Konecny on the same team? No one would be safe. It would be incredible.

What would you have to offer?

Tkachuk, while not being at the absolute top tier of available RFAs, is still a step up from Kapanen and would, as such, command a higher offer. Evolving Hockey’s contract projection has him at $7,980,355 annually (on a six year deal), which is just about the maximum that Calgary could afford to pay him, with the other contracts they have on the books, and to make sure they still have room to make the rest of their necessary signings. They don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room. The Flyers could conceivably sweep in with an offer of about $8.5 million and the Flames likely wouldn’t be able to match it. And if Tkachuk signs the offer sheet, the Flyers would owe the Flames a first, second, and third round pick.

They could jump up to $9 million in AAV, if they really wanted to create a bit of separation and make sure that the Flames really wouldn’t be able to match, but that would push them up into the next tier, and it would then cost the Flyers an additional first round pick.

Would you pull the trigger?

This one would be a more difficult yes, from me. Because I do like Tkachuck’s skill set and I think he would be valuable to the team, but he wouldn’t be at the top of my wishlist, because of the positional issue and how much shuffling would have to go on elsewhere in the roster to make this work. Plus that’s a lot of money tied up in one player. He’d probably be worth it, but a little bit of anxiety about handing out that big of a contract doesn’t seem unreasonable, if you ask me.

That said, if the Flyers decided they’re absolutely in love with him and they must have him, I wouldn’t be upset about it. Like I said earlier, he’s a very good player, and you can never have too many very good players on your team.

All stats via Corsica.Hockey