The dominos are falling fast in Calgary less than a week after Johnny Gaudreau left the Flames in free agency and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Talk has now shifted to Matthew Tkachuk, who has reportedly told the Flames' front office that he will not sign a long-term deal with them, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford and Haley Salvian.
Rutherford and Salvian report that, while Tkachuk has not officially handed in a trade request, they believe he will likely be moved this week in what would be a blockbuster trade.
The Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration with Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, on Monday, pointing to another sign that things are going downhill fast. There is a strong feeling that Tkachuk has indicated to the Flames that he isn’t interested in extending his stay in Calgary and would prefer to continue his career in the United States, closer to family.
Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reported on Tuesday that “it is the beginning of the end for Matthew Tkachuk as a Calgary Flame.”
“That might sound shocking and the finality of it is quite jarring, especially with what this marketplace has just gone through with Johnny Gaudreau. I think for years people have seen that this is a very real possibility, and here we are,” Francis explained during an episode of Tim and Friends.
"This is the beginning of the end for Matthew Tkachuk as a Calgary Flame."@EricFrancis explains how Matthew Tkachuk could be traded out of Calgary by the end of the week. #Flames pic.twitter.com/hxsrLFIHYw
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) July 19, 2022
Francis went on to explain on the air of BK & FERRARIO on ESPN 101 that he expects the St. Louis Blues to attempt to acquire Tkachuk within the coming week. The Blues have had rumoured interest in Tkachuk for some time and speculation is that Tkachuk has eyes on the team as well. After all, he is a St. Louis native, and he would be a second-generation Blue, as his father, USA Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk, played almost half his career in St. Louis, where he still resides.
“Obviously, massive hole when you lose Gaudreau for nothing. Tkachuk, you’re going to get a return, you’re going to get a top-six forward there is no question about it, you’re going to get draft picks, you’re going to get young prospects. I think Matthew Tkachuk, and I’ve said this for years, I believe he is an absolute unicorn in the National Hockey League,” said Francis on ESPN 101.
The Blues have little space left on their cap with $625,000 available, however, they are reportedly open to moving defenseman Torey Krug, and the team is still looking at trading Vladimir Tarasenko — who hasn’t rescinded his trade request from last offseason. He could step in right away and deliver a lot of offence for Calgary.
Arbitration hearings don’t begin until July 27 and run through Aug. 11, but if Tkachuk goes through that process he can’t negotiate an extension until Jan. 1, 2023.
More from Yahoo Sports