Calgary Flames star Matthew Tkachuk has informed the team he doesn't intend to sign a new contract, according to The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford and Hailey Salvian.
Rutherford and Salvian reported Tkachuk hasn't formally requested a trade but that one is "likely to happen soon" because of his position on a long-term deal.
The report said the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars are among his preferred destinations.
Tkachuk might be a restricted free agent, but Calgary doesn't have much recourse if he doesn't want to sign a multiyear pact.
The Flames announced Monday they filed for salary arbitration with Tkachuk. While that could result in a one-year deal, the final outcome would basically be the same. He either leaves via trade now, or he leaves later as an unrestricted free agent.
One of those scenarios is better for Calgary than the other.
Especially on the heels of Johnny Gaudreau's signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, losing Tkachuk would be a huge blow. But the circumstances of Gaudreau's departure also provide one reason to take the best trade offer for the 24-year-old.
Andy Strickland @andystrickland
Matthew Tkachuk is avoiding a Johnny Gaudreau situation by notifying the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flames</a> he won't re-sign. Last things the team needs is to drag this out over next season. Actually doing team a favor by being honest with them.
The Flames aren't in a totally advantageous position because everybody is aware of the conundrum in front of general manager Brad Treliving. But Tkachuk is so good that he should fetch a strong return.
The Arizona native totaled 104 points (42 goals and 62 assists) in 2021-22, and his production is unlikely to slow down. He can be a franchise cornerstone for years to come.
The cost to acquire Tkachuk will be high between the assets required for a trade and his next contract. But the investment should be more than worth it.