Tkachuk to be traded imminently after telling Flames he won't sign an extension

Eric Francis joins Ken Reid on Sportsnet Central to discuss why Matthew Tkachuk and potentially other American-born NHL players might not want to spend their entire careers playing for a Canadian team.

Matthew Tkachuk will be traded imminently after telling the Calgary Flames he does not plan to re-sign long-term with the team, Sportsnet's Eric Francis has learned, setting the stage for the franchise to part ways with a second star this off-season.

Calgary filed for club-elected salary arbitration with Tkachuk in order to eliminate the possibility of an offer sheet, a move the team said was part of a bid to buy time to work out a long-term deal. A hearing is expected to be held between July 27 and Aug. 11, though no date has been announced. A one-year contract would be awarded if the parties did go through the arbitration process.

However, skepticism was rampant that such a tactic would bare any fruit, with Sportsnet's Eric Francis saying it was most reasonable to interpret the move as the team being on the brink of having to part with Tkachuk.

By electing to go the arbitration route, though, the Flames have a few extra days to work out either a sign-and-trade deal, or a traditional one in which Tkachuk's rights are dealt to another team.

Tkachuk's pending departure marks the latest change to the organization in what has been a transformative off-season, with the news of his reluctance to sign a deal coming just days after former Flames star Johnny Gaudreau opted to leave town, signing a seven-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an unrestricted free agent.

The 24-year-old is coming off a three-year, $21-million deal with the Flames, who drafted him sixth overall in 2016. Should a trade come to be, it is likely that his next destination will be a market in which he is open to re-signing long-term to an eight-year extension. It's expected that any deal Tkachuk agrees to would come it at around $9 million per year.

Tkachuk is coming off a career-best season, scoring 42 goals to go with 62 assists for 104 points in 82 games. The Flames ultimately fell in Round 2 to the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs, where Tkachuk produced 10 points in 12 games.

In 431 games across seven seasons, all with Calgary, Tkachuk has 152 goals and 230 points — ranking second in his draft class with 382 points, behind only Auston Matthews.

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