Calgary dramaticaly underperofmed in 2022-23, while one of its former stars Matthew Tkachuk has lead his new team the Florida Panthers all the way to the Stanley Cup Final but NHL trades are not won and lost in one season, and Jonathan Huberdeau could yet turn out to be the better investment in years to come.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Maybe this is an unpopular take to make. You cannot declare. It's very rare that you can declare a winner of a trade after a year it happened. It's entirely possible Matthew Tkachuk turns into a generational player, turns into the best player out of that trade.
But maybe Huberdeau ends up bouncing back and ends up giving the Flames what they need, too. MacKenzie Weegar is going to be the highest-paid defenseman on that Flames team. They could still come out of this pretty well. And maybe Matthew Tkachuk still gets what he wants in Florida. It's possible he could get both winners out of it.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: God forbid something happens to Matthew Tkachuk and his stats fall off for the rest of his career. What are we going to say about that trade then? Look, I-- I [INAUDIBLE].
SAM CHANG: I mean, [INAUDIBLE], he's had a great season. But if he plays the next however many games in the Cup Finals like he did game 1--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: What are people going to say then?
SAM CHANG: [INAUDIBLE]
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I was having a whole conversation with some Calgary friends about this the other day. This is like the first real playoff run. Hey, look, I've praised Matthew Tkachuk. And I think he's a top-five player. This is the first real playoff run where Matthew Tkachuk has like really performed. Because there are other people who would say like, no, like he's disappeared in the playoffs. Like this is the first real run where Matthew Tkachuk has emerged as the star player he was supposed to be--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: --like he was supposed to be in Calgary. So like I get it. It looks really bad on its surface. And it could be a lot worse years to come. It's just-- it's been a year. Like let's not declare a winner and a loser. Like even when the trade happened, I was like, all right. We got to see what happens. I don't-- like I think Calgary made out OK in that trade. But I also understand why people feel a way. Because it was revealed that they did consider the possibility of rebuilding last summer.
OMAR: Oh, [INAUDIBLE], good times, good times.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah.