Matthew Tkachuk‘s trade to the Florida Panthers by the Calgary Flames on Friday for forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, as well as forward prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional first-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, was the biggest trade of the offseason and one of the biggest in recent memory.

The Panthers also received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025.

Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, agreed to an eight-year contract with Florida through the 2029-30 season.

[RELATED: Tkachuk traded to Panthers by Flames for Huberdeau, Weegar]

This trade will likely be talked about for days to come as it reshapes the balance of power in the Pacific and Atlantic Divisions and excites fans of each of the teams involved.

We asked five staffers for their initial thoughts on the trade.

Panthers could be even stronger

This trade offers plenty of storylines, but I can’t help but think of the impact that Tkachuk could have on a team already considered a Stanley Cup contender. Not to mention the fact that he’ll face his brother, Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk, three times because each of their teams is in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers did part with some key pieces, but Tkachuk is worth it. The 24-year-old is in his prime and plays with tons of energy and emotion, something the Panthers may have lacked when they were swept in four games by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Second Round last season. Tkachuk set NHL career highs in goals (42), assists (62) and points (104). He plays a tough, hard-nosed style that will certainly bode well for either Aleksander Barkov or Sam Bennett at center next season. — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Video: Top 5 Matthew Tkachuk Plays from the 2021-22 Season

Flames remain relevant in Pacific

Let’s give general manager Brad Treliving credit for making the best of bad situation here. Less than two weeks ago he had tabled an eight-year contract offer to forward Johnny Gaudreau with a vision of having Johnny Hockey and Tkachuk be the long-term foundation in Calgary. Then Gaudreau opted to join the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, informed the Flames he would not re-sign, and suddenly Treliving saw the core of his team ripped apart. That he was able to get two quality players back from the Panthers in Huberdeau (115 points; 30 goals, 85 assists last season) and Weeger (44 points; eight goals, 36 assists) allows Calgary to remain relevant in the Pacific Division race this season. Huberdeau, 29, and Weeger, 28, each is entering the final season of his contract, so it’s a good bet that Treliving knows about how much money it will take to keep each. It remains to be seen if he can make it happen or if he will face a similar situation next offseason. In the meantime, he’s given Flames fans a glimmer of hope in an offseason when there hadn’t been much. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Stunning changes come swiftly for Calgary

I’m with Zeisberger on the Flames general manager making the best of a tough situation. Still, it’s one of those things where I had to rub my eyes this morning and say, “Wait, not one but two 100-point scorers are gone?” With Tkachuk traded the week after Gaudreau (115 points; 40 goals, 75 assists) signed with the Blue Jackets, it’s the end of an era, or at least a mini era. Just like Gaudreau, Tkachuk was selected by the Flames (No. 6 in the 2016 NHL Draft) and played his entire career with them, and I expected him to be in Calgary for quite a while. Sure, the Flames got a great player in Huberdeau, another 100-point scorer last season, but they’re going to miss Tkachuk’s grit. Two members of last season’s top line (Gaudreau and Tkachuk played with center Elias Lindholm) are gone. It’s just going to be a different look in Calgary, and I’m still blinking in disbelief. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

Video: Top 5 Jonathan Huberdeau Plays from 2021-22 Season

Trade looks like win for both teams

I was driving home from my ball hockey game late Friday when my son informed me that Tkachuk was going to Florida. I was stunned at first and knew I had to race home to help get a story posted, not really thinking about the return Calgary was getting. When he informed me Huberdeau and Weegar were part of the package, I couldn’t help but think this was a win-win situation for the Flames and Panthers. I love everything that Tkachuk brings to the ice, the talent, grit, attitude and toughness the Panthers need to win in the playoffs, something they have not been able to do with their current core. Adding Tkachuk to play for a coach like Paul Maurice gives Florida a completely different look. As for the Flames, I agree with Mike and Tracey that they made the best of a bad situation. Everyone knew Tkachuk didn’t want to sign a long-term contract, so for them to be able get Huberdeau and Weegar for Tkachuk is big. I’ve seen people pointing out the fact that Huberdeau and Weegar each can become an unrestricted free agent after this season as a bad thing. Well, I think it’s a good thing. If this doesn’t work out, the Flames can move on from them, perhaps before the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline for future assets, which could give them a ton of space available under the NHL salary cap before next season. — Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

Panthers won’t be same without Huberdeau

Will each team look different for the upcoming season after this trade? Yes. Did each team get better after this deal? That’s debatable. What’s not debatable is that Huberdeau was one of two faces of the Panthers. For the past 10 seasons the No. 3 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, has been a cornerstone of the team. A big power forward (6-foot-1, 202 pounds), Huberdeau grew with the Panthers, getting better each season as the team around him went from also-ran to contender for the Stanley Cup. For each of the past nine seasons, he has been joined by Barkov, often on the same line. The dynamic duo was a foundation for one of the most exciting teams in the League last season. No matter what Tkachuk brings to the Panthers — and as my colleagues have pointed out here, it will be a lot — it will be weird, and a little unsettling, to watch Florida for the first time and not see the player who holds the records for games (671), points (613) and assists (415) as a member of the Panthers wearing the ferocious cat logo on his chest. — Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

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