The Nashville Predators are reportedly on the list of potential landing spots for Calgary Flames star forward Matthew Tkachuk.

This according to a report from The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, published today amid Tkachuk’s ongoing contract negotiations with the Flames.

From the article, which first states that Tkachuk is no longer interested in signing with the Flames, Rutherford goes on to say:

“One source familiar with Tkachuk’s list said that St. Louis, Vegas, Florida, Nashville and Dallas are options. New Jersey and the New York Rangers are also among the other teams that have expressed interest in the past.”

This is a new development in the saga between the Flames and Tkachuk. For several weeks, it sounded like the two parties would find common ground. Then, when Johnny Gaudreau left for Columbus, Calgary got even more desperate to not lose Tkachuk. Now it seems as though Tkachuk is more interested in following Gaudreau’s path than in staying in Calgary.

Naturally, this is also a huge development for Nashville.

Preds could land Tkachuk, but at what cost?

Previously, it sounded like Nashville would be a long shot for landing Tkachuk. But now it seems not only possible, but likely.

For one, Nashville has a better salary cap situation than most other teams on the list. St. Louis, Vegas, and Florida all have zero (or negative) cap space. They would have to make serious moves to clear space for Tkachuk. Nashville and Dallas have around $8 and $11 million in space respectively.

Nashville also has plenty of trade capital to work with. Young players like Philip Tomasino, Tanner Jeannot, and Eeli Tolvanen have NHL experience, which is something Calgary would want in return, in addition to high draft picks. The Preds have all of their 1st and 2nd round picks for the next three years, plus extra 3rd and 4th round picks in 2023. Colton Sissons name has also been mentioned in potential trade talks.

The only question would be if Calgary wanted one of Nashville’s top prospects. Yaroslav Askarov and Luke Evangelista are the two biggest names. I would assume one of those names to be on their wish list, but I am not sure if David Poile wants to part with them right now. Especially Askarov, who has all the makings of a future NHL star.

A potential trade package bringing Tkachuk to Nashville could look like this:

  • Tanner Jeannot, Colton Sissons, 1st round pick (2023), 3rd round pick (2024), Luke Evangelista
  • Eeli Tolvanen, Philip Tomasino, 1st round pick (2023), 2nd round pick (2023), Luke Evangelista
  • 1st round pick (2023), 3rd round pick (2023), Yaroslav Askarov

(Please note these are just estimations based on perceived value. They are not reports or even rumors. Jeremy Gover also had an interesting thread about the potential costs for Tkachuk you can read here.)

That might seem like a high cost. But remember that Calgary filed for team arbitration this week out of fear of an offer sheet. An offer sheet would have netted Calgary four 1st round picks in compensation… so they will likely want more than that in return value for Tkachuk.

Also, on the high cost, remember that Matthew Tkachuk is an extraordinary talent.

He’s only 24 years old and is coming off a 104 point season in which he scored 42 goals, playing all 82 games. His playing style and physicality would fit perfectly in Nashville. He’s tough on the boards, extremely skilled with the puck, and is one of the most intimidating players in the NHL.

Losing the potential futures of guys like Tomasino, Tolvanen, Evangelista, or Askarov would be manageable if Tkachuk is in the lineup every night. The Preds would instantly be a legitimate threat in the Western Conference with Tkachuk alongside Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Roman Josi.

In short, David Poile could instantly return the Nashville Predators to among the NHL’s elite with a move like this. The only question is if he’s willing to do so at such a high cost.

— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —