Alright, this is it. This will be my last Calgary Flames related post for the rest of the offseason. Since when did this website turn into Flames fanfic?
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
No doubt, the only reason I’ve had to write about Calgary so much in the last few months is a result of their tumultuous offseason. After losing superstars Johnny Gaudreau to free agency, and Matthew Tkachuk to a trade, it seemed that there were dark days ahead for the once-great Calgary Flames and their fan base. However, it appears as if the sun is starting to peek out from behind those rain clouds, as it was announced late on August 4th that the Flames would be extending newly acquired superstar, Jonathan Huberdeau, to an 8-year, $84 million extension.
Huberdeau arrived in Calgary as part of the blockbuster trade earlier this offseason that saw the Flames send Matthew Tkachuk, and a conditional fourth-round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a 2025 conditional first-round pick.
Many predicted that Huberdeau wouldn’t re-sign with the Flames, as a pattern had emerged that saw two aforementioned stars (Gaudreau and Tkachuk) refuse to stay with the team that drafted them and gave them a shot. I’m no Flames insider, but it seems as if there’s a culture issue within the organization that the players aren’t agreeing with.
As far as a return goes for Tkachuk, Calgary could have done much worse than Huberdeau. The 2011 third overall pick finished fifth in the Hart Trophy voting last year as league MVP. Huberdeau ended the season with 115 points on 30 goals and 85 assists.
There’s no question that Huberdeau is playing some of the best hockey of his career right now, so his on-ice production shouldn’t be a concern for the Flames and their fans. What should concern them, however, is his age.
Huberdeau is 29 years old going into the 2022-23 season, and just signed an 8-year deal with Calgary, meaning that the Flames will be paying him $10.5 million per year well into his age 37 season. Let’s just say that Huberdeau’s production starts falling off as he nears his mid-thirties; $10.5 million per is a lot of money for a guy who isn’t what he used to be, making it an extremely hard contract for the Flames to get rid of, and it will be a huge hit on their cap space for years to come, which will make it difficult for them to be in-play for any big name free-agent over the next 8 years.
That is neither here nor there, however, because we can’t base anything off of “what if’s.” The fact of the matter is that Huberdeau is extremely good right now, and a big contract is the price that Calgary had to pay in order to make sure that they stay competitive over the next few years.
There is no doubt that Huberdeau has more than earned the $84 million that’s coming his way. The only issue that has the skeptics talking, is the length of said contract.