Pipa News |
After a tumultuous start to the off-season, the Calgary Flames announced some good news late Thursday night with the signing of newly acquired left winger Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension.
Last season, Calgary was 50-21-11 to take first place in the Pacific Division and record the franchise’s second-best regular season in five decades. But after being knocked out by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the bad news continued into the off-season with the departure of free agency star striker Johnny Gaudreau, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets. .
Things took another bad turn when right-wing star Matthew Tkachuk informed the team that he would not sign overtime, putting him in a position to leave as an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving didn’t want to risk losing two-thirds of what was one of the NHL’s top lines last season without getting anything in return. — with a $76 million eight-year deal in the US — and a fourth round for the Florida Panthers in exchange for Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a first round.
“They traded for me and they wanted me, and they spoke highly of me. You know, when you hear that, you want to play for a team that wants you and that’s why it was so important to me (to sign for the long term ) ).”
Less than two weeks later, Huberdeau is no longer a year away from free agency, even after agreeing to the biggest deal in Flames franchise history.
The signing comes just days after Treliving flew to Montreal to meet Huberdeau in person over dinner, a gesture that was appreciated and influenced the 29-year-old’s decision.
“He didn’t have to do that, we could have had a Zoom or something like that, but I personally think that’s how you get to know someone better and I appreciated that he took the time to come and see me from Calgary. It’s not a short flight,” said Huberdeau. “We just had a good chat and he flew right back. That made me think they really care about me and they want me to stay here.”
Big pay increase
For Huberdeau, who will be 30 when the contract goes into effect, the annual average value of $10.5 million is a significant increase from his current six-year deal that pays him $5.9 million a year. It also caps off a wild trajectory for Huberdeau, who was part of the Panthers organization for 11 years after being selected third overall in the 2011 NHL drawing.
“Emotionally it’s been a rollercoaster the last few weeks,” admitted Huberdeau. “Sure, the shock of the trade, I was a little bit down, but at the end of the day you want to look forward in life and that’s what I told myself and my family. It was important to turn the page. “
In Calgary, Huberdeau will continue to pursue post-season success that has largely eluded him in his pro career thus far. In his 10 years with the Panthers, he only made the post-season three times and last year’s second-round exit was the only trip after the first round.
It will also mark the first time the Montreal native has played in a Canadian market since 2012, when he finished his junior hockey career with the Saint John Sea Dogs.
He says his mom and dad can’t wait to go west and see his new city.
After his career best season of 115 points, in which Huberdeau put Gaudreau second in league scoring, the six-foot-one striker is eager to bounce back.
“Just excited to go,” he said. “Now that the business side is out, we’re going to win some games.”