LA Kings should be in on Matthew Tkachuk this offseason

LA Kings (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

With the Ottawa Sun reporting that forward Matthew Tkachuk could be available this summer, the LA Kings should be active in trade talks.

I can already picture it. After an intense rivalry between the two in recent years, Matthew Tkachuk and Drew Doughty sign a peace treaty when the former is introduced to the LA Kings media.

Joking aside, the Ottawa Sun recently published an article indicating that the Calgary Flames could be in store for some changes this offseason. The article primarily discusses how the Flames should handle Johnny Gaudreau, but after another lackluster season, it might be time to make some bigger pieces available.

Enter Tkachuk.

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"They should also be open to offers on Matthew Tkachuk, who has one season left at $7 mil before becoming a RFA.With 10 goals and 30 points in 45 games, he hasn’t provided what he’s paid to give Calgary.As a leader on a team that’s 22nd and falling, he seems to be coming up short there, too.Trading Tkachuk shouldn’t be at the top of the ‘to-do’ list, but if somebody is putting a package on the table for the 23-year-old, the Flames shouldn’t hesitate to look inside.It’s not like he should be viewed as the “untouchable” his kid brother Brady is. – Ottawa Sun/Brennan"

The former sixth overall pick in 2016 is an established player in the league for being just 23 years of age. As noted above, he’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. He’s already making $7M AAV, so his next contract is expected to be an increase from that.

Still, a potential trade to acquire the left-winger would give the Kings a true goal scorer and a guy with a lot of fight to his game. He’s not much of a shot-blocker, but boy can Tkachuk deliver hits, finishing within the top three on the Flames in that department in each of the last three seasons.

I liken his game a lot to Dustin Brown‘s, but the Calgary Flame provides a little more offense. Tkachuk has also upped his physicality, logging at least 120 hits in the last two seasons. Below is a figure for career averages in Brown’s 17 years compared to Tkachuk’s five.

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With the 36-year-old in his last year under contract in the 2021-2022 season, there will be another changing of the guards. Brown’s leadership will be missed, and bringing in a guy like Tkachuk, who wears a letter in Calgary, makes a lot of sense.

The best way to describe Matthew Tkachuk is he’s that guy that everyone hates but everyone would love to have on their team.

“He just doesn’t stop, ever,” said defenceman Travis Hamonic when the two were teammates. “The way he hunts pucks, the way he gets on pucks on the forecheck, the way he holds onto pucks. He’s a younger player, so I guess maybe that pisses off people sometimes.”

The Kings need a guy like that on their roster.

In his year-end exit interview, Todd McLellan noted that the forecheck wasn’t as strong as last season than in his first year with the club. What better way to immediately improve it than bringing in a guy who is relentless on the forecheck?

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The Kings have the dollars and assets to get a deal like this done, but staying within the division could prevent Calgary from sending him to Los Angeles.