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Tkachuk expected to sign with Flames before training camp, GM says

Restricted free agent forward coming off NHL career highs in goals, assists

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Matthew Tkachuk will sign with the Calgary Flames by the start of training camp in September, general manager Brad Treliving said Friday of the restricted free agent forward.

"That's been our expectation, our hope, our goal," Treliving said. "That's what we're working toward. I know that's what Matthew wants as well. We've got to keep working away at it and get to the point where we can get a deal done that works for everybody. That's certainly our goal. Nothing has changed in that respect. We'll continue to grind away at it."

The 21-year-old had NHL career highs in goals (34), assists (43) and points (77) in 80 games last season, an increase of 28 points from 2017-18.

 

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"I know Matthew and his camp have been very committed," Treliving said. "They're committed to trying to get something done. We're committed to get something done. When you have a starting point of that, then at some point you find a way to get something done. That's really all it is. There's no other secret than that.

"You're trying to look after the player and get a sense for where the player's thoughts are, trying to articulate and show what the team position is."

Treliving has been working to create space under the NHL salary cap ($81.5 million for this season) to sign Tkachuk and Calgary's other remaining restricted free agent, forward Andrew Mangiapane. The Flames signed forward Sam Bennett on July 24 and goalie David Rittich on July 27, avoiding a scheduled salary arbitration hearing with each.

Video: COL@CGY, Gm1: Tkachuk deflects in shot for PPG

"In the cap world, there's only so many dollars to go around," Treliving said. "We've got good young players that we think are right in the prime or starting the primes of their careers. Matthew has established himself as a top-end player, top-end young player just three years into his career. You're trying to get them looked after and fit into the course of your overall team structure.

"Obviously, doing that and keeping your team as competitive as possible, that's been the job for the summer. We're certainly not done.

"As I said from the end of the season until now, and reiterate it, certainly getting Matthew and all of our RFAs and taking care of our internal business was job No. 1. You grind away at it each day, and we're still very confident we'll get it all taken care of."

Tkachuk, an alternate captain, was fourth in points on the Flames behind Johnny Gaudreau (99), Sean Monahan (82) and Elias Lindholm (78) last season. He was third in penalty minutes (62) and hits (104). Since entering the NHL in 2016-17, Tkachuk is second in the League in penalties drawn (118) behind Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (120).

"He cares so much about winning, and he'll do whatever it takes to win," Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. "That's his best quality, and that's why he gets into the scrums and he gets into the game and it's all those battles. He cares so much about winning.

"It's all going to work out, and he's going to be obviously a big part of our team for a long time. He's a really important guy to have in your room and have around, because when it comes down to it at the end of the day, he's all about winning. That's what you like to see."

Tkachuk, selected with the No. 6 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, has 174 points (71 goals, 103 assists) in 224 NHL games during three seasons with the Flames.

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