IceHogs Make Gust Signing Official, Thoughts on the Flames-Panthers Blockbuster, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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IceHogs Make Gust Signing Official, Thoughts on the Flames-Panthers Blockbuster, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

There were some trades in the NHL yesterday, including a blockbuster that involved a pair of wingers coming off of 100-point seasons late last night. Let’s get into some local stuff before we discuss the big news from elsewhere this morning.

  • The Rockford IceHogs made the signing of Orland Park, IL native David Gust official on Friday. Gust, 28, helped the Chicago Wolves win a Calder Cup last season, logging 36 points (16G, 20A) in 64 games with the IceHogs’ in-state rival.
  • Gust signed a one-year deal with the IceHogs and has spent the last two seasons with the Wolves. Guts played his college hockey at Ohio State and has spent time in the USHL and the AHL during his pro career. A two-way contract with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019 brought him to the Wolves, but Gust has yet to make his way to the NHL and is on an AHL deal in Rockford.
  • The IceHogs dropped their 2022-23 schedule recently:
  • The Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers swung a blockbuster deal late last night that will send Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-rounder to the Panthers with Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schmidt, and a conditional 2025 first-round draft pick heading back to Calgary.
  • According to Elliotte Friedman, the Panthers and Tkachuk already have a contract extension in place that will run for five years at an AAV of $9.5 million. This trade makes you wonder what the added value the Blackhawks might have been able to get in the Alex DeBrincat trade had DeBrincat been willing to sign an extension with Ottawa immediately.
  • My initial reaction was that Florida overpaid a little bit in this one. Still, the more I think about it this morning, I don’t think it was a bad deal for the Panthers, who add an elite 24-year-old winger coming off a 104-point season for the next five years at the expense of two potential rental players, a prospect, and a conditional future first-rounder.
  • Huberdeau was exceptional last season, scoring a career-best 115 points for the Panthers, but he’s heading into the final season of his contract with a $5.9 million cap hit at 30 years old. The Panthers’ former third-overall pick in the NHL Draft will be a UFA and due for a raise if he has a season like he did last year, but extending him at a cap hit north of $6 million ahead of his age-31 season is risky business. The Panthers essentially brought in a younger left-handed shooting left-winger who is also coming off a career-best 100-point season at a cap him just a few million more for the next half-decade.
  • On the other hand, Calgary gets a very talented veteran to take Tkachuk’s spot, but there’s no guarantee that Huberdeau will re-sign with Calgary as a UFA next summer. I actually doubt it happens; he’ll; he’ll want to go somewhere and win. Calgary isn’t that, and the Flames, who seem to be hitting a bit of a reset here with the loss of Johnny Gaudreau and now Tkachuk, can rest their books when Huberdeau’s deal expires.
  • Like Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar will be a UFA after the season, and his $3.2 million cap hit will likely not be Calgary’s concern beyond this season. I ultimately feel like both sides got what they needed in this deal. Calgary took two expiring contracts that total $9.15 million off of Florida’s hands, and Florida gets Tkachuk for the next five seasons at a nearly identical cost that they just opened up in the trade. Calgary gets a prospect, future cap freedom, and a future first.
  • Cole Schwindt is a B prospect drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft by Florida, coming off of a 40-point season with the Charlotte Checkers (the Panthers AHL affiliate).
  • One last thought on this trade, one that adds some value to the return for Calgary: I’m sure there will be no shortage of contenders looking to add a pair of veteran performers like Huberdeau and Weegar, and I’m sure Calgary will be plenty willing to listen and flip them to add more future assets. Keep an eye on that front.
  • All right, on to another trade from yesterday. Columbus sent Oliver Bjorkstrand to Seattle in exchange for a 2023 third-rounder and a 2023 fourth-rounder.
  • Bjorkstrand scored 57 points for the Blue Jackets last season and is entering the second season of a five-year deal signed with Columbus ahead of the 2021-22 season. The 5×5 deal for the right-handed winger will cost Seattle $5.4 this season and each of the next three seasons.
  • With the cap space cleared in the Bjorkstrand deal, Columbus extended Patrick Laine.
  • The Bulls’ front office should kick the tires on Jared Vanderbilt if Minnesota is willing to trade him.
  • Bears rookies report to training camp today, but one rookie still without a contract will be missing.
  • That’s it for today!


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.