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Florida Panthers trade Jonathan Huberdeau for Matthew Tkachuk

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Tkachuk
Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Florida Panthers made a splash on Friday night, sending Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames for Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk agreed to an eight-year deal with a $9.5 million annual cap hit before his arrival to South Florida — making this what is believed to be the first sign-and-trade in NHL history.

The restricted free agent was set to hit arbitration after coming off of a 104-point season and refused to sign a long-term extension with Calgary.

“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,” said Florida general manager Bill Zito in a statement provided by the team.

“He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”

Florida was on a list of teams that was believed to have included Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis and Vegas that he was willing to sign an extension with.

Zito jumped at the opportunity.

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He sent Huberdeau and Weegar to Calgary along with 2019 third-round pick Cole Schwindt and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick to get the deal done.

The Panthers also received a conditional fourth-round pick in the deal.

Huberdeau was Florida’s all-time leader in games played (671) and points (613) and is coming off of the best season of his career.

“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,” Zito said.

“They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise and we wish them both continued success in their future.”

He finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting after posting 115 points and leading the league in assists with 85.

Weegar is coming off of his second of back-to-back seasons of finishing in the top 15 in Norris Trophy voting.

Both Huberdeau and Weegar are set to become unrestricted free agents following the 2022-23 season.

Zito said that he was working on extensions for both players but ultimately ended up trading them.

With Tkachuk’s extension, the Panthers are $4 million over the salary cap following the trade, per PuckPedia.

Florida will free up $3 million by placing Anthony Duclair on LTIR at the beginning of the season after he sustained an Achilles injury this offseason.

They will need to free up another $1 million to be cap compliant.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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