If Matthew Tkachuk Is Available, Toronto Maple Leafs Must Go All-In

Matthew Tkachuk is the exact player that the Toronto Maple Leafs are missing.

Imagine a Toronto Maple Leafs first line of Matthew Tkachuk, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner? That would be the perfect combination of size and skill and they would be the most dominant line in the NHL.

Although it was a long time ago in junior, Tkachuk and Marner have a history together of putting up points and winning. Both players were members of the 2016 Memorial Cup winning London Knights and were one of the main reasons why they succeeded.

In 18 playoff games, Marner had 18 goals and 44 points, while Tkachuk had 18 goals and 40 points (stats: hockeydb.com). They were dominant junior hockey players and it made a lot of sense why they were drafted so high in the NHL (Marner, 4th overall/Tkachuk, 6th overall).

Since being drafted, Tkachuk has blossomed into a top-line left-winger and just had his best season of his career, finishing with 42 goals and 104 points.

However, after Johnny Gaudreau just left the Calgary Flames, the organization seems to be in-flux, because there are now rumors that Tkachuk may want to leave as well. He’s currently an RFA, so the Flames hold his rights still, but it could spark a trade if the Flames feel like he’ll want to walk as a UFA soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs Should Trade Nylander for Tkachuk

The Toronto Maple Leafs have long been missing a power-forward from their otherwise powerful lineup.  The power forward – at least one as good as Tkachuk – is one of the rarest NHL players, and if one is available, the Leafs must act.

Tkachuk’s qualifying offer was $9M and he didn’t accept it. Based on that qualifying offer, it wouldn’t be shocking if he’s looking at a long-term deal worth $10M AAV or more.  He’s likely to get it too.

He is only 24, and is just coming off  a season where he scored over 40 goals. Here is a potential trade idea:

  • Toronto Maple Leafs acquire: Matthew Tkachuk
  • Calgary Flames acquire: William Nylander, Alex Kerfoot and 2023 3rd Round Pick + whatever else it takes to make it happen.

This is one of the rare exceptions where it might make sense for the Leafs to trade Nylander. He is one-year older than Tkachuk, but they’ve basically played the same amount of games and have put up every similar points:

  • William Nylander:
    • 439 games played, 137 goals and 343 points
  • Matthew Tkachuk:
    • 431 games played, 152 goals, 382 points (stats: hockeydb.com)

If Calgary was ever going to trade Tkachuk, this is probably the best return they can get.

Not only would it be great for Calgary, but it would be great for Toronto, because Tkachuk is the exact player the Leafs are missing. They need a big body in the top-six who can score and hit and bring a different element during playoff-time.

Even the Tkachuk family would love this trade because it would bring both of their son’s only 4 hours away from each other and they’d get to play in the Battle of Ontario together eight times a year.

We’re still waiting for a monster trade to happen this offseason from Toronto and if they’re going to make one, it should be this.