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How much can the Calgary Flames afford to pay Tkachuk?

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The Calgary Flames will almost certainly have to trade one of their veterans to sign Matthew Tkachuk.

An informal survey of some of the league’s top agents regarding Tkachuk’s worth as a restricted free agent confirms the 21-year-old power forward will come at a cost that far exceeds his projected annual salary.

That price tag could very well include T.J. Brodie or Michael Frolik.

Over the next few months GM Brad Treliving needs to ink Tkachuk, two starting goalies, Sam Bennett, Andrew Mangiapane and several depth players, which may also include unrestricted free agent Garnet Hathaway.

He has just $14.5 million to do so, which is problematic given Tkachuk is poised to shatter Jarome Iginla’s franchise record cap hit of $7 million.

“If five years is what Tkachuk wants he’s on the right track,” said one of the league’s most prominent agents.

“I would even argue four years, but the team won’t want that. I would use (Oilers forward Leon) Draisaitl as my floor to start negotiations (at $8.5 million annually). Tkachuk falls somewhere between $8.5 million and $10 million. I wouldn’t put him above (Auston) Matthews.”

Matthews and fellow Leaf William Nylander upped the restricted free agent market last year with deals at $11.6 million and $6.9 million respectively.

Draisaitl’s eight-year swindle moved the needle a year earlier with a deal that infuriated GMs around the league and sets Tkachuk up........

© Sportsnet