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How the Matthew Tkachuk-Flames negotiations turned on a dime

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26.09.2019

CALGARY — Heading into free agency, Matthew Tkachuk’s original goal was simple.

Sign as long as possible for as much as possible.

Who could blame him, especially in a thriving hockey market, on a team that finished tops in the west last regular season.

In his eyes, a five-year pact that would walk him into unrestricted free agency like his pal Auston Matthews signed would have been ideal. Six or seven years was every bit as intoxicating to drink in, especially when the average annual value would then have to approach somewhere in the $9-million range.

After all, at age 21 he’s already being tabbed as the Flames’ future captain.

However, as Labour Day approached and the stalemate between Tkachuk and the Flames made it clear training camp wasn’t in his future, the feisty winger had a significant change of heart that ultimately got the deal done.

“We thought long-term was going to be the way from the start,” said Tkachuk late Wednesday afternoon, as part of a whirlwind day that started with agreement on a three-year, $21-million deal at 1:30 a.m.

“Talking to Tre (GM Brad Treliving) we knew the........

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