Why Cole Schwindt may very well be the wild card in Flames-Panthers commerce

Over the previous a number of days, I’ve had the possibility to take a seat again and digest the latest commerce between the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames.

Was I shocked that the Panthers would make a pitch to accumulate Matthew Tkachuk?

Completely not!

Why wouldn’t Florida kick tires on an elite 24-year-old who performs the best way Tkachuk does and is coming off a profession 12 months (42 G | 62 A | 104 PTS). His model of play is precisely what the Panthers wanted so as to add to their core.

However at what value?

The Flames win the commerce with the Panthers and it’s not as a result of they add Jonathan Huberdeau and his manufacturing (30 G | 85 A | 115 PTS). It’s as a result of in addition they landed MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a first-round decide in 2025 (the Flames additionally gave up a conditional fourth-round decide in 2025).

Throughout my time with the Panthers group, we chosen Weegar kind Halifax within the QMJHL, 206th general on the 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey. Halifax additionally had a child named Nathan MacKinnon on their roster that 12 months and he went first general to Colorado. The Panthers have been additionally in on the draft lottery that 12 months, so we had a number of eyes on MacKinnon all through the season. Weegar, to his credit score, jumped out to us as nicely. Paul Gallagher was the QMJHL scout for the Panthers at the moment and supplied us with the background data required to take an opportunity on a participant like Weegar. The remaining, as they are saying, is historical past.

Weegar has blossomed into fairly the participant:

However the growing story on this commerce, for my part, is the acquisition of Schwindt by the Flames.

We chosen Schwindt in Spherical 3 (81st general) of the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.  What we preferred about Schwindt was the year-over-year development of his sport. Steelheads head coach and normal supervisor James Richmond clearly trusted Schwindt after his OHL rookie season as he was given a big enhance in duty and rewarded the workforce with 49 factors (19 G | 30 A) in his draft 12 months. The next season, he went to a different degree offensively, scoring71 factors in 57 video games (28 G | 43 A) through the COVID-shortened 2019-2020.

Statistically talking, Schwindt was displaying the flexibility to search out area within the offensive zone and infrequently rating off the push. He was additionally displaying that he might create coming off the boards down low whereas going to the online searching for suggestions and rebounds.

What impressed me most, nonetheless, was his consideration to element. Schwindt is a rangy, right-shot centre who may play the wing. His capacity to win attracts in all three zones is a component groups search for in gamers and coaches like to lean on and belief. In time, the Flames will worth him as nicely for his pedigree within the face-off circle. There isn’t an oz. of cheat in Schwindt’s sport. He tracks again the total size of the ice. He by no means cuts corners. In my view, he has an opportunity to provide secondary offence on the NHL degree. He seemingly received’t land on one of many power-play items, however he can penalty kill and match up strategically.

The AHL will not be a straightforward league to develop your commerce, but Schwindt produced 40 factors (19 G | 21 A) enjoying for Charlotte in his rookie season. His manufacturing was tied for second most in workforce scoring. True to his id as a participant, he led the workforce with a plus-22 ranking.

Like many NHL gamers, Schwindt will at all times should work on his skating. He has improved his stride and leg energy considerably over time, however the NHL is a Method 1 race and he might want to fine-tune his tempo all through his profession.

I’ve personally witnessed Schwindt’s development and consider in his potential shifting ahead.

The largest factor gamers like Weegar and Schwindt have going for them is their character. Weegar wasn’t imagined to be an NHL ‘D’ however has persevered and may very well be a top-pairing defenceman for the Flames. Schwindt isn’t an NHL common but however he’s not far off. A giant physique, right-shot, detailed centre is tough to search out within the NHL on the proper worth. I’ve little question Schwindt will ship for the Flames.

I even have little question that Flames director of scouting Todd Button is smiling from ear to ear with the acquisition of Schwindt (who he has tracked for years). To not point out that he and his workers additionally get an additional probability to swing for the fences with the 2025 first-round decide in addition they inherited within the commerce.

One thing to consider …

All NHL gamers are paid in US {dollars} Some gamers from the USA would like to play of their residence nation. Conversely, some Canadian gamers take pleasure in enjoying in Canadian markets.

Each Huberdeau and Weegar are Canadians. They’re each scheduled to change into UFA’s after 2022-2023. They recognize the depth related to enjoying in a Canadian market and I consider they may thrive within the surroundings.

A participant being paid $9.5 million per 12 months enjoying in locations like Nashville, Dallas and Florida take residence roughly $5.7 million after taxes.

A participant being paid the identical however enjoying in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal will finish with roughly $4.5 million after taxes.  A participant trying to signal long-term in Calgary is simply shy of $5 million yearly after taxes.

Nevertheless, different issues should be taken under consideration. For example: the conversion of the $USD to $CDN is a bonus that takes a number of the chunk out of the tax situation.

The final word “win” for Brad Treliving on this commerce might be getting each Huberdeau and Weegar signed to long-term extensions.

Ought to that occur, then we glance again at this commerce and actually applaud the Flames for touchdown all these belongings. As nice a participant as Tkachuk is and could be sooner or later, having a roster with Huberdeau, Weegar, Schwindt and whoever their first-round decide in 2025 turns into makes this a transparent victory for Calgary.

On the horizon …

The annual summer season Underneath-18 Hlinka/Gretzky Cup is being performed from July 31 – August 6 in Pink Deer Alberta. Nations competing are Canada, USA, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Czechia and Germany.

The 2023 NHL Draft is projected to be an elite class. The Hlinka/Gretzky Cup marks the start of a brand new scouting season so I, together with colleague Sam Cosentino, will report again on the highest performers from the occasion, throughout and after the event.

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