Calgary Flames fans received some long-awaited good news on the eve of the start of the regular season. Young up-and-coming star Matthew Tkachuk signed a three-year contract that will bring him back on the ice. Tkachuk was a restricted free agent, meaning the team needed to come to terms with the 21-year-old before he would report to the Flames to begin playing. The contract cost Calgary a whopping $21 million, or $7 million per year on average. It marks the largest “bridge contract” in NHL history. The contract will keep Tkachuk with the Flames through the 2021-2022 season, and then he will become an unrestricted free agent. The Flames would have probably preferred to sign Tkachuk to a longer-term deal than just these three years, as they will now have to face re-signing him again in the near future.
The Flames finished last season as the best team in the Western Conference with 107 points, and a lot of that was because of the rise of Tkachuk. The younger gritty winger ranked fourth on the team in scoring with 77 points and was tied for second on the team with 34 goals. Those were huge boosts over his second season in 2017-2018, when he recorded 24 goals and 49 points.
With Tkachuk back on the roster officially, he will re-join his place on the team’s second forward line, alongside Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. This line provides excellent depth and support to the start-studded first line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm.
That second line brings a lot of toughness and grit to the Flames, and that’s all led by the ferocious and fiery Tkachuk. With the youngster now back in the fold, Calgary is assured of having two very solid forward lines to roll out against competitors, assuming, of course, everyone is able to stay healthy.
Sportsbooks were already pretty high on the Calgary Flames entering the season. A lot of that had to do with the strong season the team had last year. It’s also likely that oddsmakers were assuming that Tkachuk would eventually sign with the team, so they didn’t drop their odds down too low.
After Tkachuk signed, it certainly made their fans breathe a sigh of relief. However, it didn’t change the Flames’ outlook on the season, at least according to the sportsbooks.
Both before and after the Tkachuk signing was announced, the Flames sit tied with the eighth best odds to win the Stanley Cup, at 20-1. They rank fifth in the Western Conference, according to odds to win the conference, at 9-1.
The season opener
The Flames will open their regular season on Thursday, October 3 as the visiting team against the Colorado Avalanche. Both of these teams are high-powered, and big things are expected this season from both sides as well. Right now, the Avalanche are favored as the home team in the game, according to most sportsbooks. The Avalanche have moneyline odds of -125 for the game, while the Flames have moneyline odds of +102.
Since there are still a few days before the game is actually played, these lines could adjust. Sportsbooks will also add puck lines, total goal lines as well as other props as the game draws nearer. Most sportsbooks post all their NHL lines the morning of the game.
If you want to get in on the exciting action of betting on the NHL and other sports, check out one of the online sportsbooks below.
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