He made a good impression at Vancouver Canucks Development Camp and earned himself a job with the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League. Left-shot free agent defenceman Chad Nychuk signed a one-year deal with the club after completing his junior career with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
The 21-year-old led WHL defencemen with 21 goals and was third among league blueliners with 71 points in 64 regular season games.
“Chad is a player we watched throughout his junior career,” Abbotsford GM Ryan Johnson said in the official announcement. “After making a very good impression at development camp in Vancouver, we are excited to have him join our group in Abbotsford this season.”
The Vancouver Canucks can hope that lefty NHL D-man prospect Jack Rathbone is ready to stick with the big club, leaving a void on the left side down in the AHL. Nychuk will add to that potential depth.
The writing was on the wall. After Johnny Gaudreau departed via free agency, the Calgary Flames knew they were going to lose fellow forward Matthew Tkachuk as well. He told the club he wouldn’t be signing long term. Flames General Manager Brad Treliving pulled a major trigger.
Announced Friday evening, Tkachuk went to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, forward prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional 1st-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft. Calgary tossed in a 2025 4th-round pick going the other way. Tkachuk immediately signed an eight-year contract extension with the Panthers for $9.5-million per season.
It’s quite a remarkable haul for Calgary, and likely indicates that the President’s Trophy winning Panthers were ready to shake up their core after falling short in the playoffs with a 2nd-round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They shook it up alright.
Huberdeau had a career-high 115 points in 80 games last season and led the NHL with 85 assists. The 29-year-old has 613 points in 671 NHL games, all with Florida, the team that drafted him 3rd-overall in 2011. 28-year-old righty D-man Weegar had 44 points in 80 games last season. He’s done pretty well for himself after being drafted in the 7th-round by the Panthers in 2013.
Tkachuk relocates to a sunnier climate after finishing last season with a career highs in goals (42), assists (62) and points (104). The 24-year-old played in all 82 of the Flames games. Tkachuk had four goals and six assists in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Pacific Division champs also lost in the 2nd-round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, to their provincial rival the Edmonton Oilers.
Huberdeau finished tied for 2nd in league scoring while Tkachuk finished eighth. Florida was swept in the battle of the Sunshine State while Calgary lost 4-games-to-1 in the Battle of Alberta.
Don’t expect any blockbusters from the Vancouver Canucks anytime soon, and the JT Miller rumours seem to be taking a break.