Matthew Tkachuk Opens Up About Leaving the Calgary Flames

Matthew Tkachuk felt it was the right time and wanted to give the Calgary Flames as much notice as possible that he would be leaving the franchise. The news was tough to swallow after the team lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency, however Tkachuk stood his ground and tried to be as clear as possible about his intentions.

The Florida Panthers newest forward recently met with Eric Francis of Sportsnet and opened up about how things played out in Calgary over the last few weeks:

I feel like I did it the right way. I played my hardest. I tried to be in the community as much as possible. I knew pretty recently it was time for a change. ... There was no second-guessing it or delaying it. I told them right away. It's like ripping a Band-Aid off ... It's hard. I hope people can respect me for that, and for trying to help them out as much as they tried to help me out in this process, because I feel working together really did benefit both of us. I put myself in a position with the last deal I signed to kind of re-evaluate my life and my career at this stage, and I kind of came to the conclusion after the restricted free-agent period (July 13) that it was time to look elsewhere. There's a lot that went into it. There's no single reason why I left.

The trade to Florida was the first time in NHL history a sign-and-trade took place as Tkachuk signed with the Flames for the maximum eight years and after this season has a full no movement clause for five seasons and a 16-team no trade clause for the final three years. The 24-year-old finished last season with 42 goals and 104 points in 82 games. He shed some more light on how things played out with the teams involved:

We narrowed it to three teams that I would have been very, very happy to go to. But at the end of the day, Florida pushed like hell, and it all happened within a day. The thing I was most attracted to is the competitiveness and how close (the Panthers have) been and how good of a team they are and how great they will be in the future - it's something I really feel I can help with. All the guys are in their mid-to-late 20s. ... The chance to win was the most attractive. ... The sun, the beach, and all that stuff - don't get me wrong, that's really, unbelievably attractive, but the chance to win trumps it all.

Tkachuk Thanks Calgary For Everything

Photo credit:  Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports