Date of Birth: December 11, 1997 (18)
Place of Birth: Scottsdale, AZ
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 195 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Team: London Knights
With 568 goals and 1065 points Matthew Tkachuk’s father, Keith, forged a legacy as an NHL legend and finished his career as the 5th highest scoring American in league history. Those are some enormous shoes to fill, but there’s no question that the younger Tkachuk plays with shades of his father’s game. The draft’s top Finns may have more flash, but Tkachuk’s rare combination of skill and physical play may make him the premier power winger in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
What Scouts See
Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
A multi-dimensional energy winger that plays a pro-style, adaptive game. Well-versed as a guy who can consistently put up points, but also as an agitator who plays with a little bit of bite and nastiness. Skates with excellent balance and speed, outclassing many in his age range. No lack of offensive instincts and knows how to score in many different ways. Confidence in his abilities and playing to the extent of his capabilities strengthens his work ethic and creativity. All-in-all, a unique and effective forward who defines his own limits and seeks to exceed them, along with all on-ice expectations.
Scott Wheeler, Future Considerations
“Stylistically, he plays with both power and finesse despite not being an elite skater. He handles the puck well in tight and in stride and can score as well as he passes. His strength as one of the best defensive wingers in the OHL as well as his physicality make him an even more dynamic option at left wing. Defensively, he’s relentless on loose pucks and does an excellent job lifting them off defenders to create turnovers. His maturity, and strength in both ends as a powerful offensive threat both lend well to transferring into an NHL-ready game sooner rather than later.
What BSN Avalanche sees
What is there to say about Matthew Tkachuk, except that he is a complete, offensive dynamo sure to be picked in the top 5 selections of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Tkachuk is a model power forward, and while he’s not the biggest player, he’s extremely strong and uses his body exceptionally well to create offense. Tkachuk doesn’t have game breaking speed on his feet, but if there’s one word to describe his play overall, it’s quick. Tkachuk is quick to make decisions with and without the puck, has quick hands and a quick release which are critical to his success considering how much time he spends close to the opposing net. He’s a confident without any hesitation in his game.
Tkachuk loves the physical side of the game, and while he won’t dominant larger NHL opponents right away, he should have no problem adjusting to the physicality of professional hockey. Tkachuk does need to harness some of his aggressive play to stay in control and avoid taking bad penalties, but that’s a small black mark on an otherwise sterling junior game.
Tkachuk projects as a top six power forward in the NHL and has the offensive gifts necessary to make him an impact scorer at the next level.
Expected Draft Position
Once considered the consensus #4 pick, a big second half push from Pierre Luc-Dubois and shifting perception on defensemen like Jacob Chychrun and Olli Juolevi has caused Tkachuk to slip slightly. However, Tkachuk's impressive Memorial Cup tournament may have earned him the 4th overall selection once more. With the draft’s top three all but locked in already, it’s safe to assume that Tkachuk will be drafted sometime between 4th and 7th where the Arizona Coyotes could have an opportunity to pick the draft’s second best Arizona native.
How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization
As a high impact scoring winger with a nose for the front of the net, Matthew Tkachuk would address the Avalanche’s single greatest organizational need at the prospect level, impact scoring forwards. With NHL size, strength, and playstyle Tkachuk is widely considered an NHL ready prospect and on the Avalanche he would slot in behind Gabriel Landeskog on the left wing depth chart. Should the Avalanche trade up to acquire Tkachuk, he and last year’s first round pick Mikko Rantanen would serve to restock the Avs’ core forward group, giving them a formidable top six for years to come.
Barring a near unprecedented drop in the draft, Matthew Tkachuk will certainly be off the board before the Avalanche pick 10th overall, however, his high ceiling and excellent fit could be appealing enough that the Avs consider trading up a few spots if he begins to fall.