In our 2018 NHL Draft Preview, we look closely at some of the prospects that could be available to the Hurricanes, who hold the second overall pick in the draft beginning June 22 in Dallas.
- DOB: 9/16/1999
- Team: Boston University (NCAA)
- Center/Left Wing | Shoots: L | 6’3”, 191 pounds
- 2017-18 Stats: 40 GP - 8G, 23A, 31 points, 61 PIM
The second of Keith Tkachuk’s sons to be considered in the top 10 of the NHL Draft in recent years, Brady is likely to be one of the first handful of forwards off the board on June 22. The younger Tkachuk has taken a different path to draft day than his brother and current Calgary Flame Matthew, but could end up being drafted around the same spot, sixth overall, as his brother was in 2016.
After graduating from the U.S. National Team Development Program, Tkachuk moved on to Boston University where he was an immediate contributor as a freshman. Brady ranked sixth among freshman forwards in the NCAA with 31 points, and his 23 assists were fourth. Although the power forward led all NCAA freshman with 131 shots, he scored just eight times, leading to a paltry 6.1% shooting percentage. Expect a much higher goals number from the sophomore-to-be in 2018-19, as the market corrects in his favor and his offensive game rounds out. Don’t be surprised to see Tkachuk closer to a 45-point player next season if healthy, with the only thing holding him back being any games missed due to his second World Junior Championships appearance in as many years.
As is the family pedigree, Tkachuk projects as a top-six power forward in terms of future NHL forecasting. He already has great size at 6’3” and also has the frame to add 20 or so more pounds over the next few years. To go along with his size, Tkachuk has top-end hockey smarts and passing ability and a bit of a raw feel to his game in terms of goal-scoring, with room to improve. He’s not the best skater when projecting top-end speed but he does have good balance and a stride that will only get stronger as he gets bigger.
Tkachuk can be a nightmare down low, using his instincts and size in the offensive zone to grind out possession and draw defenders to the puck. He doesn’t have a huge offensive arsenal yet in terms of creating his own offense, but is more than willing to go to the front of the net to cash in on offensive opportunities from deflections and rebounds.
The best asset that Tkachuk may have at this point in his career is that he has the ability to play in all three zones and in all situations. He is a physical player who can pair his strength with his hockey sense to make smart plays in support of the puck both at even strength and when his team is shorthanded, and will likely be a net-front staple later in his career on the power play.
Although Tkachuk is one of the older players in the draft, he is still raw. He will return to play for BU this upcoming season, and will be a mainstay with both the Terriers and Team USA at the World Juniors. Stylistically he’s a fit for many of the teams in the top ten, and his former coach David Quinn is the new bench boss for the Rangers, who pick ninth. I could see the Red Wings at 6, the Blackhawks at 8 and the Rangers at 9 all having interest if he makes it out of the top five.