Matthew Tkachuk Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #4

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Matthew Tkachuk, the son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuk is playing for the London Knights in the OHL this season. He put up 30 goals and 77 assists for 107 points in 57 games in the regular season, and has eight points in five playoff games. He was also an important part of Team USA’s bronze winning performance at the World Juniors with four goals and 11 points in seven games, including two goals in the bronze medal game itself. Tkachuk is a late birthday who is a graduate of the US NTDP program.  In his under 18 season with the program, he won a gold medal at the U18 World Championships, and put up 96 points in 65 games.

Matthew Tkachuk Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #4

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Dec 11 1997 — St. Louis, MO
Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

Tkachuk has very good positioning and high-end hockey sense, and the puck seems to follow him around the ice. He understands how to find open spots in the defence. He has an excellent shot and release, as well as a soft touch in close to the net, making him a real goal scoring threat everytime he is out on the ice. He has the hand eye co-ordination necessary to tip in pucks, and the quickness to pounce on and bury rebounds. It’s Tkachuk’s play-making that has been really impressive this season though. He has excellent vision, the patience and poise to slow the game down and wait for opportunities, and the skill to put the puck through the tiniest of openings. He cycles well and wins battles along the boards to extend plays and create even more opportunities.  Tkachuk has been playing with Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner for most of the OHL season, and played with Auston Matthews on the American World Junior team.  He has shown the willingness to do the dirty work of winning battles, causing turnovers, getting to loose pucks, and creating space for his linemates.

Matthew Tkachuk’s skating was weak at the start of last year (2014-15 with the US NTDP), but improved as the year went on and that improvement continued through this season. He now shows above average speed. He also has great agility, and is able to maneuver through traffic both with and without the puck. Tkachuk’s lower body shows power and balance, and helps him to protect the puck in the cycle and to attack the net.  He could stand to add a little more muscle to his frame overall, and as he does this will only continue to improve.

Tkachuk back-checks hard and already plays a strong two-way game.  He understands his role in his own end of the ice, and shows his grit and willingness to battle on the boards.  He also has good positioning and is more than willing to block shots or cut down passing lanes. Tkachuk also shows some signs of his father’s mean streak as he is involved in many scrums after a play is over, and is always at the centre of things.

Matthew Tkachuk has the potential to be a first line powerforward in the NHL.  He will need some development time, and will need to gain weight by adding muscle before he is NHL ready.  If that happens this summer or takes another year will remain to be seen.  While many will say Matthew Tkacuk’s playing style is reminiscent of his father, I would say his style is more reminiscent of Andrew Ladd.  This isn’t a talent comparison, but a purely stylistic one.

Below is a compilation of youtube videos with Matthew Tkachuk highlights.

Check back tomorrow for our #5 Prospect.

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