The Ottawa Senators had some controversy in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft last year. They chose to keep their first-round selection, instead of handing it over to the Colorado Avalanche. They also decided to select Brady Tkachuk over favourite Filip Zadina. Tkachuk was a known heart and soul player who brings his all every game. So far this season, the Senators have got exactly what they expected from Tkachuk and more.
Brady Tkachuk Outstanding So Far
One thing the Tkachuks are known for are being pests. Brady’s brother, Matthew Tkachuk, has been under teams skins out west since he entered this league. Brady Tkachuk has been no different. Constantly in the middle of things, Tkachuk isn’t afraid of anyone. He’s dropped the gloves in defence of teammates. He also finds himself agitating the other team’s top lines. With his constant pokes and slashes, mixed in with his offensive skill. Teams have a hard time containing and putting up with Tkachuk.
That’s not all, however. Tkachuk has been a huge contributor to Ottawa’s somewhat surprising play this season. He has tallied nine goals and 16 points in 18 games this season. Nine of those 16 points have come at 5-on-5. Twelve of the points have been either goals or first assists, meaning he hasn’t been getting a huge boost from secondary assists.
He posts the second best primary points per 60 (minutes) among Sens forwards at 2.78. Only behind Matt Duchene. At even-strength, his points per 60 ranks 3rd on the team’s forwards behind Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. Tkachuk has been all over the net and a huge reason Ottawa has found some success at times this season. Clutch goals and huge plays have been part of Tkachuk’s game.
One of the things Ottawa has really struggled with this year is possession. Their shot rate numbers (CF%) have been among the lowest in the league. The team ranks dead last in the league with a 43.27CF%. Numbers like these usually suggest regression and they can for an individual player.
However, Tkachuk has been a star in possession this year. Tkachuk is one of only two forwards on the Senators who have a CF% above 50%. The other one is linemate Mark Stone, which should come as a surprise to no one. Stone is an analytical darling and a big reason Tkachuk has played so well. However, it is very encouraging for Ottawa to see that he is controlling play so well. Teams are struggling to generate as many shots when he is on and that is a huge positive going forward for the Sens.
Let’s take a look of quality of play in Tkachuk’s game. Looking at Corsica’s xGF model we can see that he once again shines among the Sens. He and Stone are once again the only two who have a positive xGF%, meaning they are generating more expected goals for than against while on the ice. However, Tkachuk ranks first in this for Sens forwards at a whopping 59.93%. For players who have played 200+ minutes of 5v5 league round, Tkachuk ranks 16th overall in xGF%.
He also ranks highly looking at Game Score. Game Score is an excellent stat that helps to tell who has been playing well and the younger Tkachuk ranks 29th in the entire league in GS/60. Meaning for every 60 minutes played, Tkachuk is generating that of a top 30 forward so far. Tkachuk’s 3.14 GS/60 beats out Stone for second with a GS/60 of 2.71.
Lastly, Brady Tkachuk shows well in Chace McCallum’s BPM metric.
Using BPM, which tries to improve upon points, to look at rookies.
Svechnikov is a sleeping giant. He’s generating tones of shots, takeaways and shot assists. Petterson is good but obviously due for some regression. At the bottom, Mittelstadt is a below replacement 5v5 producer pic.twitter.com/CFOF2D0Z5Y
— Chace McCallum (@CMhockey66) December 3, 2018
BPM has been found to be more of a predictive stat which is just more good news going forward for the Senators. Tkachuk has been one of the best Sens forwards this season and should continue to be heading forward.
It has been shown that Quality of Teammates matters more than Quality of Competition in the NHL. So, it is important to note that with a rookie like Tkachuk, playing with Stone can be a huge help. However, that is a two-way street. Stone is playing some of the best hockey he has in his career. You can lend some of that to teammate Tkachuk. The two fit very well together which makes sense as two good players tend to make each other better.
It should be mentioned, however, that Tkachuk’s numbers likely are boosted by Stone. Now, if he were to be taken off of his line they likely wouldn’t crash down, but they would likely see a dip which is natural if you take an elite player like Mark Stone off of his line.
Tkachuk has already made believers out of lots of people who doubted him, myself included. He has been spectacular this season and while there is a debate to be had of Tkachuk vs this years pick, it is safe to say that no Sens fans should be dissapointed with how he has played. He has done everything he possibly can to help this team win games and has looked like a very strong piece moving forward.
All data was taken from Corsica unless otherwise stated.