Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Brady Tkachuk: Relentless

By Neal E. Boudette
Brady Tkachuk has not yet turned 18, hasn’t played a game of college hockey and won’t be drafted for another 10 months. But he’s already emerged as a rising star in American hockey and a likely pick to make the USA world junior team.
In preliminary games at USA Hockey’s World Junior Summer Showcase, the incoming freshman has a goal and an assist, but seems to create a scoring chance almost every time he’s on the ice, either with his skills or his intense, relentless, physical play.
One NHL scout told me Tkachuk is “an absolute lock” to make the USA team.

Tkachuk said he’s just trying to play his best. He was asked if maybe he’s the best of the Tkachuks, His father, Keith Tkachuk, was a Terrier in 1990-91 and went on to become the #3 all-time in NHL points among American born players. His older brother Matthew, the #6 overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft, went 13-35-48 as a Flames rookie last year.
“I don’t know how to answer that question. My dad had a really good career and Matthew had a great year,” he said.
One thing he’s sure of is that tough, physical play is the hallmark of his game. His NTDP teammate Sean Dhooghe said Tkachuk doesn’t know any other way to play.
“He’s gritty, he’s mean. In practice last year, on the ice, I hated him. There were plenty of times when we got off the ice and were just ignoring each other and then just hugging it out,” Dhooghe said. “Unbelievable player. A guy you want on your side, never want to play against him.”

Last season, after scoring two highlight reel goals against Arizona State, Tkachuk was awarded a khaki hard hat, after being named by teammates and coaches as the "Hardest Working Player" in the game

"He could get it (the hard hat award) every night, the kid’s relentless," said NTDP Under-18 head coach John Wroblewski,
Tkachuk turns 18 on Sept. 16, a day late for the 2017 draft. Scouts consider him a sure-fire first rounder. Even before the WJSS, Future Considerations ranked him at #6 for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
He told me he’s started classes at BU and can’t wait to start his career as a Terrier.
“They have great people there, great facilities,” he said. “The D is probably among the best in the country, so we should have a really good team.”