#5: Matthew Tkachuk
Team: Calgary Flames
Drafted: 2016 #6 (Round 1)
It’s hard to believe the Flames weren’t crawling out of their skin to run to the podium to select Matthew Tkachuk when he landed in the Calgary’s lap at the 2016 NHL Draft. The 18 year old son of former NHL’er Keith Tkachuk seemed like a consensus Top 5 pick, but “slipped” to #6 where the Flames easily scooped him up. At 6’1 and 194 lbs Tkachuk is an interesting prospect. He has shown consistently that he can put up points and he’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty if called upon. Here’s what Elite Prospects has to say about Tkachuk:
“ A multi-dimensional energy winger who 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.”
The Flames saw enough that selecting him was an absolute no brainer. The question becomes this: is Tkachuk ready to make the jump to the NHL or does he need a season or part of a season with Stockton to get his bearings and start adapting to the pro game? When the puck drops on the 2016 NHL season Tkachuk will still be 18 years old. Tkachuk doesn’t seem like the type of player that will be bothered by the pressure and bright lights of the NHL, but the Flames should be smart about how they handle him. The only way to really find out is for Tkachuk to answer that question himself: come out and show that he’s ready and that he belongs.
Tkachuk signed a 3 year, ELC that is worth $5.35 million over the life of that contract.