#1 - Matthew Tkachuk
Position: Left Wing
Age: 22 (as of August 1 2020)
2019-20 Team: Calgary Flames (NHL)
Drafted in 2016, 1st Round, Pick 6
2019 Ranking: #1
- MGMacGillivray: #1
- Flashalytics: #1
- MarkParkinson14: #1
- Madeline.Campbell: #1
- Gordie.Taylor: #1
- Readers: #1
While his points per game total took a dip from 0.96 in 2018-19 to 0.88 in 2019-20, it really felt like Matthew Tkachuk took over the leadership and face of the franchise role this past season. This is Tkachuk’s second year in a row topping out our rankings and should have the title locked down for the next couple of years as well.
At this point it’s safe to say that Matthew Tkachuk is the name that comes to mind when you think of the Calgary Flames. While players like Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano continue to be very good players, it really feels like this is Tkachuk’s team. He’s the emotional leader for the club that consistently brings effort every night and it seems like he has silenced the “next captain after Gio” debate. Tkachuk earned his first All-Star nomination this past year in his hometown of St. Louis and even managed to sit in the same dressing room as other Pacific stars that he consistently agitated over the course of his career thus far.
Unfortunately Tkachuk’s playoff run in 2019-20 was cut short due to a concussion suffered in Game 2 against the Stars and it looked like the Flames lost their spark from then on in the series. I still remain of the belief that if he hadn’t been injured, that the Flames would’ve had a good chance of beating the Stars. Despite missing the final four games of the series, Tkachuk made it known that he felt he deserved blame for the loss in the end of season press conferences after taking offense to how people were piling on Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. That’s captain material.
Tkachuk was recently named in the top 50 NHL players and it seems to be a safe bet that he could riser further up the list with a strong 2020-21 campaign. With the potential for new line combinations this year, it seems very possible Tkachuk could find himself on the “top line” depending on how Geoff Ward sets things up.
While it’s looking like we won’t see any Tkachuk vs Drew Doughty action this year sadly, we will likely have at least 8-10 Battle of Alberta matchups in the new Canadian Division, giving Tkachuk ample opportunity to get under the skin of Zac Kassian in one of the NHL’s best rivalries. That along with the chance to piss off every other Canadian fanbase repeatedly makes me really excited for the season. He seems to have become the perfect pest, along with being an elite forward and there should only be bigger and better things ahead.
This wraps up our annual Top 25 Under 25 series. Thank you again to everyone who helped set the rankings at the start and read along as we went through the list. We’re very much looking forward to the start of hockey next month (hopefully) and pushing this series back into the summer months where it belongs. Stay safe out there folks and all the best this holiday season!