BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Perhaps much to the dismay of Sabres fans, Matthew Tkachuk’s draft stock has shot up into the top five.
“He had a strong season throughout, continued it throughout the playoffs, continued it on the Memorial Cup while playing injured,” NHL director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said at this year’s combine.
It was in the Memorial Cup, the Canadian Junior Championship, where the American winger scored the cup-winning goal. His Dad, Keith Tkachuk, was there to witness the moment. Like many top prospects this year Matthew got good a head start thanks to his father, who is one of the greatest american-born forwards in NHL history.
“We were fortunate enough to be around the rink when we were younger and have players show us the way and have dads with us 24/7 showing us how to be professional athletes,” the younger Tkachuk said.
That tutelage helped put Matthew on the fast track to the US National Team Development program.
“I went into the program as a 160-pound kid and left right around 195”
Now, the left winger is on the fast track to NHL stardom, describing himself in a way many might describe Keith.
“A good offensive player who can provide offense in all aspects of the game, off the rush down low in front of the net,” the prospect remarked. “I think the two things that separate me from others is my hockey IQ and competitiveness.”