I am going to be breaking down the seasons of the core pieces for the Ottawa Senators. Starting with the captain of course, Brady Tkachuk.
In this piece, I will be looking at the key components of what makes Brady Tkachuk the elite talent he is. While also recapping and analyzing this past season. I will conclude with what I expect to see from the captain in the coming season.
If you were to ask me to describe Brady Tkachuk in one word, that word would be leader. Countless times this season alone we saw the captain dragging the Ottawa Senators into battle. If the team needed a boost Tkachuk was there, if they needed somebody to will them to victory, Tkachuk was ready to put them on his back and fight tooth and nail for every inch of ice. Two prime examples of this from this season come to mind, the first being the December game against the New York Rangers.
This was in my opinion the best game Brady Tkachuk has ever played in an Ottawa Senators uniform. He ended the night with 2 goals (1 late to tie and the other being the OT winner) and an assist in the Senators 3-2 victory. The stat sheet is nothing to scoff at, but it doesn’t quantify the intensity and competitiveness from Tkachuk. If you need to see just how motivated Tkachuk was, watch his tilt at the centre of the garden against Trouba earlier in the game.
This next portion will actually be discussing 2 games rather than 1 (everybody knows where I’m going with this). Those two games were both against the Detroit Red Wings during the playoff push. I’m sure we all remember the infamous “who f*** wants it?” From Tkachuk and how could you not? It felt like he was dragging the entire team and fan base into the game, and we all watched in awe as he single-handedly ended the playoff push for the Detroit Red Wings. The icing on the cake was Tkachuk’s flexing pose after scoring on Jake Walman, who like the Red Wings team had no answer and no fight in them.
I could go on and on but the one last thing I will discuss in regards to Tkachuk’s leadership ability is his off-ice contributions to the city. This season Brady and his fiancé Emma launched “Tkachuk’s Captains” which is a campaign aiming to raise funds and provide opportunities (physical activity/nutrition) for kids of all different situations. How could fans not be incredibly proud to have Brady and Emma represent not only the team but the city as well.
I have linked below the Tkachuk’s Captains donation page and if you would like to donate, everything helps!
Strengths In Tkachuk’s Game
This season Tkachuk took a big step forward in his on ice play tallying 35 goals and 48 assist for 83pts in 82 games making him a ppg player for the first time in his career. Tkachuk’s improvements came because he is highly aware of his strengths and knows how to play to them. There may be no strength more noticeable than his puck protection and cycling ability below the goal line. Tkachuk has turned into one of the leagues very best at doing this and it has helped the team in terms of wearing down opponents and turning cycles into scoring opportunities. Then there is the obvious net front ability that has been Tkachuk’s bread and butter his whole career. Whether it’s tipping pucks, driving pucks into the crease or looking for rebounds, Tkachuk always seems to find a way to get it done.
There are some parts of his game that took a huge step forward in my eyes that may not be as obvious. The first of these that I want to discuss is Tkachuk’s sneaky snap shot. Coming to the Ottawa Senators, I never really expected Tkachuk to be a guy who would beat goaltenders cleanly with his shot but man was I ever wrong. Tkachuk doesn’t have the hardest shot on the team but that doesn’t stop him from fooling goalies around the league. He has developed a very sneaky shot that he is able to get off quickly and without many tells. When Brady finds himself on the partial breakaways he always seems to get, I trust his snap shot to beat goaltenders from different angles, which is something I never thought would be a part of his game on draft day.
The second underrated part of Tkachuk’s game is his playmaking ability. This is what I really noticed improvement in this season. Tkachuk definitely isn’t known as a playmaker, but I feel he is really underrated at finding opponents in prime scoring situations. The biggest contributor to this playmaking jump in my eyes is his vision and understanding of where the puck should go before he even has it on his stick. Whether it’s a cross crease pass to his line mates, a little drop pass to defensive support or a net front pass to an open player for a tap in, Tkachuk has shown an ability to make these plays efficiently while under pressure.
What To Expect In 2023/2024
This season, I will be looking for Tkachuk to take another step forward towards being a superstar in this league. I look to his older brother Matthew and can’t help but be excited for what the next steps will be with Brady. Each year the captain has been steadily improving, and I don’t expect that to stop this season. I also believe Tkachuk is hungry to taste playoff hockey, and that hunger will light a fire under him to demolish everything in his path. Assuming he is healthy and plays most of the games this season, I will be looking for Tkachuk to be in the 35 goal range once again, while pushing to be a 90-95 point player alongside his superstar line mates Tim Stützle and Claude Giroux.
As for this season, it is nearly impossible to be disappointed with what we saw from Brady Tkachuk, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I believe he has earned an A+ for his play on the ice, and for his leadership both on and off the ice.