As of today, The Florida Panthers are the first team to officially punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals where they will likely end up playing the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Watching the Panthers go on this unexpected incredible run made me realize a couple of things. The first thing being, you need your goaltenders to get hot at the right time and play at an elite level in the playoffs. The Panthers goaltending was a huge question mark all year until, unexpectedly Alex Lyon took over as the starter and helped the Panthers reach the playoffs. When he struggled, Bobrovsky came in and is playing his best hockey in years. All this to say, goaltending is weird and a lot of team success, comes on a goalie getting hot even when it was unexpected. The second piece I have noticed for the Panthers is the dominant performance from Matthew Tkachuk, who has dragged his team to and now through the playoffs. With that being said, I believe it is obvious who the Sens X-Factor will be.
When it comes to playoff hockey, certain players have a mix of elite ability, leadership and a physcial/gritty playstyle to elevate their game to another level. Brady Tkachuk is one of these players. The Ottawa Senators captain possesses all the qualities necessary to become the team’s X-factor in their quest for playoff success. With a playing style reminiscent of his dominant brother, Tkachuk’s physicality, competitiveness, skill, and relentless energy make him an absolutely dominating force on the ice. When you look at what is brother has accomplished, it is difficult not to get excited about the potential Tkachuk has as a playoff player. While he played great hockey this season, I believe there is another level to what he can do and I believe he will establish himself as one of the best players league wide.
It’s Now Brady’s Time
As everybody knows by now, Brady Tkachuk comes from one of the most successful hockey families we have ever seen as he is following in the footsteps of his father, Keith, and his brother, Matthew. Matthew as I discussed earlier has established himself as a dominant force in the both the regular season and the playoffs with the Florida Panthers. Now, it is Brady’s time to take another step forward just like his brother has. Don’t get me wrong Brady had a tremendous season and has established himself as one of the better power forwards in the NHL. But like Matthew has done this season, it is time for Brady to elevate his game once again. Brady is poised to show the league that he is not only one of the best power forwards in the league, but also one of the most dominant and productive players league wide. This season, Matthew Tkachuk was nominated for the Hart trophy and it is yet to be seen if he will win. That is the level Brady needs to stride for, and why couldn’t he do it? It is his time.
The term “playoff hockey” is always thrown around by teams, analysts and fans. This term refers to the nature of how playoff games are played. Generally speaking, playoff hockey is much more physical and the officials tend to let more go compared to the regular season. Brady Tkachuk epitomizes this style of play, embodying the grit and determination necessary to excel in the postseason. His physicality and eagerness to drag his team into battle is exactly what you look for in a leader. From watching Tkachuk play, I have no doubt in my mind that he was born to be a playoff killer, and he will have no trouble enforcing his will on whatever team ends up being the unlucky opponent of Tkachuk and the Senators.
One of Brady Tkachuk’s qualities that have made him an elite player and captain is his competitiveness. He plays every shift with unrivaled intensity and he is always going to leave everything on the ice in order to secure victory for the Senators. This is especially important in the playoff scene, where having your team in the right mind set, and ready to go to war are imperative to team success. Whether it’s throwing a big hit, getting into a fight or imposing his will in front of the net, Tkachuk has shown his willingness to do this in the regular season. This gives me absolute confidence in him as a player come playoff time.
Skill and Size
While Brady Tkachuk’s physicality and gritty playstyle often steal the spotlight, it is important that fans don’t overlook his impressive skill set. Tkachuk is a big player for NHL standards as he is listed at 6’4 and 211lbs hockeydb.com what makes his effective is how he uses his skill and his size in unity. Tkachuk possesses excellent hands in and around the net that help him tip pucks, or make moves in tight on the goaltender. With this in combination with his size and strength Tkachuk is able to impose his will on defenders in front of the net. Not to mention, he has an underrated shot and playmaking ability which he tends to utilize on the rush. Given playoff games are much tighter and there tends to be less space for players in the offensive zone, Tkachuk’s skillset should translate very nicely as he excels in the tight areas of the ice.
In the high-stakes environment of the playoffs, energy and momentum can make all the difference. Tkachuk’s style of play and infectious competitiveness have the power to ignite the Senators and singlehandedly turn the tides of a game. From his countless timely big hits, ability to always score clutch goals, or frank the tank celebrations, Tkachuk’s ability to bring energy to the team has the potential to provide the Senators with the spark they may end up needing to dominate in the post-season.
This season, Brady Tkachuk took a huge step forward in his production on the ice scoring 35 goals, 48 assists for 83 points in 82 games eclipsing the point per game mark for the first time in his career. Now if fans are hoping and/or expecting Brady to follow in his brothers footsteps, we should take a look at this season in comparison with Matthew’s.
35 goals 48 assists 83 points in 82 games, 5th NHL season 1.01 points per game. Brady Tkachuk
16 goals 27 assists 43 points in 56 games 5th NHL season (Covid season) 0.77 points per game: Matthew Tkachuk
Matthew followed this season with 42 goals and 64 assists for 106 points in 82 games as well as 10 points in 12 playoff games. If the trend continues, there is a possibility Tkachuk could turn into a 100 point player, who can perform in the playoffs.
Get ready Sens fans, Brady Tkachuk is going to give us a lot to cheer for this season and post-season.