This year’s draft is interesting. There is a ton of potential elite talent in the top-ten, of which the Rangers are surely able to grab one. Then there is someone like Brady Tkachuk. Keith’s kid has probably reached his peak size at 6’3″ and 200 lbs, although I can see his weight/strength increasing. He’s a big boy.
Tkachuk’s first year at BU was a success, putting up 8-23-31 in 40 games, with the majority of that coming in the second half of the season. The winger really raised his stock with a strong performance at this year’s World Juniors, potentially solidifying a top-five pick when he wasn’t in that discussion before.
Tkachuk is an old school scout’s dream. He’s big, mean, tough, and has great offensive abilities. He uses his size well, creating chaos in front of the net for offensive chances. That’s just one of his strengths, he’s near lethal in front.
Usually for someone his size, skating is an issue. But that is not the case for Tkachuk. He is light on his feet and is a great skater. He can beat you with his strength or with his agility/puck handling, which is rare. He also has great vision, which makes his passing an elite asset to his game. He’s certainly not a one-dimensional big guy in front of the net.
For Tkachuk, again as with most bigger kids, top speed is a major area of concern. He hasn’t quite developed his acceleration and top speed yet, which makes it difficult for him to join the play or catch up while back checking. It can also hurt his pursuit of loose pucks.
Tkachuk is a polarizing prospect. He has all the tools to be a top-five pick: He’s big, gets to dirty areas, has soft hands, vision, and is a solid skater and passer. However is speed in an ever faster NHL could be a cause for concern, and could prevent him from reaching his full potential.
At ninth overall, Tkachuk represents incredible value for the Rangers. He checks a lot of boxes for them. The rub on Tkachuk is that some team may pick him in the top three (cough, Montreal, cough), which is way overvalued. Tkachuk can be a top line winger if he works on his speed, he certainly has the tools, and if he’s the best player on the board at #9, the Rangers will be very lucky to land him.