The 2018 SBN NHL Mock Draft is underway and the Five for Howling crew after some deliberation have entered their selection.
Most of the major ranking sites have Brady Tkachuk ranked as the 4th or 5th best player in this year’s entry draft. He’s been described as a very physical player with a lot of skill. Although projected to be an NHL wing, Tkachuk is a versatile player and has played both center and wing in his amateur career. He’s a very good skater, has an excellent wrist shot and has a extremely high hockey IQ which helped him adjust to playing NCAA hockey. In an Associated Press article, Tkachuk admitted that he struggled at the beginning of his freshman season with the Terriers but he was able to make the adjustment.
“I was used to winning battles, every battle in the USHL because they’re all my own age. But I found playing against 23-year-olds was different,” he said in the article. “Instead of just using my body, I had to use my mind, too, a little bit more and try to outsmart them.”
In addition to all the size and skill he brings to the table, Tkachuk also fits with the team. He’s played with Clayton Keller in the USNTP Junior program in the 2015-16 season. Since Christian Dvorak and Christian Fischer have both played with his brother Matthew Tkachuk they are also likely to be familiar with Brady. Tkachuk’s playing style is one that Head Coach Rick Tocchet is sure to like since he battles in the hard areas, goes to the net and never gives up on a play. Tkachuk is projected to be a power forward and is likely able to enter the league as early as this season or next. If he decides not to return the NCAA he could also end up playing in the AHL.
The biggest argument against choosing Tkachuk has nothing to do with the player and everything to do with the position he plays. As Craig Morgan and Luke Lapinski pointed out on the most recent episode of the The Natural Hat Trick podcast, wingers are far easier to replace than either centers or defenders. Corey Pronman also pointed out on a recent episode of The Athletic Support podcast that even though Tkachuk is very skilled and smart he doesn’t have an elite talent or the likelihood of being a impact player. Of course if someone makes General Manager John Chayka an offer he can’t refuse to acquire Max Domi then Tkachuk could be an easy and nearly immediate replacement.
Brady Tkachuk is going to be a good NHL player for a long time wherever he ends up getting drafted. The Coyotes are going to get an excellent prospect no matter who they draft at 5th overall. Who would you like to see the Coyotes draft?