Brady Tkachuk and Matthew Tkachuk are already well known in St. Louis. They grew up around the rink with their dad and fan-favourite Keith Tkachuk when he played for the St. Louis Blues. They were on the ice with him after he played in his last NHL game. They got loud standing ovations when they returned for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game.
Fans are always fans of the hometown guys and root for them wherever they play. If they get the opportunity to come to St. Louis, fans are even more ecstatic. After the success Pat Maroon had, who can blame them?
Blues fans have been talking about the possibility of one of them coming to St. Louis since the very beginning of their NHL careers. Both have aspects of their play that are similar to Keith’s, but they’re not the same. So, which Tkachuk brother would be a better match with the Blues?
Brady vs Matthew Tkachuk
The first thing to keep in mind is that comparing the brothers now is not exactly fair. Brady only has two NHL seasons under his belt, while Matthew Tkachuk has played four. Matthew has certainly improved since his second NHL season and Brady is likely to as well. Additionally, Matthew has playoff experience, while Brady doesn’t so it’s hard to say how he would perform for the Blues in the playoffs.
Last season, Brady played in 71 games and had 21 goals and 23 assists for 44 points for the Ottawa Senators. He averaged 18:56 minutes of ice time per game. He ended the season on the first line. His rookie season was better, but barely. In 71 games, he had 22 goals and 23 assists for 45 points. Brady also got to play along with Mark Stone for the first half of his rookie season. Stone is someone who makes all his linemates better and Brady has not had near as good of a linemate since.
A crucial part of Brady’s game is his physicality. In 71 games this season, he had 303 hits, which is more than double what Matthew had. That’s an average of 4.27 hits a game. But those hits potentially take away from scoring chances and Matthew has the edge over Brady in average points per game.
Brady is under contract until the end of the 2020-21 and is currently making an average of $925,00 million a season on his entry-level deal.
Last season, Matthew scored 23 goals and added 38 assists for 61 points in 69 games for the Calgary Flames. He averaged 18:18 minutes of ice time per game and ended the regular season on the second line.
Matthew is similar to Brady in that he’s not afraid to lay into a member of the opposing team to stand up for his teammates or himself. However, Matthew took a lot more penalties in his rookie season than he did this year. He had 105 minutes in penalties his first season with 13 goals and 35 assists for 48 points in 76 games.
This season, he had 74 minutes in penalties and scored 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 69 games. Hitting and fighting are still crucial parts of his game. In fact, this season he had a career-high 122 hits, but he isn’t instigating fights as much as he used to. Instead, he’s focusing more on the offensive side of his game and is getting more minutes for it.
Matthew is under contract until the end of the 2021-22 season and is currently making an average of $7 million per season.
The Blues’ Needs
The Blues finished the season at the top of the conference and were well on their way to having a real chance at defending their Stanley Cup title. But they lacked a Maroon or a Ryan Reaves style player. Someone who the Blues could always count on to be physical and to tire out opponents, especially in the playoffs. That’s where a Tkachuk brother could come in handy, particularly Matthew who is known for being a pest on the ice without taking as many penalty minutes as Brady.
Although no one wants it to happen, the Blues might lose their captain and number one defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. He had 52 points in 70 games this season. His “replacement” Justin Faulk only had 16 points in 69 games, although he was known for being an offensive defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes.
If the Blues lose Pietrangelo, they could definitely use someone to pick up the offensive slack that will come. Matthew would bring that to the team with his .80 points a game average over the course of his career. He has an edge over Brady in the points per game category, who has averaged .63 points per game over his career so far.
While the Blues might not have the cap space to sign him, a fanbase can dream. He would be reunited with the honorary Tkachuk brother Robert Thomas, who he also played with for the London Knights in the OHL. Who wouldn’t want to see them on a line together?
Who knows, maybe both Tkachuk brothers will end up in the Blue Note together someday and maybe they’ll be called the hometown heroes.
Can’t you just picture it now? “Tkachuk passes the puck to Tkachuk and it’s in! St. Louis has done it again!”