Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights is clearly one of the best players in the NHL draft crop, but he’s going to come with a mental price for anyone who wants to take a chance on him.
His stock for me keeps going way down, starting at the World Junior Championships and continues to plummet as he impatiently passes time with his OHL club before what he seems to believe is his inevitable future of NHL stardom and fortune.
While he didn’t have a bad showing at the Christmas Classic, on that international stage under a giant microscope, he revealed a side of himself that no one seemed to want to talk about at the time.
Too many times I found him doing very unnecessary stick work and jabbing at opponents, and at crucial times in the game. It didn’t matter if he was on a powerplay or if it was a one goal game, he saw every situation as an ok time to fight his personal battles and make sure his precious ego wasn’t damaged. I wrote about it at the time here.
But he came through in the bronze medal game and left that tournament still being America’s Sweetheart. No one in the press was talking about it, and he kept getting away with it, so you just knew he was going to do it again. And again. And again. It took months, but it’s finally catching up to him.
Just a few weeks ago, Tkachuk was assessed a match penalty for a slash on Niagara Ice Dog player Jordan Maletta. With the lesson still obviously not learned, he’s FINALLY gotten himself noticed enough to pick up a two game suspension. This week in a game against the Erie Otters, Tkachuk did the ultimate greaseball move, the dreaded slew foot. I had enough a while ago, and now the OHL has had enough. How much will be enough for the NHL scouts? Knowing the self-control pattern of Matthew Tkachuk, we just may find out.