For the past several years, yours truly has done a draft eligible player of the month and topped it off at the end of the year with a draft eligible player of the year. Previous winners include Tyler Seguin (2010), Gabriel Landeskog (2011), Malcolm Subban (2012), Max Domi (2013) Sam Bennett (2015) and Connor McDavid (2015).
This season it goes to Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights.
Tkachuk was named my draft eligible player of the month in September and November joining Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters) and Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion) as a two time winners.
The first year OHL’er (Tkachuk was not eligible for rookie of the year because of age requirements) scored 30 goals and 77 assists and a plus 45 in 57 regular season games while playing on arguably the best line in the OHL.
Great players rise to the occasion when it matters most and it’s the playoffs that set Tkachuk apart from the field. In 18 playoff games, Tkachuk finished with 20 goals and 20 assists and a plus 23 trailing only linemate Mitchell Marner for the playoff scoring title.
Despite the fine regular season, Tkachuk was never named OHL Player of the Week. However, he did receive the honour three times in seven weeks in the playoffs. He was the recipient of the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the week twice in that playoff run that led to the OHL Championship and a chance at the Memorial Cup.
The son of former NHL great and Hockey Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk is expected to go in the top five at the National Hockey League Draft in June. While anything can happen, it’s likely OHL oppositions have seen the last of Matthew Tkachuk.