Sens prospect Brady Tkachuk’s contract decision to be made soon

Fresh from being drafted 4th overall by the Ottawa Senators, Brady Tkachuk is ready to work hard and have fun at developmental camp, with hopes of making the NHL club in the back of his mind.

Ottawa Senators fans will soon learn whether or not Brady Tkachuk will sign his entry-level contract or return to Boston University for his sophomore season.

The fourth-overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft says he’ll make his decision by Aug. 12 at the latest.

“The decision will be based on what’s best for my development short and long term,” Tkachuk told NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale. “I want to have a long career and don’t want to go somewhere and not have an impact. I want to make an impact wherever I go and be able to contribute and play my best. Having both options is a great problem to have. They are two great spots.”

Tkachuk was impactful at BU this past season, scoring eight goals and 23 assists in 40 games as a freshman.

Vancouver Canucks pick Quinn Hughes, who knows Tkachuk from their time with USA Hockey’s national development program, recently decided to go back to the University of Michigan to play as a sophomore after being selected three spots behind Tkachuk at June’s draft.

Tkachuk is currently participating at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, B.C. Once that concludes on Aug. 4 he will visit and consult with his family in St. Louis before making his final decision. His dad is retired NHL star Keith Tkachuk and his brother Matthew Tkachuk is a rising star with the Calgary Flames.

“Each party deserves to have the time to adjust to whatever decision is made and my goal has never been to make this a last-second decision,” Tkachuk explained. “It’s tough for me to be on the phone with my parents because we’re not in the same city, but I want to talk to them face to face because their opinions, and the opinions of my brother and sister, are important so they’ll tell me what they think but it’ll be my decision in the end.”

Tkachuk’s older brother debuted in the NHL as an 18-year-old in 2016 after the Flames took him sixth overall in that year’s draft. Matthew went on to record 48 points and 105 penalty minutes in 76 games as a rookie.

Brady’s situation in Ottawa is much different than Matthew’s was in Calgary, though. The Senators are a team in transition with a handful of players entering the final year of their respective contracts, including Erik Karlsson whose future with the team is a complete mystery. With Ottawa’s off-ice product facing ongoing criticisms and its on-ice product having low expectations for the 2018-19 campaign, there doesn’t seem to be any real rush for Tkachuk to sign an NHL deal. We’ll see how everything plays out in short order.

“It’s one of the biggest decisions of my life,” Tkachuk added. “It’s tough and stressful but when it happens it’ll be nice to have it off the shoulders. I just want to be 100 per cent committed to wherever I decide.”

Boston University coach Albie O’Connell said he and the school will support and respect whatever decision Tkachuk makes, but added there are clear benefits to returning for a second year of college hockey.

“I think it would be a great chance for him to continue to develop and be a big part of next year’s team,” O’Connell said. “The biggest improvement Brady made last season was his skating, and part of that was strength, and part of it was the fact he’s still growing. I think he grew an inch at BU last year. He’s a really talented player, but is still a little bit of a work in progress. He’s not completely fully physically developed so there’s a lot of gains that he can make [if he returns to school].”

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