With training camps opening across the NHL next week, one storyline to follow is the remaining unsigned RFAs. In Minnesota there’s Kirill Kaprizov and in Buffalo Rasmus Dahlin. Vancouver has two elite youngsters still needing new deals with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
In Ottawa, Brady Tkachuk is the last remaining RFA and, according to his brother Matthew, perhaps a contract extension isn’t about to be announced.
“I’m in the mix. I’m always there,” Matthew told Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman in an interview for 31 Thoughts: The Podcast. “It’s a family business. Nobody wants to deal with the Tkachuks in this. But we do it by committee.
“Brady might be…he’s doing great,” Matthew teased, before giving his opinion on the progress of negotiations between Brady and the Senators.
“He might be pulling a classic Tkachuk right now. Dad held out, Matthew held out, and Brady looks like he’s on his way right now. So hopefully it can get figured out here. But it’s just a lot of fake stuff out there regarding this. They’re not too close. So hopefully it gets figured out, but who knows? My dad and I are definitely involved. Brady needs us to help him out with that stuff. He wasn’t as cutthroat as we were during it, but he’s starting to become more of a Tkachuk the later this goes.”
In 2019, Matthew Tkachuk was an RFA with the Flames and didn’t come to terms with them on a new deal until Sept. 25, two days after fellow RFA Brayden Point re-upped with the Lightning. Both of those players signed three-year bridge deals, with Tkachuk’s AAV coming in at $7 million. Similarly, in 1998 father Keith didn’t sign a new deal with the then-Phoenix Coyotes until Sept. 26.
Both Keith and Matthew missed the start of training camp, but not the start of the season.
Brady Tkachuk, a potential next captain of the Senators, is coming off a 17-goal, 36-point season in 2021. The big left winger is a centrepiece of Ottawa’s rebuild, which hopes to bear some fruit this coming season.
“He’s a great player, deserves to get everything he should,” Matthew said. “He’s the most important part of their team. The captain. Obviously all the stuff all of us know about him and he loves it there. Absolutely loves it there. So we’ll see what happens. But now being in Calgary I won’t be involved as much obviously.
“I’m hoping it gets better soon, but I guess it can only get better by the sounds of it.”
Ottawa’s training camp opens Sept. 22.
You can hear this and the rest of Matthew Tkachuk’s interview in an upcoming episode of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast.