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NHL Draft

Tkachuk closing in on dream of playing in NHL

Top prospect using Scouting Combine to get to know teams that could take him in NHL Draft

by Matthew Tkachuk / Special to NHL.com

Matthew Tkachuk, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, recently finished his first season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound left wing had 30 goals and 107 points in 57 regular-season games and 20 goals and 40 points in 18 OHL playoff games. The son of retired star Keith Tkachuk is at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo this week but will not do any testing after sustaining an ankle sprain in May. He has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo.

BUFFALO -- Hello hockey fans.

I arrived in Buffalo on Tuesday night to begin interviewing at the NHL Scouting Combine. It's always awesome when your dream [of playing in the NHL] is that much closer, and to be able to meet with teams is a great opportunity. It was exciting meeting with the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, a team I've watched my whole life and who I've been a lifelong fan of.

How could I not be satisfied with the way the season went in London. To be a part of a Memorial Cup team and coming up big in OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup was something I had my sights on before the playoffs. I wanted to be a difference-maker, and my best hockey was played in the playoffs.

After we won the Memorial Cup final [on Tkachuk's overtime goal in a 3-2 win against Rouyn-Noranda], my dad was on the ice and he was so pumped, especially for me to be a part of history. They showed the camera on him, as well as all the parents, and he was jumping around and giving them all high-fives. My mom was next to him, but you actually can't see her after everyone came up and began hugging each other. She's little so she was hidden. She was crying. She never cries; that was the first time that happened. It was something I'll never forget.

Video: Draft Prospect Profile - Matthew Tkachuk

The draft is going to be very exciting. I've got over 100 people coming.

While at the combine I just want to get a grasp of all the teams and, possibly, the teams in the range where I could be selected in the 2016 NHL Draft. Everybody knows where they kind of have themselves being picked, and there's a lot of teams that could be in my mix. So whether it is order, trades, or rumors, I'm excited to get to know everyone, meet with them and get a better grasp on each of them.

This week I've been getting a lot of questions about strengths and weaknesses in my game. I've answered that a thousand times. It's something you have to get a grasp on, and everyone knows I have to work on my explosiveness, strength and skating, so that's one thing I know if I get better at this summer, working out with Gary Roberts and getting that strength with him, I think everything is moving up.

Thanks for reading!

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