Matthew Tkachuk, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, is in his first season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound left wing has 29 goals and 105 points in 55 games. Tkachuk is on a 17-game point streak, during which he has 13 goals and 35 points. Tkachuk has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo.
It's a big weekend for London. We have a chance to finish first in the Ontario Hockey League with back-to-back games Friday and Saturday against Erie to close the regular season. This is something we had set as a goal at the beginning of the year, wanting to be the best team. That would put us in a good spot for the playoffs.
To think that a couple of months ago, Erie was about 10 points ahead of us and we were able to catch up, and now we're ahead by two points, gives us motivation because that's what we wanted.
I think the fact everyone is stepping up and everyone is playing their role well has helped us succeed. We're starting to find our identity as a team, which is being a complete team. We have a lot of players that can do different things and it all starts with our goaltending, which has been very strong. That gives us that added confidence.
We're playing well and at this time of the year, games aren't easy and teams are playing really good hockey. I just think that if we keep doing what we're doing, it's going to be hard for other teams because we'll have others going as well. I think the fact we have four lines putting the puck in the net right now has made things easier for all of us.
We're going for it. We've been playing playoff hockey for a couple of weeks now, and these two games against Erie will make or break our regular season. We want to get first and get that home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
I've been asked about NHL Central Scouting's final meeting to rank the top North American skaters next month. It's something I know a lot of people make a big deal about, and it is a kind of a big deal to be considered high on Central Scouting's list. But it doesn't make you a good player or a bad player.
Whether you're No. 1, No. 10 or No. 100, if you can play, you will get picked and you could play in the NHL someday. But I want to be as high as I can, and I feel like not only do I want to be as high as I can, but be the best player I can be. I want to be the best among my peers and keep dominating hockey games.