The 2018 NHL Scouting Combine is taking place this week at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo. The combine will allow NHL teams an opportunity to conduct interviews and provide physical and medical assessments of 104 prospects eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft. NHL.com will bring you all the sights and sounds.
BUFFALO -- The Battle of Alberta could turn into a sibling rivalry in the Tkachuk household.
Boston University forward Brady Tkachuk, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American forwards for the 2018 NHL Draft, had his first interview of the combine with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Calgary Flames added Tkachuk, 18, to their interview list. Matthew Tkachuk, Brady's older brother (20), was selected by the Flames in the first round (No. 6) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
"My brother told me that he wanted them to interview me," Brady said.
As much as Brady (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) would love to be teammates with Matthew (6-2, 202), going against him might be just as much fun.
"I got one question today about if it was Erik Karlsson and you were battling him and if it was your brother and you were battling him, would you battle [Matthew] the same or what else would you do," Brady said. "I said I'd battle [Matthew] harder because I got all that built-up aggression with him because he would win and pick on me when we were younger. Now it's my turn to pick on him a bit. Hopefully I'd go a little harder with him."
The Tkachuk brother battles aren't limited to the ice.
"We were home for Mother's Day weekend and there were some intense basketball games," Brady said. "He'll say he won but the game never finished. It's still pretty undecided until the next time we meet up. It was getting pretty physical too. We were just having so much fun. My sister (Taryn) and my mom (Chantal) ended up joining us so we made it 2-on-2. It was me and my sister and my mom and my brother. My brother claims [Taryn] is the best player so she had to play with the worst."
The game ended when Chantal had to drive Taryn to soccer practice.
"We said we'd pick it back up next time we're home," Brady said.
1. First-round feedback
Tkachuk said he'd like to be in the NHL next season but did not rule out returning to Boston University for a second season.
"I think it's really too early to decide on that yet," he said. "I believe in myself that after a strong summer and working my hardest this summer I deserve the chance to play in a training camp and hopefully make an NHL roster. But at the end of the day it's what the team wants, and if I feel like I'm not ready it's another year to develop. I'm going to wait and see until the draft, have all the options on the table and talk to my family, my advisor and the team and make a decision from there."
Tkachuk said the coaching change at Boston University would not affect his decision. David Quinn left to become coach of the New York Rangers on May 23. BU has yet to hire his replacement.
"Whoever the new coach is is going to be an awesome coach," Brady said. "We're going to be in good hands."
2. Scout's honor
Sault Ste. Marie center Barrett Hayton is No. 9 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, and is the second-highest ranked center, behind Joseph Veleno of Drummondville (No. 8).
Hayton was overshadowed in Sault Ste. Marie by top NHL prospects Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers), Boris Katchouk (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Taylor Raddysh (Lightning), but at least one NHL scout saw enough to think highly of him.
"He thinks the game well," the scout said. "He's a good complementary guy. Looks like he can play with any type of player. Plays the game in any way he needs to to be successful."
3. Top underrated prospect
Jack McBain is the only prospect from the Ontario Junior Hockey League at the combine. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound center had 58 points (21 goals, 37 assists) in 48 games for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, and is No. 35 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.
McBain opted for the OJHL rather than the higher-profile Ontario Hockey League, where Barrie owns his rights, to preserve his college eligibility; he'll play at Boston College next season.
"I want [NHL scouts] to understand that just because I played where I did doesn't mean I won't be the player I want to be," McBain said. "I'm going to go to college next year and I think going there and developing for a couple years is going to help me, playing against bigger, stronger guys."
4. Question of the day
Ottawa defenseman Kevin Bahl, No. 29 on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters, was a bit surprised when a team asked what he hates about hockey.
"I don't hate anything about hockey," he said. "What am I supposed to hate about hockey? There's nothing to hate about hockey. So that was definitely one of the weird questions."