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NHL Combine

NHL Scouting Combine, Day Five: Tkachuk looking for family-best pick

Forward in 2018 NHL Draft hopeful he'll be selected higher than father, brother were

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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 top prospects eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft. NHL.com will bring you all the sights and sounds.

 

BUFFALO -- Brady Tkachuk hopes to become the highest-drafted player from his family, which would be a significant accomplishment.

"There's no wager, maybe in the next couple of weeks," Brady said Friday. "It's a hidden competition. We don't really talk about it too much, but that would be nice to be the highest."

 

[RELATED: Five Questions with Rasmus Dahlin | 2018 NHL Draft coverage]

 

Brady is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft, which will be held June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Keith Tkachuk, Brady's father, was chosen No. 19 in the 1990 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. He also played for the Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers, and is second in goals (538, 23 behind Mike Modano) and fourth in points (1,065, 309 behind Modano) among United States-born players.

Matthew Tkachuk, Brady's brother, was selected No. 6 in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames and has 97 points (37 goals, 60 assists) in 144 NHL games.

How does Brady differ from Matthew?

"I'd say we're very similar, but I think I'm a little faster and more willing to play physical," Brady said. "He might be a little fancier than me around the net."

Video: Brady Tkachuk answers questions at the NHL Combine

 

Zadina stumped

Halifax forward Filip Zadina said the only surprising thing from his interviews with teams at the combine was that he didn't get any odd or surprising questions.

Then he was asked how he would rank the top three players on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters: forwards Andrei Svechnikov of Barrie, Tkachuk and himself.

"Good question," he said. "That's the reason I don't want to be the GM. It's very hard to decide. They're all very good players. You got me. I don't know."

Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting, said each has a different element.

"When I look at Svechnikov, he can bring that power forward game," he said. "He's an offensive threat every time he's on the ice. Zadina … he's got that finishing ability, he's got that knack that he's always open on the play. You don't understand how such a player is always open, you'd think the teams would know to check him but he's got that ability, and he can finish. Brady Tkachuk is a very complete player. Playing in the NCAA he was always playing against older competition for the most part. But he's the type of player that's a difference-maker in our estimation. When the game's on the line and you need a goal, he can go out and generate offense. When you need someone to defend, when you need someone to crash and bang and get the team back in the game, he's that type of player."

Video: Filip Zadina answers questions at the NHL Combine

 

Is Bouchard NHL ready?

London defenseman Evan Bouchard said his plan is to play in the NHL next season.

"I know it's a big jump and a big step, but I'm really working hard this summer to be ready for next season, but taking it one step at a time," he said. "The main focus is getting to main camp, and from there, turning heads. The game keeps getting faster and faster so speed is a big thing, and on top of that you're going from playing against teenagers to playing against men."

Bouchard (6-2, 193), No. 4 on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, tied for seventh in the OHL with 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists). He's the first defenseman to finish among the top 10 OHL scorers since Ryan Ellis (Nashville Predators) tied for fourth with 101 points for Windsor in 2010-11.

Video: Evan Bouchard answers questions at the NHL Combine

 

Svechnikov a big Bure fan

Svechnikov said one of the players he models his game after is Hockey Hall of Fame member Pavel Bure.

Technology is how Svechnikov, 18, became a Bure fan. He was 3 years old when Bure retired in 2003.

"I watched him a lot online, on YouTube," Svechnikov said. "He just drives the net every time with speed and had a great shot."

Svechnikov, No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, scored 40 goals in 44 OHL games this season. Bure at 18 scored 14 goals in 46 games in 1989-90 playing against men for CSKA Moscow in the Soviet Championship League.

Video: Svechnikov answers questions at the NHL Combine

 

Dobson heading west to prepare

Acadie-Bathurst defenseman Noah Dobson, Central Scouting's No. 5-ranked North American skater, will go far from his home in Summerside, Prince Edward Island to prepare for the next step of his career.

"I train in San Diego, California with Chris Munford so I'll be home a bit with my family and stuff, but for the majority of the summer I'll be out there training," he said.

Going from the Canadian Maritimes to Southern California is a big move, but not his biggest.

He spent 2015-16 at Red Bull Hockey Academy in Salzburg, Austria, where he was instructed by former NHL forward Brian Savage.

Video: Noah Dobson answers questions at the NHL Combine

 

Dahlin taking nothing for granted

Frolunda defenseman Rasmus Dahlin said he's excited by the possibility of the Buffalo Sabres becoming his NHL home, but he isn't ready to assume anything yet.

"Have to wait to see until the draft and see what's coming up," he said. "But if I'm coming here I would love to be here. Heard they have great fans. Everybody loves hockey here. Seems like Buffalo is a great city."

Dahlin, No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, is expected to be chosen by the Sabres with the No. 1 pick, which Buffalo won in the NHL Draft Lottery.

Video: Rasmus Dahlin speaks to media at the NHL Combine

"He's just the top prospect," Marr said. "We rank them separately, North American and International, but he is the undisputed top prospect."

Dahlin interviewed with the Sabres on Wednesday, and general manager Jason Botterill gave him a tour of KeyBank Center, including the Sabres locker room.

"Everything is great here," he said. "I was here for the [2018 IIHF World Junior Championship] too, played in the full arena. Pretty awesome here. I love it here."

NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale and NHL.com correspondent Joe Yerdon contributed to this report.

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