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Tkachuk brings family toughness to Senators

Forward prospect's game mirrors that of father Keith, brother Matthew

by Callum Fraser / NHL.com Correspondent

Brady Tkachuk has been surrounded by NHL experience from the very beginning. 

From his first steps on the ice, to being selected by the Ottawa Senators with the No. 4 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the 18-year-old forward hasn't needed to look far for guidance.

Of course, there's his father, Keith Tkachuk, who scored 538 goals in 1,201 NHL games and played in five NHL All-Star games. 

"There are bits and pieces from my dad," Tkachuk said during Senators development camp. "I think I got his feistiness. I'm not afraid of anyone out there."

 

[RELATED: Tkachuk brings right skill, character to Senators]

 

A lack of fear is also evident in his brother, Matthew Tkachuk, who has played 144 games with the Calgary Flames and is known as a prominent pest able to get under the skin of nearly every player in the NHL.

Tkachuk has prospered from ambitious sibling competition. He and Matthew were constantly pushing each other on their respective paths to the NHL.

"I wouldn't say we would butt heads, but we were always competing, we were always looking to win," said Tkachuk, who is living and training with his brother during the offseason. "Matthew, he was older than me and he didn't let me off the hook, made me work my hardest to have a chance. But in recent years, not being able to be together every day, we really cherish our relationship and cherish everything we had."

Video: Tkachuk brothers join family prior to 2018 NHL Draft

Tkachuk (6-foot-3, 196 pounds) joked that Matthew became jealous when he grew taller a little more than a year ago. Their bond was quickly mended.

"I wouldn't say we had a rivalry growing up," Tkachuk said. "He's my biggest supporter and I'm his biggest supporter."

If Tkachuk makes and sticks with the Senators out of training camp, the first game between the two brothers would be Feb. 24 in Ottawa. However, it isn't NHL or bust this year for Brady, a St. Louis native. He's thinking long term.

"I want to have a 20-plus-year career; a really long career," he said. "Whatever happens, I'm just going to take it day by day, just focus on getting stronger and better every day. There's no rush for a decision, but when a decision needs to be made, I'm going to talk it through with my family, my adviser and obviously Ottawa, too. But there's no rush for me."

Tkachuk had 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists) in 40 games with the Boston University last season. He describes his game as power and skill, and said his offseason training objectives revolve around getting faster and improving his puck handling.

"It's a big goal of mine to be ready, wherever I'm at in September," Tkachuk said. "If I'm here or if I'm somewhere else, I just want to make sure I'm ready and I'm as strong as I can be. But at the end of the day, if I'm not ready, that's another year of development. It's a big learning curve."

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