Matthew Tkachuk, a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, has signed to play with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2015-16 season.
Tkachuk, a 6-foot, 188-pound left wing, was second on the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team this season with 38 goals and 96 points in 65 games. At the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship he had 12 points in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal. Tkachuk tied for third at the tournament in points and his 10 assists tied 2015 draft prospect Jeremy Bracco for the tournament lead.
"I was leaning to this place a little bit more," Tkachuk said Friday, according to the London Free Press. "I made my decision when I started talking to my mom and dad after the U-18 world championship. I really just got to know the pros and cons of all the decisions. This place stood out to me after I talked to Dale [Hunter, London coach] and his track record. I'm really excited about being with this organization."
Tkachuk's father is former NHL All-Star Keith Tkachuk. However Matthew said his parents left the decision in his hands.
"My dad just gave me the talk, 'This is your decision,'" Tkachuk said. "Not much advice, just, 'You're committed to it 100 percent and you are going there to be a better hockey player.'"
London had drafted Tkachuk in the fourth round (No. 64) of the 2013 OHL draft and waited for him to finish his two-year commitment to the USNTDP.
"He's a playmaker," Hunter told the London Free Press. "He can score. He's big and strong. He's good on the power play. He's a real skill guy. You see the numbers he puts up and it's tough because he's playing against older kids. He's going to make teammates better because he can pass the puck."