Tkachuk to start season with Flames, Gulutzan says

Oct 6 2016, 6:57 pm

It looks like the kid is here to stay… for now at least.

Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan confirmed today that Matthew Tkachuk will at least get a taste of the NHL this season.

The sixth-overall pick at the 2016 draft, Tkachuk has been impressive at Flames camp thus far, scoring two goals in four preseason games and showing early signs of chemistry with fellow up-and-comer Sam Bennett.

In last night’s contest against the Coyotes, playing on a line with Bennett and Troy Brouwer, Tkachuk scored the only goal for the Flames in regulation before winning it with a nice move in the shootout.

This news isn’t super surprising, as more and more teenage players are getting the opportunity to show what they can do in the first nine games of the season. The question is, will he get to stay for his tenth game and beyond?

The tenth game is the magic number because after that game, the player burns off a year of his contract, essentially being in line for a pay raise one year sooner. There is no such risk involved in the first nine games.

Of course, if Tkachuk can prove himself to be an NHL player in those nine games, the Flames should be happy to burn a year to keep him on the roster. If he doesn’t quite stick, it’s back to the London Knights for one more season in the OHL.

We’ll have a better idea of Tkachuk’s chances of staying for the full season after he plays a few real NHL games. For now though, it’s just good to know that we’ll get at least a sneak peek at what Tkachuk can bring to the Flames.

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