Keith Tkachuk says son Brady ‘loves playing in Ottawa’

“He might be pulling a classic Tkachuk right now. Dad held out, Matthew held out, and Brady looks like he’s on his way right now.”

When Matthew Tkachuk shared that insight into his brother Brady’s contract talks with the Ottawa Senators back in September, it sent a shiver down the spine of many Ottawa Senators fans. They’ve almost gotten used to seeing star players leave the organization after blossoming into star players, so it was unsettling to say the least as Brady remained an unsigned RFA through training camp.

Thankfully, though, the younger Tkachuk signed a long-term deal (seven years, $57.5 million) with the Sens on Oct. 14, the day of Ottawa’s first regular season game. He won’t get into the lineup for the first time until Thursday, but the future is secure.

Brady’s dad, former NHLer and US Hockey Hall of Fame member Keith, joined the Jeff Marek Show on Wednesday and was asked about the process of Brady and the Sens figuring out a contract.

“I don’t share Matthew’s enthusiasm on the subject,” Keith quipped.

“It’s Brady’s life,” Keith continued. “I think any time you’re going through negotiations of that magnitude, or at some points lack of negotiations, it was tough.

“You have to be a parent first, you have to try to guide your son into making a good decision and he’s represented by the best in my opinion in Newport. Matthew had his way of dealing with things with Brady and Brady always looks to Matthew for advice and same with me. Sometimes you just gotta hold your ground. At the end of the day you want to play and deep down everyone who knows Brady knew he wanted to be back there. He didn’t want to miss camp. That was the unfortunate part, he wished it was done a little bit sooner.”

Both Keith and Matthew Tkachuk went through prolonged negotiations themselves, with Keith missing the start of training camp in 1998 and Matthew missing Flames camp in 2019. Neither missed regular season action, though.

This past summer brought us the latest offer sheet in the NHL, with Jesperi Kotkaniemi signing one with the Carolina Hurricanes that the Montreal Canadiens chose not to match. There was some question from the outside if Brady Tkachuk might consider something similar if an offer sheet came his way, but father Keith downplayed that idea.

“The speculation was the funniest part,” Keith said. “Some of the stuff coming out made zero sense and obviously being Brady’s dad I knew when everything was happening. It wasn’t even close to what the media was suggesting. There was no talk of [an offer sheet]. I didn’t hear any of that. Brady’s probably going to ask my advice before anyone else and he never asked me about that.”

Now Brady and Sens fans can confidently look towards a brighter future, hopefully one full of wins and post-season success.

“He loves playing in Ottawa,” Keith said. “He knows deep down they’re going to do whatever it takes to get to the next level because they have the pieces right now even though they’re young.”

So this adventure with the Tkachuks is over, but it won’t be long until we may be embroiled in another one. After all, Matthew is in the last year of his contract with the Calgary Flames, scheduled to become an RFA this summer. The Flames’ direction is much less obvious than Ottawa’s upward trajectory, so will the older brother sign a similar long-term deal to stay in his Canadian market, or will he pull a “classic Tkachuk”?

These are the days of our lives.

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