Is Matthew Tkachuk The Next Flames Captain?

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 21, 2018: (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 21, 2018: (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images) /

He is having a remarkable sophomore season, building a huge presence around the league and growing into a leadership role with the Calgary Flames at just 20 years old. What can’t Matthew Tkachuk do?

Gritty, tough, young, skilled, fiery, extremely irritating to opposing players. League-wide, I am pretty sure the first name that comes to mind in association with those words is Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. He is a part of one of the best shut-down lines in hockey, is turning into a deflection specialist, gets under virtually everyone’s skin and has 23 goals this season. What can’t he do? Be the Flames captain, that’s what.

Not for now, at least. That title belongs to Mark Giordano. However, the lovable (and extremely disliked at the same time) 20-year-old is garnering buzz lately as the apparent heir to the throne of Flames captaincy.

Many, including myself, thought that the C was firmly in the grasp of Sean Monahan after he was officially integrated into the leadership group in 2015-16 when he was made an alternate captain at just 21 years old.

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But, that’s what Matthew Tkachuk does: He bursts onto the scene. And frankly, who would expect anything less given the way he plays and acts.

Not only is #19 earning a reputation as one of the toughest players to play against, but he is also clearly becoming a leader in the Flames dressing room. Just take a look at this clip.

Spoken like a true leader. He takes the responsibility for the tough loss while also challenging his team to do better. I rarely see 20 year old NHL players speak for their team that way unless they are a part of the leadership group.

You can clearly see that he is frustrated but is looking to challenge his team to play up to their potential.

He is also becoming a mainstay in the Calgary community. Whenever the Flames are involved in a charity event, hospital visit or fan appreciation opportunity, Matthew Tkachuk always seem to be a major contributor.

Tkachuk not only plays hard, but smart. Even when he is rustling things up in front of the net, it’s tactical and has a greater purpose than simply angering the opposition. That is a real captain’s mentality: Do whatever you have to do to help the team win. Play for the logo on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. If you watch Mark Giordano, you will notice that everything he does on the ice revolves around these two sayings. As he gains more experience, Tkachuk is doing the same.

I think that Tkachuk is a shoe-in as the next captain. The Calgary

Flames seem to have struck gold with the 6th overall pick in the 2016 draft. He is such a complete hockey player, and he’s only going to get bigger, stronger and smarter.

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Captain Tkachuk. That sounds familiar…

It has a nice ring to it.