Is this the quietest 100-point season in NHL history? Not that Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk should ever be mislabelled as silent – especially on the ice – but the 24-year-old’s massive year has been a bit under the radar.
Linemate Johnny Gaudreau has already cracked the century mark. And with a real shot at the scoring title, Gaudreau’s name is being spoken more loudly by the day in the Hart Trophy conversation.
Scoring his 40th goal of the season opened the scoring for the Calgary Flames against the Dallas Stars at the Saddledome on Thursday night. A big moment in a win that clinched the Pacific Division. It also secured Tkachuk’s first 100-point season. He has been a dynamic goal-scorer, reliable set-up man (60 assists) and high-volume shooter (246). He’s deadly on the powerplay (12 PPG and 29 points).
Although his words downplayed the predictable moment after Thursday’s morning skate, Tkachuk’s celebration showed how meaningful the milestone was.
It likely also helped that the powerplay tally at the halfway point gave his team a 1-0 lead during a game that was lacking much in the way of excitement to that point.
“That is not as big a motivating factor as people would think. It’s not really about all the personal stuff,” Tkachuk said of the milestone Thursday morning. “But if you’d asked me about this a few years ago, 10 years ago, if I’d have a chance to do it, I’d probably say you’re lying.
“I guess that’s pretty cool.”
It’s more than cool.
It’s a benchmark his dad, former NHLer Keith Tkachuk, never reached.
Brother Brady, captain of the Ottawa Senators, still has a long way to go offensively to rise to Matthew’s lofty level.
When Matthew Tkachuk beat his dad’s NHL best 98 points in Nashville this week, the Calgary Flames surprised him with the puck that eclipsed Keith’s personal best.
We had a little surprise for Big Walt after Chucky picked up his 99th point in Nashville, surpassing his dad's best of 98 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hqUaN2axxR
— x – Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) April 20, 2022
“I saw the video there. They were great enough to go surprise him during the game,” Matthew said of the presentation in the stands. “There was no audio, so maybe there were some f-bombs thrown around.
“No, he was really excited after the game. I got the chance to see him. Obviously would’ve liked to see us win, but you couldn’t get the smile off his face if you tried. He’s our, mine and my brother’s biggest fan along with my mom. Probably my mom, but he’s right there with her. He was very excited. He definitely doesn’t want me to stop at that.”
And now he’s the second member of the Calgary Flames to hit the 100-point milestone this season, joining Gaudreau in the history books.
There hasn’t been a single Flames 100-point player in nearly three decades. Theo Fleury was the last to do it in 1992-93. There haven’t been two since Fleury and Al MacInnis in 1990-91.