Matthew Tkachuk gets brutal criticism for recent performance…  

Matthew Tkachuk gets brutal criticism for recent performance…

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Florida Panthers star forward Matthew Tkachuk has struggled in December, and whilst fans hoped the holiday break would allow him to rest and restart, the winger did not record a single point in the Cats’ 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Adam Proteau of the Hockey News isn’t beating around the bush when talking about Tkachuk and his recent performances on ice. He states that “Tkachuk is not carrying his weight on offense” and adds:

“The 26-year-old is on pace for only a 12-goal, 60-point season. That’s nowhere close to his 40-goal, 109-point year last season.

"Tkachuk is earning $9.5 million per season, and his offensive totals are not nearly enough for that type of salary. He needs to dial things up if Florida is going to replicate their post-season success from last season.”

After back-to-back 100-plus point seasons from Tkachuk, this is not what fans are used to getting from the top forward.

There is no doubt that Tkachuk is capable of more, and would probably need to start off by shooting more. There has been little criticism directed at him, maybe because fans and pundits remain impressed and grateful for his tremendous playoff performance.

However, if the Panthers want to get back there, and maybe win this time around, Tkachuk needs to get back on track and fast.

Some wonder if the Panthers’ style of play could be to blame for Tkachuk’s drop in production, but there has to be more to it… Let’s hope it has nothing to do with the brutal injury, a broken sternum sustained during the Stanley Cup Final in June. Tkachuk was injured by a hit from Vegas Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar in Game 3. Tkachuk scored later in the contest and labored through the injury in Game 4 but was unable to suit up for the series finale.

At the start of training camp in Florida, Tkachuk has confirmed he was feeling great and healthy, but with his recent slump, doubts on his full health could emerge as well.

The Panthers are back in action later tonight when they host the New York Rangers.

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