Training camp in the National Hockey League is drawing closer and closer with every passing minute but, in spite of the fact that many teams expect to have their players reporting in the coming days, several big ticket free agents still remain unsigned.
The big names out there are of course Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, forward Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks, Pettersson's teammate Quinn Hughes, and Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators. We've all heard about the contentious negotiations between Kaprizov and the Wild at this point, there have been rumblings suggesting that the Vancouver Canucks are wary of a potential offer sheet after seeing how the Montreal Canadiens lost forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi earlier in the summer, but surprisingly things have been very quiet on the Tkachuk front... at least until now.
This week the silence was finally broken when brother Matthew Tkachuk gave a rather candid interview about his brother's ongoing contract negotiations, one in which he admitted that both Brady and the Tkachuk family were being deliberately difficult. In fact, despite rumors of a significant offer of $8 million per year over the next 8 years, Matthew indicated his belief that the two sides are not very close when it comes to negotiating a new deal.
"He might be pulling a classic Tkachuk right now," admitted Matthew as per Sportsnet. "Dad held out, Matthew held out, and Brady looks like he's on his way right now. So hopefully it can get figured out here. But it's just a lot of fake stuff out there regarding this. They're not too close. So hopefully it gets figured out, but who knows? My dad and I are definitely involved. Brady needs us to help him out with that stuff. He wasn't as cutthroat as we were during it, but he's starting to become more of a Tkachuk the later this goes."
Perhaps even more interesting than Matthew's comments on the ongoing negotiations however were his comments regarding his younger brother's role with the Ottawa Senators. I'm sure many fans and pundits already view Brady Tkachuk as a potential candidate to be the next captain of the Ottawa Senators, but to hear Matthew talk about his brother's importance to the Senators makes it sound like the "C" is already a forgone conclusion when it comes to brother Brady.
"He's a great player, deserves to get everything he should," Matthew said. "He's the most important part of their team. The captain. Obviously all the stuff all of us know about him and he loves it there. Absolutely loves it there. So we'll see what happens."
The Senators will kick off their preseason just a little over one week from today, their first game is scheduled for the 26th where they will face off against the Winnipeg Jets, which means there is now relatively little time to get this deal done.