The Florida Panthers are off to a good start to their 2022-23 campaign, going 3-1-0 through four games with wins against the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, and Philadelphia Flyers. The all-around team effort is there, but one player who sticks out is a new guy who was sent here in a blockbuster trade this past summer that shook the entire league.
That player is forward Matthew Tkachuk, who seems to mesh with the team just fine through his first four games.
Tkachuk’s Off to a Hot Start
In his first four games as a Panther, he’s already making noise on the scoreboard as he is currently on a four-game point streak. He’s amassed six points (two goals and four assists) through those games. As a result of his performance, he currently leads the team in points and is tied for the team lead in goals.
He’s around everything, that man. He’s involved, to say the least. That’s his game. There’s no show going on. That’s just who he is. He’s involved in every scrum, most of the hits, and a goal a game so far.Panthers head coach Paul Maurice on forward Matthew Tkachuk’s impact for Florida against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 15.
Since his arrival to South Florida, he’s taken command of this team and has done everything general manager Bill Zito expected him to do when he wrote up his eight-year extension. It’s no wonder he received an “A” on his jersey as an alternative captain.
Tkachuk’s Place in the Lineup Aids Him in His Success
While his individual effort is great, his place in the lineup actually makes life easier for him. Rather than be on the top line with his captain in Aleksander Barkov, although he does share the top power-play unit with him, he’s on the second line with a former teammate and linemate during his time with the Calgary Flames in center Sam Bennett.
Not only does that give him a sense of familiarity, but because they both have a power forward style of play, it can give opposing goaltenders a lot to work with when you have both of them getting into the crease. In addition, the grit the duo brings to the table makes them difficult to handle on the forecheck, creating great scoring chances and extending zone time.
Tkachuk’s Off to a Better Start Than Weegar & Huberdeau
As previously mentioned, the season is still relatively early. But it is worth noting that Tkachuk is doing better than the players he was traded for since his arrival in South Florida. Currently, both Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar have three assists through three games. Combined, they have a total of six points, matching Tkachuk’s total for the year. Additionally, none of those points are goals.
The stats alone will heat up the argument about which team won that bombshell of a trade over the summer. But the answer is still yet to be determined.
Can Tkachuk Continue His Dominant Play?
Right now, Zito, Maurice, and the Panthers locker room and staff are really liking the idea of Tkachuk being in Broward County, Florida, for the next eight years of his career. Not only can he put up points like an all-star, but his pestering type of play makes him perfect for the playoffs.
He is flourishing in Maurice’s new system and developing chemistry on his new line and power play unit. At only 24 years of age, he’s only just getting started on his dominance in the Sunshine State. There is no doubt within the organization that he can continue his elite level of play.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!