2. Can Brady Tkachuk take the next leap in 2020-21?
Brady Tkachuk is a rising star in the National Hockey League and the stage is set for the forward to take that next big leap in 2020-21.
Taken with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Tkachuk has developed into a franchise cornerstone for the Ottawa Senators and Year 3 is normally when we see some real progress made.
After recording 44 points (21 G, 23 A) in 71 regular-season games in 2019-20, just a point less than his rookie year, Tkachuk would have been expected to hit the 50-point mark this season before the 56-game shortened schedule was revealed.
Unless the 21-year-old has an absolute monster year, maybe somewhere in the region of 30-45 points would be a very good year for the center, who will be expected to carry this team on his back in 2020-21.
It will help that he will have some legit help in the form of German stud Tim Stuetzle, deadly goalscorer Evgeni Dadonov and having Derek Stepan and Alex Galchenyuk down the middle behind him should also help to ease some of the offensive burden.
I also think having Stepan as his second-line center and as a role model on and off the ice will benefit Tkachuk’s all-round game, giving him the chance to learn from a player who has always carried himself well and who knows what it takes to go deep in the Playoffs.
But there is no doubt that Tkachuk will be the rising tide that lifts all boats when it comes to Ottawa’s offense in 2020-21, in that he will be the focal point of their forward group and he should get plenty of opportunities to carve out one hell of a year.
His ATOI will probably also rise up from a career-high 18:56 last year and, as my colleague Matty Breisch so brilliantly put it, 2020-21 could be the year that Brady Tkachuk becomes a true star in the NHL.