September 12 — NFL Crossover & Summer of Tkachuk

Last Night’s News 📰

FLAMES CONTINUE BLAZING: Yesterday, the Calgary Flames announced they signed former Buffalo Sabres center Cody Eakin to a PTO (professional tryout). Calgary continues to add depth pieces to its roster with Eakin, a 12-year NHL veteran, as the 31-year-old had four goals and eight assists and was 56 percent in the faceoff circle in 69 games with Buffalo last season. 

DUCKS ADD BEAULIEU: On Friday, the Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a PTO after spending his 11-year career with the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, and Winnipeg Jets. Beaulieu was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the deadline in March but never played due to injuries. He’s hoping to finally find a consistent role in Anaheim after producing four assists and posting a minus-7 in 24 games with Winnipeg last season. 

THORNTON BACK IN THE SHARK TANK: On Sep. 8, Corey Masisak of The Athletic reported that longtime NHL defenseman Joe Thornton and his family moved back to San Jose, where he spent 15 years playing for the Sharks. After chasing after the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers last season, the 43-year-old has yet to sign with an NHL team.

PTO FOR ZAR: Popular former Pittsburgh Penguins grinder Zach Aston-Reese will look to use training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a springboard to his next NHL opportunity, agreeing to a PTO with the Leafs. Aston-Reese, 28, has a chance to catch on as a defensive-minded forward in Toronto or hope that his play draws the eye of another organization seeking toughness and depth.

Tkomparing Tkachuks

Find us a set of brothers who had a better summer than Matthew and Brady Tkachuk—we’ll wait.

Ottawa Senators Brady Tkachuk, left, with Matthew Tkachuk, then with the Calgary Flames. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Yeah, it’s no easy feat—not when Matthew was traded to the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers and signed a new, lucrative contract. Or with Brady seeing his suddenly ambitious Ottawa Senators make their first attempt at a playoff push in the 22-year-old’s young NHL career. Adding a new dimension to their sibling rivalry, let’s explore which of these now-division rivals are in better shape heading into the 2022-23 season.

Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers

Not only did Matthew get paid this summer, he now becomes a foundational piece on a club with legitimate Stanley Cup ambitions. Okay, that was also true last year with the Calgary Flames, but the Arizona native was ready for a change of scenery for whatever reason—and he got it. Now, he joins the likes of Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad on a team that finished with 122 points a year ago.

Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators

Brady will earn roughly $1.3 million less than Matthew over the next six seasons—and don’t think his older brother won’t be letting him hear about it. But while you can debate the merits of Florida subbing out Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar for Matthew, there’s no questioning the upside in the offseason moves made by Brady’s Senators. Welcome, Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and Cam Talbot. No wonder Brady called this the “most excited I’ve ever been going into a season.”

Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr / The Hockey Writers)


Ironically, Matthew was the brother on the move, but Brady saw his Cup hopes make the more significant jump. Brady has every right to be ecstatic heading into training camp when, in reality, his Sens are hoping to push for a playoff spot amidst some of the Atlantic Division titans while Matthew is already there. Long-term security in sunny Florida with a perennial Stanley Cup hopeful? Advantage, Matthew.

Kickoffs & Faceoffs

This weekend was the official start of the NFL, which means we are one step closer to hockey season. There are a lot of similar attributes between hockey and football: the physicality aspect, each team has to prevent opponents from scoring, and they both play with speed and precision. To celebrate the first week of NFL kickoff, we want to help you choose the NFL organization you should root for based on its respective NHL club’s counterpart.

If Your NHL Team Is Rebuilding, Root for the New York Jets

Having not made the playoffs since 2010, the New York Jets have struggled for the last 11 years. That also goes for the Buffalo Sabres, who are in an 11-year playoff drought. Similarly, the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t made the postseason in five years, and the Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes are in a two-year deficiency. Jets fans understand the struggles of getting back in contention, so if you’re a fan of any of those NHL teams, you’ll fit right in with the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!

If Your NHL Team Is a Powerhouse, Root for the Buffalo Bills

Buffalo has overtaken the NFL for the last three seasons. With quarterback Josh Allen at the helm, they’re looking to be the leading Super Bowl contenders with their dynamic offense and stout defense. Similar NHL powerhouses who are Stanley Cup contenders early on are the Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames, and Florida Panthers. If those are your teams, consider joining the Bills Mafia!

If Your NHL Team Is a Dark Horse, Root for the Philadelphia Eagles

A team with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts surrounded by weapons on offense like A.J. Brown at wide receiver, Philadelphia could surprise the NFL this season. In the NHL, the Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Boston Bruins are some comparables that could make noise after making some substantial additions this offseason. So join the “dark” side and fly with the Eagles if your NHL club is a sleeper team.

If Your NHL Team Is Good But Not Good Enough, Root for the Green Bay Packers

Green Bay is a football team that has not missed the playoffs since 2006. Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers has led the Packers to the playoffs 11 times in 14 years. Although they only won the Super Bowl once in that period (2011), the Packers are a contender in the NFC North, but winning the ultimate prize still seems up in the air. The Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Vegas Golden Knights are some NHL teams in the same boat, struggling to reach the ultimate prize, despite consistent regular season success. Will these teams finally get over the hump? Join the Pack and their hopes of a championship if your NHL team is close.

Player Spotlight(s) – NFL Edition

Do NHL players have a favorite football team? Find out in this week’s NFL edition of Player Spotlight. Let’s check in.

Favorite NFL Team

NHL players are just like us and love their football Sundays. While most will root for the teams in their hockey cities (looking at you, Gabriel Landeskog), others surprised us with their answers.

Brendan Gallagher: Cincinnati Bengals
Mark Scheifele: New England Patriots

Josh Manson: Los Angeles Chargers
P.K. Subban: Dallas Cowboys

Mahomes or Brady?

It’s no surprise that when asked which athlete they would like to switch places with, some liked the idea of playing quarterback. The two QBs that came up most were Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Let’s see which side of the fence your favorite player lands.

Dylan Larkin: Tom Brady
Matthew Tkachuk: Tom Brady

Anders Lee: Patrick Mahomes
Cale Makar: Patrick Mahomes

Which NFL Player Would You Be for a Day?

When asked which athlete they would like to be for a day, one that stands taller than all the rest is Tom Brady (sorry, Mahomes!). Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel may have had similar answers, but their reasoning was slightly different. 

Taylor Hall: To see what his regimen is and if it’s as serious as everyone says.
Seth Jones: Tom Brady is Tom Brady, and he’s got a supermodel wife—not a bad life.

Auston Matthews: Probably the greatest quarterback of all time.
Jack Eichel: I would say Tom Brady but I like to eat and his diet seems pretty strict.

Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Morning Skate will introduce The Hockey Writers team contributors as they share some quick thoughts on what has been happening with their respective clubs this summer.

Today, we speak with Nashville Predators contributor Shawn Wilken and Vegas Golden Knights scribe Ben Fisher to preview their teams. 

Nashville Predators

Vegas Golden Knights

How Would You Rate the Team’s Offseason?



A Prospect Who Could Make His NHL Debut This Season:

An Offseason Move That Will Pay Off This Season:

Most Underrated Player on the Roster:

Which Player Departure Was the Biggest Loss?:

Who Will Be the Predators’ Highest-Scoring Forward?:

Can Jack Eichel Return to Pre-Injury Form This Year?: