|Born||March 28, 1972 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||244 lb (111 kg; 17 st 6 lb)|
|Played for||Winnipeg Jets|
St. Louis Blues
|National team||United States|
|NHL Draft||19th overall, 1990|
Keith Tkachuk (born Keith Matthew Tkachuk on March 28, 1972) is a retired American professional ice hockey player who played for four teams and three franchises in his 19-year career.
He is one of only four American-born players to score 500 goals and is the sixth American player to score 1,000 points.
Keith began his hockey career at Malden Catholic High School in Malden, Massachusetts.
He played collegiate hockey at Boston University, was a member of the U.S. National Junior team in 1991 and 1992 and a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1992.
Keith was drafted in the first round (19th overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets who acquired the pick from the Buffalo Sabres in the deal that sent Dale Hawerchuk to Buffalo. He played as center, left winger and right winger in his career.
Tkachuk has earned the nickname "Walt" (given to him by Eddie Olczyk), possibly in reference to Walter Tkaczuk (a star center who played for the New York Rangers from 1967 to 1981).
The two players' last names are pronounced similarly but spelled differently, and the two men are not related to each other.
With his great play in front of the net, using his size and strength to battle opposing defensemen, St. Louis Blues broadcasters and fans dubbed Keith "Big Walt."
Keith is considered to be one of the greatest US-born players in NHL history.
- 1 Playing Career
- 2 Career Statistics
- 3 Awards & Achievements
- 4 International Play
- 5 Playing Style
- 6 Post-Playing Career
- 7 Personal Life
Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Winnipeg Jets (1992-1996)[edit | edit source]
On February 28, 1992 (days after the end of the Olympics), Keith made his NHL debut against the Vancouver Canucks and tallied an assist.
He would finish the season with the Jets, getting eight points in 17 games. In the playoffs that year, he scored three goals in seven games.
The following season (in 1992–93) was Keith's official rookie year. He appeared in 83 games and ended the season with 28 goals and 51 points which included a 12–game scoring streak from March 9 to April 3, 1993.
On November 3, 1993, Keith became the team captain the next season, two weeks after recording his first hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Some of his accomplishments from that season include leading the Jets in goals (41), points (81), and power play goals (22).
The 1994–95 NHL season (which was shortened by a lockout) saw Keith earn all-star second-team honors, as well as being second on the team in points.
In the 1995–96 NHL season, he dominated the Jets' statistics finishing first in goals (50), assists (48), points (98), power play goals (20), game-winning goals (6), shots (249) and plus/minus (+11).
At the start of the 1995-1996 season, Keith (a restricted free agent at the time) signed a massive front-loaded five-year offer sheet worth $17-million with $6-million coming in the first season from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Despite the Jets' impending relocation to Phoenix, Arizona and poor financial situation, the Jets matched the offer-sheet within six-hours.
As a result, Keith was stripped of the captaincy and replaced by Kris King. Nonetheless, he set a career-high 50 goals and 98 points, the closest he ever got to the 100 point plateau.
Before the start of the NHL playoffs that year, he was renamed captain of the team. Going up against the President's Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings, the Jets lost in 6 games with Keith scoring a goal and 2 assists in the series.
After losing Game 6 by a score of 4-1, the final Jets game in Winnipeg before relocating to Phoenix, Keith led the Jets in a final skate around Winnipeg Arena in appreciation of the fans.
Phoenix Coyotes (1996-2001)[edit | edit source]
When the Jets moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996, Keith became a member of the new Phoenix Coyotes.
It was with Phoenix during the 1996–97 season that Keith has his career-best 52 goals, and made his first appearance in the NHL All-Star Game.
He also led the team in goals, points, power-play goals, game-winning goals and shots for the 1997–98 season which earned him his second straight All-Star appearance.
For the 1998–99 season, Keith led the team in goals, power-play goals, game-winning goals, shots, and plus/minus, and again went to the All-Star game. In 1997, he was on the cover of the video game NHL Breakaway '98.
After struggling with injuries for the next two seasons, the Coyotes traded Keith to the Blues in 2001 for Ladislav Nagy, Michal Handzus, Jeff Taffe and a 1st round selection (Ben Eager) where he was reunited with Dallas Drake who had signed a free agent deal with the Blues in the summer of 2000.
Keith would leave the team ranking second in all-time goals (323) and first in penalty minutes (1,508) among other records.
St. Louis Blues (2001-2006)[edit | edit source]
Keith made an immediate impact on the Blues, scoring six goals and eight points in the final 12 games of the 2000–01 season.
The Blues made it to the Western Conference final in the playoffs that season, losing to the Colorado Avalanche, the eventual 2001 Stanley Cup champions.
Keith has experienced several injuries while with the Blues, and was briefly suspended when he reported to training camp overweight and failed his physical at the beginning of the 2005–06 season.
Atlanta Thrashers[edit | edit source]
On February 25, 2007, Keith was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Glen Metropolit, a 1st round pick in 2007, a 3rd round pick in 2007 and a 2nd round pick in 2008.
Returning to St. Louis Blues (2007-2011)[edit | edit source]
On June 26, 2007, St. Louis reacquired Keith along with a conditional 4th round draft pick for a conditional first round pick in 2008.
If he had re-signed with the Thrashers, the Blues would have had Atlanta's first round pick in 2008.
Since the Blues acquired exclusive negotiating rights with Keith and re-signed him to a two-year deal, Atlanta received a conditional 4th round pick in 2008.
On June 30, 2007, Keith signed a new, two-year contract with the Blues for $8 million.
Upon re-signing, Keith said of the Blues that "I see a lot of good things happening... They're going to be very active in making this a better hockey team."
To help prove the Blues would be better, after signing Keith, they signed left winger Paul Kariya.
Coach Andy Murray announced that he would try a line where Keith would be centering Kariya on left wing and Brad Boyes on right.
On the last day of the 2007–08 regular season (April 6th), he scored his 500th NHL goal, a milestone only three other American-born players have achieved, and the 41st overall in NHL history.
On November 30, 2008, Keith scored goal number 511, giving him 1,000 NHL points for his career. He becomes only the sixth American and 72nd overall to achieve that milestone. It came in his 1,077th NHL game.
On June 19, 2009, he signed a one year contract with the Blues.
On April 7, 2010, Keith announced that he would be retiring from hockey at the conclusion of the 2009–10 season. On April 9, 2010, he played his final NHL game two nights later.
Career Statistics[edit | edit source]
|1990–91||Boston U. Terriers||HE||36||17||23||40||70||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||St. Louis Blues||NHL||12||6||2||8||14||15||2||7||9||20|
|2001–02||St. Louis Blues||NHL||73||38||37||75||117||10||5||5||10||18|
|2002–03||St. Louis Blues||NHL||56||31||24||55||139||7||1||3||4||14|
|2003–04||St. Louis Blues||NHL||75||33||38||71||83||5||0||2||2||10|
|2005–06||St. Louis Blues||NHL||41||15||21||36||46||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||St. Louis Blues||NHL||61||20||23||43||92||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||St. Louis Blues||NHL||79||27||31||58||69||—||—||—||—||—|
|2008–09||St. Louis Blues||NHL||79||25||24||49||61||4||0||0||0||2|
|2009–10||St. Louis Blues||NHL||67||13||19||32||56||—||—||—||—||—|
International Statistics[edit | edit source]
|Junior int'l totals||14||9||7||16||18|
|Senior int'l totals||35||13||5||18||85|
Awards & Achievements[edit | edit source]
- All-Hockey East Rookie Team (1990–91)
- NHL Second All-Star Team (1995 and 1998)
- Played in 5 NHL All-Star Games (1997, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009)
- NHL Player of the Week (December 6, 1993, April 1, 1994 and April 7, 1997)
Milestones[edit | edit source]
- 1000 games played: December 1, 2007 against the Chicago Blackhawks
- 700 career points: April 5, 2002 against the Chicago Blackhawks
- 400 career goals: October 12, 2003 against the Colorado Avalanche
- 500 career goals: April 6, 2008 against the Columbus Blue Jackets
- 1000 career points: November 30, 2008 against the Atlanta Thrashers
Records[edit | edit source]
Keith led the NHL in goals during the 1996–97 NHL season with 52, the first American-born player to do so.
That season, he was also only the fourth player in NHL history to record 50 goals and 200 penalty minutes in a single season.
- Phoenix Coyotes franchise record for career game-winning goals (40)
- Phoenix Coyotes franchise record for career penalty minutes (1,508)
International Play[edit | edit source]
|Competitor for United States|
|Silver||2002 Salt Lake City|
|Gold||1996 North America|
|World Junior Championships|
Playing Style[edit | edit source]
Keith was one of the elite power forwards of his era. He was known for his aggressive, physical style while consistently scoring points.
Keith had more than 100 penalty minutes in 10 of his 19 NHL seasons including three seasons with over 200 penalty minutes.
He was known for his goal scoring prowess, scoring 30 goals eight times including two 40-goal seasons and two back-to-back 50 goal seasons, the latter of which he led the league in goals with 52.
Post-Playing Career[edit | edit source]
Keith is an investor in sports talk radio station KFNS (590 AM, St. Louis MO). He is an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues Peewee AAA hockey team where his son Braeden plays on the team.
Personal Life[edit | edit source]
Keith is Irish on his mother's side. When he was asked about the origin of his surname, he was unsure, suggesting it could either be "Polish, Russian [or] Ukrainian, one of those."
He has has been married to Chantal Oster (whom he met in Winnipeg) since February 28, 1997. They have three children: Matthew, Braeden, and Taryn.
He is still a fan favorite in St. Louis.