Keith Tkachuk announced yesterday that he is retiring after 20 years in the NHL. His last name is perhaps the reason why everyone who I knew was a hockey fan followed his career. For me, he will always be one of the best power – finesse combination guys that I have ever seen play.
Selected 19th overall by the now defunct Winnipeg Jets in 1991. He made his debut in 1992 and was always in the majors after that debut. Early in his career (between 1992 – 1996) he routinely put up 150 – 200 penalty minutes and scored between 50 – 98 points. His best season was the 1995-96 season when he register 50 goals, 98 points and 156 penalty minutes.
In 1996 the Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes. Tkachuk would have his best season that year, but afterwards he would go through injuries that not only cost him games played but ended being the primary factor of the Coyote’s trading him to St. Louis.
In St. Louis he would be teamed with Brett Hull and together they would push St. Louis to the post season year after year. He would spend the remainder of his career with the Blues, except for a mid-season trade to Atlanta during the 2006-07 season. He would end up resigning with the Blues just before the 2007-2008 season.
During the course of his career he has earned several awards and milestones (from Wikipedia).
- Hockey East All-Rookie Team — 1991
- NHL Second All-Star Team — 1995, 1998
- Played in 5 NHL All-Star Games — 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009
- NHL Player of the Week — December 6, 1993; April 1, 1994; April 7, 1997
- 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
Unfortunately Keith’s rookies were smack dab in the middle of the junk wax era for hockey and his rookie cards can be had for under a dollar. His autographed cards ( the few that he has) all seem to be running in the $10 – $15 range. For a player with over 500 goals and 500 assists, that has a good chance of getting into the Hall of Fame, those prices seem a bit low for me. Now might be a great time to pick up a couple before he gets into the Hall.