Brady Tkachuk is still mapping out his future path.
The fourth overall pick of the Ottawa Senators is debating whether he's ready to turn pro next season, or if further seasoning at Boston University would be better for his long-term goals.
Signing an entry-level contract would make Tkachuk ineligible for the NCAA. However, if he's not quite ready primetime, he could also be assigned to Belleville, home of the Senators' AHL club, or to the OHL's London Knights, who hold his junior rights.
"The decision will be based on what's best for my development short and long term; I want to have a long career and don't want to go somewhere and not have an impact," Tkachuk told Mike Morreale of NHL.com. "I want to make an impact wherever I go and be able to contribute and play my best. Having both options is a great problem to have; they are two great spots."
Tkachuk has turned to his family for advice, counting on his father, Keith, one of the top American-born players of all time, and brother, Matthew, who broke in with the Calgary Flames two seasons ago at 18 years old.
"It's tough for me to be on the phone with my parents because we're not in the same city," Tkachuk added. "But I want to talk to them face-to-face because their opinion, and the opinion of my brother and sister, are important so they'll tell me what they think but it'll be my decision in the end.
"It's one of the biggest decisions of my life. It's tough and stressful but when it happens it'll be nice to have it off the shoulders. I just want to be 100 percent committed to wherever I decide."
Should Tkachuk choose the pro ranks, there's a good chance he could make the immediate jump to the NHL given the potentially open spots on the Senators' roster.
But there are also some advantages to returning to the Terriers. Tkachuk would likely see increased ice time as a sophomore and would also get a shot at working alongside new bench boss Albie O'Connell following David Quinn's appointment with the New York Rangers.
Tkachuk finished fourth in Terriers team scoring last season, netting 31 points in 40 games. He also impressed as part of Team USA at the World Junior Championship, posting nine points in seven contests.
The budding power winger has circled Aug. 12 as the latest he intends to make his decision, giving both sides nearly a month to prepare for training camp. For now, the clock ticks.
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