In 1995 Tkachuk was the captain of the Winnipeg Jets, the Coyotes' precursor before the team moved to Arizona. But he was also a free agent, and at what looked like the end of his contract negotiations, he signed an offer sheet with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets, though, decided that they absolutely needed him. They matched Chicago's offer and signed Tkachuk to a multi year contract.
Tkachuk, one of many U.S. players in the NHL from the Boston area, is best known around league arenas as a power forward and it's no surprise that his hero as a kid was the Bruins' Cam Neely. He attended Boston University for just one year after becoming the first pick of the Jets in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft out of high school. He joined the U.S. Olympic team in 1991 and 1992 and his first full season with the Jets was 1992-93. By his third NHL season, Tkachuk was a 50-goal scorer and in 1996-97 became the first american-born player to lead the NHL in goals with 52. The left wing (and sometimes center) was also developing into one of the premier power-forwards in the game.
A four-time member of the U.S Olympic Team (1992, 1998, 2002, 2006) and member of the U.S. 1996 World Cup Team, Tkachuk spent parts of ten seasons with Winnipeg/Phoenix organization before being traded to the St. Louis Blues in the latter stages of the 2000-01 season. Upon the completion of the 2003-04 season, Tkachuk had managed to score at least 20 goals in his first 12 full seasons in the NHL.
In the 2006-07 season, Tkachuk tallied 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points before the St. Louis Blues dealt Tkachuk to the Atlanta Thrashers. His stay in Atlanta was short lived however; after the Thrashers were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs they dealt Tkachuk back the St. Louis Blues.