Brady Tkachuk expected to make season debut Thursday
The wait is almost over.
The 22-year-old inked a seven-year, $57.5-million deal prior to the Senators' first game of the campaign on Oct. 14. Ottawa opted to delay Tkachuk's debut since he missed all of training camp.
"We want Brady at his best, and my job is to put him in the best spot," Smith said ahead of Sunday's game against the Dallas Stars when explaining the decision not to dress Tkachuk for the contest.
"If he's in the lineup, physically he's probably ready to play 12-14 minutes, and the likelihood is I would play him more than that," he continued.
The Senators went 2-1-0 without Tkachuk in the lineup to start the season. Chris Tierney scored two goals Sunday to lead Ottawa to a 3-2 victory over the Stars.
After playing three games in four days, the Senators will have three days off before facing the Sharks. The contest is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET.