Mike Matheson to Panthers: Video Highlights, Scouting Report and Analysis
Height/Weight: 6'1", 178 lbs
Youth Team: Lac Saint-Louis Lions
Current Team: Dubuque (USHL)
It isn't often that a Canadian player chooses to forgo playing juniors at a high level in favor of the USHL, but that was the case with defenseman Michael Matheson. He was expected to be the top pick in the 2010 QMJHL draft, but Matheson chose instead to play for Dubuque in the USHL, where he has developed nicely thus far.
Matheson's success at Dubuque will lead him to Boston College next season, when he promises to be a key player for the Eagles.
Perhaps playing in juniors would have helped Matheson's draft stock a bit, but you have to admire him for going off the beaten path and deciding that an education was more important to him than the level of competition he plays against. That alone likely increased interest in him in a lot of ways.
With all of that said, though, Matheson's hockey skills shouldn't be ignored in the least.
Matheson had a very impressive first season with Dubuque, as he racked up 27 points in 53 regular-season games, as well as five more in five playoff games, including four goals.
Matheson was able to outclass many of his opponents in the USHL thanks to his superior skating ability. There are few players in the draft who can do as much as Matheson from a skating perspective. He uses it to his advantage when rushing the puck up ice, but it is also a major plus for him defensively.
Matheson has no issue getting back during scramble situations because he is so fast and effortless on the ice. He also has a penchant for using his feet to get out of sticky situations in the defensive zone.
The main concern with Matheson, though, is his size and physicality. He has bulked up a bit recently and stands 6'1" and 178 lbs, but if he doesn't continue to grow, then he is likely to be manhandled by bigger, stronger forwards at the next level.
Skating can get Matheson a long way in the USHL and perhaps even at Boston College, but he won't be able to fall back on it as much in the NHL, since almost every player is a great skater. He needs to develop a better all-around defensive game, and if he is able to do that, then he has a real chance to succeed in the NHL a few years from now.
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