San Francisco born, Arizona-raised forward who has size, speed and scoring ability and has displayed it since he was 16 years of age with dominant performances against older juniors. Uses his size and smarts to dominate. If he had been born two days earlier, he would have been the third selection in 2015. A mature player who displays a high skill set, powerful skating feet, and a bigger frame that allows him to make space and breach the offensive zone. Defensively responsible. The NHL players he has scrimmaged with have took notice of his puck-handling, passing, shot and possession skills. He isn’t much an aggressive edging player, but uses his size much like Jonathan Toews uses his size to game advantage. Has played centre and can also easily be projected as a right wing. Clearly appears to be the most NHL-ready of the class due to on & off ice regime, mature attitude to go with a man’s size, high hockey IQ and polished skill set.
The team that drafts first is guaranteed a NHL player. It can be argued that he is not to be labeled a generational talent, the likes of Crosby Ovechkin or McDavid. High water marks are very difficult to project, tied to growth through game experiences in the big league, not production in junior. There have been lots of comparison of him as Jonathan Toews type player whose commitment and professionalism are close to the top of many one’s list. He doesn’t get knocked off pucks, and sees openings and generates scoring chances. The question is whether Matthews is Eichel-like. But, at the top level will he beat players with his power, reach and quickness? Will his shot be as strong and powerful? I am not trying to downplay his all around high level of abilities, but want to temper expectations that he is the next Conor McDavid. You don’t pass on him if he’s on the draft board. (Side note: His mother was born in Mexico o he is Mexican American by birth.)