Ottawa 67’s star defenseman Jack Matier greeted reporters at a Thanksgiving post-game press conference with an easy smile and a warm hello. He had a lot to be thankful for after scoring his first Ontario Hockey League (OHL) goal en route to scoring five points in his team’s 7-2 loss to the Oshawa Generals. If that wasn’t enough, he ended the day by signing an Entry Level Contract (ELC) with the Nashville Predators, which took him to this year’s NHL Draft in the fourth round.
Matier thanks the predator contract
When asked what he was most grateful for that day – his contract, his first goal or the multiple points, he replied: âI think the contract was something in my head for sure. . Obviously, this is a dream come true. Every kid wants to play in the NHL, and that’s a stepping stone towards that.
True to the long tradition of Canadian hockey players, Matier has an unpretentious style and seems to flee the spotlight. After acknowledging his newly-struck ELC to reporters, he quickly put the focus back on the Ottawa 67’s, saying, “I’m grateful for the game I think the team played and that I was able to contribute to. .
Matier’s path to the OHL
Matier’s journey to his triumph on Monday has been tortuous due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Sault Ste. The native of Marie took part in 56 games during his 2019-2020 rookie season in the nation’s capital, he missed the entire 2020-21 campaign as the pandemic forced the league to strike out his entire season.
He only played eight games last season, including seven at the 2021 U-18 World Championship in April. The eighth wore the Predators uniform and played in an exhibition game in September against the Florida Panthers.
Matter Scouting Reports
Matier’s five-point performance on Monday afternoon belies any trace reports written about him so far. Most identified him as a home defender who rarely takes chances on the blue lines at either end of the ice. He is very careful before jumping on the play of the blue line of the attacking zone.
Related: Jack Matier – 2021 NHL Draft Outlook File
Rare is the rush that he gives up, and when defending against them he keeps the attack outward and defends the net with his body. He can and uses his formidable size to clear the front of his goal. Not only that, but it was used extensively on stoplines and shorthanded.
If there is one foul to his game in the scouting reports, it is that he is sacrificing his offensive contributions by playing the blue line so conservatively. While many pundits say he’ll never be an Erik Karlsson or an Adam Fox, he has the ability to boost his offensive stats. If his performance on Thanksgiving Day heralds anything to come, 67’s fans can expect to see that as the season unfolds.
As Matier is such a good positional player, he didn’t need top speed to make a defensive impact. Still, developing as a stronger, faster skater would boost his offense.
As important as a player’s skills are, they should be associated with traits such as willingness to win, leadership, and determination. For Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron, Matier has these qualities in abundance. The new bench chief with the 67’s said: âHe works every day. I don’t think he was a guy who was supposed to be part of the Canadian Under-18 team that won gold this year, but he found a place in that team, which was the best in the world. world at that age.
Cameron admits to having exploited Matier’s character in his coaching endeavors, saying of the young star’s presence in the dressing room that “what’s really good from a training standpoint is that he does it the right way so you can point the finger at him and tell him young players that if they want to be a pro, follow him.
Matier may have inherited part of his character from his father, Mark, who in the early 1990s played with the Soo Greyhounds – a team that won two OHL championships and a Memorial Cup as he was defending the blue line with the team. The Matiers certainly seem like a hockey family, with 11 immediate family and extended clan members gathered Monday night to watch Jack play.
High expectations on Matier for the 2021-22 season
With an NHL training camp under his belt and signing on to a new ELC, it’s hard to believe the 18-year-old is only two years away from his playing days with the Midget AAA team. of the Soo Thunderbirds. Despite everything, great expectations have been placed on Matier this season.
The Ottawa blue line has seen a huge change, with the departure of Noel Hoefenmayer, Merrick Rippon, Nikita Okhotiuk and Kevin Bahl. Matier knows he is compared to Hofenmayer and should fill his skates this season. Of the comparisons to Hofenmyer that many make, he said, âthat’s a huge compliment. He was a huge role model for me last year and a great guy on and on the ice. I think I’m following in his footsteps slowly becoming a leader in this team. “
This is certainly what Cameron expects of him. The former Ottawa Senators bench chief said, âI rely on NHL draft players like Matier to be difference makers and multipliers and make people better. That’s exactly what he is, and he’s a great teammate too. He’s a big part of this team today and will move forward.
The future of Matier
Matier, like the majority of other young men in the junior leagues, has a great chance of reaching the NHL. Even still, said Cameron, âhis future is bright. It’s in front of him, and I know one thing. It is that with his work ethic, he will reach his highest level, whatever it is.
Whether this is the NHL remains to be seen. Still, one thing is certain, Matier will be fun to watch this year at TD Place as he strives to achieve his NHL dreams.
Paul covers the Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators and OHL Ottawa 67s for The Hockey Writers (THW). He also hosts the Flames Faceoff show for the THW Podcast network.
Paul was asked for media interviews for thoughtful articles he wrote on hockey’s response to major social and political issues of the day, including the place of gay players in the game. Paul is also known for his insightful perspectives on key issues and challenges facing the teams he follows.
Of his work with THW, Paul says, âI love telling stories about hockey and the personalities, past and present, that have made it the greatest game on the planet!
Follow him on Twitter at @pquinney
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