But I'm not here tonight to talk about the team as much as an individual super-influential cog in the Canucks' machine: Shawn Matthias. Currently a fixture on the 3rd line with Brad Richardson and Linden Vey, or Zack Kassian..
A QUICK HISTORY OF MATTHIAS
26-year-old Matthias was a 2nd round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2006. The Mississauga, Ontario native was putting up 61 and 50 points in 64 and 53 games respectively in his final 2 OHL seasons (2006-08), including a 13-5-18 point production in 15 playoff games in 2007 for the Belleville Bulls. That is phenomenal.
Irony alert: In February of 2007 the Red Wings traded Matthias' rights and a conditional draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Todd Bertuzzi. Matthias reminds me of Big Bert, minus the temper and bouts of madness.This was back when Bertuzzi was still regarded as a guy who could be a top 6 forward. The hype was still there I guess.
Matthias won gold at the World Junior Championships for Canada in 2008. He didn't win any other self-accomplishing awards in that tournament. Jordan Schroeder and Steve Mason did, just sayin'.
Matthias was up and down from the NHL to the AHL with the Florida Panthers from 2007-13, scoring 16 goals and 33 points in 88 games with the Rochester Americans. I thought he put up more numbers than he did at the NHL level. Maybe I mistook him for David Booth in his tenure in Florida. I thought he was "better than that". But former Canucks' General Manager Mike Gillis, who hides in his hobbit house, drunk on wine somewhere in the Kootenays, saw a lot of potential in him and acquired him from Florida, along with Jacob Markstrom for Roberto Luongo and Steven Anthony in March 2014. That trade doesn't look so shitty right now does it?
Look at his point totals this season. By golly! He's only 5 goals away from eclipsing his best NHL total.
From reviewing Matthias' game-to-game stats, he was all over he place with time on ice. Here is a prime example from the Panthers' 2010-11 season. It continued the following season. So far, his best NHL season....on a dogshit team, is..besides RIGHT NOW....
2012-13 where he scored 14 goals and 21 point in 48 games for Florida.
Matthias scored 3 goals and 7 points in 18 games under John Tortorella's regime last season (all bottom 6 minutes). See how he' s playing now? He honestly looks like a 6'4, 220 pound top 6 monster doesn't he? Well...that depends on what Willie Desjardins' plans are for him. It seems that Matthias' top 6 role is a dream until injuries happen. Personally, I still want him to play with the Sedins. Besides Brad Richardson, tell me another player who has earned that right. Sure, all of his NHL/AHL stats suggest otherwise, but stranger things have happened. He hits, creates turnovers, plays a 2-way game seemingly better than most bottom 6 Canucks.
Shawn Matthias is the player that Zack Kassian needs to strive to be/and/or exceed. There, I said it. If Kassian skated and checked as hard as Matthias, he would and will be an excellent NHL winger, and sorely missed right now..but he is not.
OK, I am done. Let's check out some Matthias highlight reels:
One of my fave Matthias goals is this one, because it Bertuziesque:
His first of the year, this season:
Notice something about Matthias? He doesn't stop skating (again, Kassian, take note)
Well, you can apply that to every Matthias play. He skates hard, he hits, he turns pucks over along the boards....etc, etc, etc. Notice the hands though...oh my. I see potential. But hey...Shawn could dry up in the next week and month and this can be seen as irrelevant. That's the beauty of NHL hockey isn't it? Mostly unpredictable. In the meantime...don't let me down Matthias.You are da man!
This post has been brought to you unfittingly, but by a band I have been listening to alot lately: