Who's this guy?
Weight: 223 lbs.
Born: February 19, 1988 in Mississauga, ON
Drafted: 47th overall in 2006 by the Detroit Red Wings
Matthias was one of two players, along with Jacob Markstrom, who the Canucks acquired in the shocking deadline deal that sent Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers. Matthias played a total of 75 games for the Panthers over three seasons before establishing himself as a full-time NHLer in 2010-11. He played just 18 games for the Canucks after being acquired at the trade deadline.
What did he do? Was he any good?
In limited action, Matthias acquitted himself decently for the Canucks. It was a weird time to join the team, as it crashed and burned out of the playoffs, but Matthias still managed a decent showing: 3 goals, 4 assists, and -3 +/- in 18 games. He got a good amount of ice time, clocking 15-17 minutes most nights while seeing very little powerplay time. It's tough to give much of an evaluation for such a small sample size played in a very tumultuous time, but I thought Matthias was solid enough given mediocre expectations.
What did we like?
Matthias has tantalizing size and the potential to be solid 3rd line centre for this team. He looked like he meshed pretty well with Zack Kassian, and it would be great to see more of them together in a third line role next season. Here are 2 of Matthias' 4 goals with Vancouver:
And here is his big game, in which he scored a goal and added 2 assists against the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-2 victory:
Matthias appears to posses solid offensive instincts and a decent nose for the net. Again, I think can be a good fit in a 3rd line role. If we start seeing him sneaking into the top 6 it is probably time to run for the hills. His best season statistically was 2012-13, when he managed 21 points in a lockout-shortened 48 games. So, unless he suddenly breaks out at age 26, Matthias is not going to be more than a depth contributor offensively for this team.
Cool, so what did we hate?
I'll be totally honest, I didn't see enough of the train wreck that was the end of the Canucks season to nitpick too much about Matthias' play. I guess he could contribute more offensively or use his size to create more scoring chances, but based on what has already been discussed about his offensive upside, it doesn't seem too fair to criticize him in this area. We'll give Matthias a pass on the criticism until we've had a chance to see him in the lineup next year.
So what now?
Matthias is under contract for one more season at a reasonable cap hit ($1.75 million), after which he will be a UFA. That is an ideal scenario, as it gives the Canucks a chance to evaluate him for a full season and see if he fits with the team going forward. Unfortunately Matthias will always be linked with Roberto Luongo's departure from Vancouver, and if Markstrom doesn't turn into a #1 NHL goalie, Matthias will be scrutinized that much more closely. This is not his fault and is unfortunate for Matthias, but he still looks like he could be a solid piece in this team moving forward.