Name: Matt Finn
Hometown: Good ol’ Taranna boy
Size: 6’0, 199lbs.
2013 Team: Guelph Storm (OHL)
Acquired: Drafted, 2nd Round, 35th Overall in 2012
As much as I instantly question the logic behind every single first round pick the Leafs make (yes including Morgan Rielly), the past few years have provided me with a universal love of the teams second round picks. Really I’m only talking about two players because Kenny Ryan in 2009 was questionable and the Leafs have traded their second round pick away in 2011 and 2013, but man do I sure like Brad Ross and to an even greater extent Matt Finn.
Initially I admit I started out liking Matt Finn because every single draft publication and ranking told me I should love him. He was slated to go in the middle of the first round, he was a strong leader on a solid OHL team, and he was projected as a top four defender who could play in any situation. Yeah, that’s good stuff.
The fact that Finn seemed like a good prospect, and the fact that he played on the same team as Garret Sparks forced me to actually start watching more of the Guelph Storm, at least during the times that Finn was in the lineup last season, and I quickly found that the draft year write-ups fit in with what I was seeing Finn do.
Finn is a calm, positional player who does a solid job of scanning the ice and makes safe passes in his own zone and is capable of setting up plays when heading up ice. Rarely did I see him lose sight of the opposition which leads him to play a more conservative game (Let’s all judge him by 5 games I watched on my laptop!)
So what is the real poop on Finn? He doesn’t have great speed, but he’s not a bad skater. He’s as prone to misfortunate injuries and illness as you’d expect a cousin of Carlo Colaiacovo to be. He’s demonstrated everything you’d want to see from a minute eating defenseman in the OHL, but with concerns on his speed there are question marks about where he’ll fit in on a pro lineup. He’s done well at the Canada Junior Development camp so there’s some potential for Rielly/Finn pairing come December, and if letters are your bag, he wears a ‘C’ on the front of his jersey (“Ohhhhh Finn, take me to bed or lose me forever).
What does all this mean? Since Finn missed a third of the season last year due to a knee injury and mono he’s more than likely on the first bus back to Guelph after the Leafs rookie camp so he can make the most of this season and continue to lead a greatly improved Guelph team. Just because he doesn’t stand much of a chance to make the Leafs this year, or arguably next year either, doesn’t change the fact that he has top four NHL defenseman potential who will likely be a significant special teams player as well. Really what I expect of Matt Finn is to one day replace Carl Gunnarsson. That’s probably setting the bar fairly high, but as the fifth highest ranked prospect on this list we can start expecting more from them.