After taking the weekend off the Leafs definitely don’t have a case of the Mondays, and got back to work early signing Shawn Matthias.
#Leafs announce they have signed forward Shawn Matthias to a one-year contract.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 6, 2015
Shawn Matthias gets a $2.3M, one-year deal from #leafs.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 6, 2015
The GTA-ing of the Leafs continues as the 27 year old Mississaugan has signed a one year deal with Toronto.
Why I love this deal and you should to
First up, is that Matthias is on a one year, prove yourself UFA deal, making him an ideal rental at the next trade deadline. He joins Parenteau, Spaling, Arcobello, Polak, Panik, and Holland as very movable assets at that time.
Secondly, Matthias is pretty good. He’s likely the Leafs second best center after Kadri, which may not mean much, and should be able to eat a lot of defensive zone minutes that generally you’d prefer not to start Kadri, Bozak, Holland, or Arcobello in. Likely, this means he’s going to continue to have underwhelming possession numbers, but he should fit in nicely with Komarov, Winnik, Spaling, and Carrick to give the Leafs a bit more of sensible defensive zone presence.
Finally, he’s cheap. Only paying $2.3M for a player who is likely to be an 18 minute a night + guy on this team is a smart decision. It’s a good opportunity for Matthias to prove that he’s a well rounded center in a situation with increased responsibility.
The Scouting Report
As a center, Matthias struggled greatly with consistency and his defensive game lagged behind anything one might expect from a reliable middle-six pivot. When playing on the wing, Matthias has the abilities to capitalize on his strengths and provide efficient goal scoring and strong board play on a nightly basis. When put on the right side this showcases itself with nightly bull-rushes down the wing that regularly end with a puck on goal – picturesque power forwarding, really.
It was reminiscent of David Booth, save for the finishing ability and a frame that comparatively could have been made of adamantium.
Matthias’ season didn’t necessarily start well, though. The second year Canuck going so far as to admit that his first eight games were ‘pretty crappy’. If anything, a generous assessment given Matthias’ set of doughnuts on the score sheet and a Corsi For of 37.5% in that stretch.
From about that ninth game forward though the pace of Matthias’ play gradually picked up, to the point where he was generally one of the more noticeable Canucks forwards on an almost nightly basis – in a good way to boot. On the fore-check, Matthias showed the Canucks brass and faithful the tireless effort and tenacity that they so desperately pleaded for from Zack Kassian on a nightly basis. As a penalty killer he was tenacious, often lunging into shots and applying constant pressure to the puck carrier. The effort was there consistently, even when the results were not.
It’s hard not to like this signing, and it’s hard not to love comments like this…
Babcock implied today that the Leafs had more signings coming today.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) July 6, 2015
So keep on checking back to TLN for Free Agency Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo.