Weight: 191 pounds
Draft position: Taken 73rd overall by Carolina in 2017
Stelio Mattheos had a terrific draft +1 season after being selected in the third round by the Hurricanes. The center/winger had spent the majority of his draft year in a second line role, and was in Nolan Patrick’s shadow for most of the season. Mattheos was a two-way forward, and was utilized mainly on the penalty kill. In the following season, Mattheos took a much bigger role with the Wheat Kings. Not only was he used on the first line, but Brandon’s head coach used him in every situation. Mattheos went from scoring 61 points in 69 games in his draft year to 90 points in 68 games the season after. So what changed? For one, Mattheos’ role on the team changed. He was getting first line minutes with Brandon’s top players, and it was paying off. Stelio had the 14th most primary points in the WHL last season with 74. Only 16 of his 47 assists were secondary assists, which is a ridiculous ratio to have. He’d have one secondary assist for every two primary assists. That’s phenomenal for a player coming out of his draft year at the age of 18. Mattheos became a leader later on in the season when the Wheat Kings traded away some of their best players. He was able to produce at a good rate still, and the Wheat Kings made it into the playoffs. 12 points in 11 playoff games isn’t a bad line to finish with!
So what’s the scouting report on Mattheos? He’s a player that plays at a very quick pace, and is able to make decisions quickly. His skating has improved since last season, and he’s able to accelerate past most of the defenders in his league. Last season, he established himself as a dynamic player in the WHL, and was one of their most exciting forwards. Whether it was a highlight reel goal, a multi-point night, or a stellar pass, it seemed like Mattheos could do it all. Mattheos can turn quickly, and it’s useful for him to gain some separation from defenders. His two way game is phenomenal, and he’s one of the more reliable WHL players in the defensive end. Interestingly enough, he was drafted as a right winger, but played center for a lot of last season. Mattheos’ versatility makes him a good prospect, and the Canes need more right shot players. One thing that was impressive about Mattheos this season was his ability to score shorthanded goals. He was a menace on the penalty kill, and seemed to get a shorthanded chance every game. Mattheos’ hands are above average for a forward, but not by much. His dekes seem to be fairly simple, and are just used to create space for a better shot or pass. His strength is what allows for him to do the most damage, though. Mattheos can lower the shoulder and power his way to the front of the net, and it’s one of his favorite moves. He’d cut wide, lower the shoulder, and then power around a defender and tuck the puck under the goalie’s pads. He’ll need to get a little more creative in the NHL, but the tools he has are great for right now. His shot is great, and the release is just about where it needs to be in order to be successful in the NHL.
Don’t get too excited for Mattheos just yet. He’s a good prospect that had a great season in the WHL, but it’s still not clear if he has a high ceiling. Like a lot of the prospects the Hurricanes have in their system, Mattheos likely peaks at a middle six forward. He’s the type of player that coaches love, which will help him be successful in the NHL someday. Coaches will use him as a penalty killer, and I could see him being a really effective third line right winger in the future. What’s next for the talented forward? He’ll go back to Brandon for his final WHL season, and will likely earn an NHL contract after that. Brandon rebuilded on the fly last season, and has a couple solid pieces in their system. With a lot of the old guard leaving, expect Mattheos to be traded to a contender later on in the season. He’ll do his job as a veteran on a young team, and then go to a contender to be a top player. It’ll definitely be a year before we see Mattheos in a Checkers jersey since he just turned 19 in June, and that’s okay. Mattheos will get an extra year in the WHL to grow as a player, and will come into the 2019 season ready to start his professional career.