Leafs Sign Shawn Matthias

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.

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.

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via Puckalytics.com

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

From Canucks Army’s Year in Review on Matthias:

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…

So keep on checking back to TLN for Free Agency Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo.

  • Gary Empey

    Excellent signing! I honestly already feel the buds are FAR better than they were last year to start the season. Now they really need to working on moving out Bozak, and polak… Please dont give me to much flak for Polak Leafs Nation, I just think Bab’s can really raise Dions value.

    And then we can flip him.

  • Brooksterman

    Matthias was one of the better Canuck forwards last season as I got to see him a lot out here in Canuckleheadville. Good size who used that big frame to drive to the net.

    His defence really improved during the season. A definite steal at that price for one year. He should team up with a couple af big winger such as Panik and uncle Leo to might a tough gritty third line.

    Way to go leaf management.

  • Brooksterman

    The price is bit steep for a prove me deal. Nonis had better contracts at getting players for cheap with these kind of deal. A prove me deal is more like santorelli or raymond with the leafs.

    But then nono spent all his money on extending phaneuf, kessel, bozak and signing clarkson

  • Brooksterman

    Wow the Leafs actually acquired a player that is tall. I’m quite surprised. Surely this means they’re going to be trading some forward bodies as this now gives them 15 forwards that won’t clear waivers.

  • SEER

    Babcock sure is coming through on his ‘Canada’s Team’ promise eh?

    I love this guy! Big, hard working, talented… He sure stood out when I saw him in a few games with Canucks this year – a serious physical presence, imposing power forward that skates well, bangs around the boards, shoots and scores.

    His history is a lot like Kadri’s in fact – been playing on a horrible team (Florida), yo-yoed up and down between AHL and NHL, having to deal with a constant carousel of coaches and management… He has a lot to prove and may well shine under Babcock.

    I just wish all these new guys were signed for 2 years just in case everything works out and we actually have a shot at the cup by the time trade-deadline rolls around. As it is, with all these one-year deals, it looks like Shanny and the stats-boys are hell bent on trading everyone for draft picks at the deadline and tanking as is tradition. It may work out in the long run but I’d hate to think we missed out on a cup-run in favour of delayed future opportunity that may never come. Not sure Hockey Gods will look kindly upon that.

    • Douglas

      I completely agreed up until the deadline part, with no question, if they are a playoff team and actually play well and look like a threat, they will keep the valuable assets, while it is a rebuild I don’t think they will unload all the one year contracts for picks and miss a good chance, maybe some if they aren’t crucial to the teams new found success, but if we are not in a playoff position, unload em all!

  • Brooksterman

    It’s Monday so why not share some Glenn Healy brilliance. He was on the Fan this morning and, to be fair, Healy liked the Matthias signing; oddly, the blind squirrel analogy comes to mind.

    Anyway, Healy could not miss an opportunity to make a crack about “analidiots” (TM Glenn Healy).

    He said “… a year ago, when David Booth was their darling, the analidiots thought he was an absolute dream. Uh, how did that work out?”

    Booth was just fine as a third/fourth line player; 8th in P/60 5v5 with a minimum of 500 minutes; his p/60 at 1.17 was just a tick behind Bozak’s 1.23. Booth’s ranking in the league was 279 amongst forwards, which is in line with fourth-line players. Booth’s CF%, while not great at 46.96%, was fourth best among forwards with a minimum of 500 minutes. Booth, at $1.1 million, was a good signing for the 2014-2015 season. His signing was generally regarded as sound by the analytics community, not as a “dream” as Healy contends. Hey, why let facts get in the way of a Healy narrative?

    Take comfort in the fact that the summer offers fans the best weather of the year and a respite from Healy’s smug, clichéd, superficial analysis.

    • SEER

      Being a Leafs fan in the States, I’ve often wondered how Canadians felt about Healy. I glad to know that I’m not the only one who thinks that he is a smug, know-it-all. Man, I feel sorry for his family when he’s home. I would hate to think that I had to listen to his dribble on television and at home!

    • SEER

      Booth has always marched to a different drummer, he had become injury prone, including concussions and thus played a perimeter game. He was interviewed in his last season out in Vancouver and basically indicated that he was thinking of retiring soon.

      I’m sure he came up positive in certain stats but his head didn’t seem to be in the game. Kind of a Jose Reyes mentality.

  • jasken

    Another great signing Mattias is exactly the kind of player that has been missing the past 6 years. I dont see why people think just cause this, or that player are signed means this, or that player are gone. It all comes down to do they want to stay and what are they willing to do.

    This is just another player to help the new direction of Leafs and to aide in the continuous movement going forward in that direction.

  • SEER

    WOOOOOOOOOO—HOOOOOOOO….!!!

    Can somebody rub a certain Star reporters face in this one, for me..?

    What has everyone always wanted here…? A BIG, heavy, strong Center, who can put up points, fight when needed to.. and play a strong two-way game…

    I’m very happy with this signing..! This is a guy from Mississauga, who is probably thrilled to be back home for “at least” one season and will most likely play his best for us..

    I was on the ball right away this morning, with this signing… Now…, Let’s home McDavid plays like crap in Edmonton, so he can get traded back home and play great for the Leafs… (and maybe we can lure Tavares back here, with a good season…) : )

    MISSISSAUGA MACHINE: SHAWN MATTHIAS MONTAGE

    —-> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af4bH7dbhDM

    Welcome home, big boy..!!