Maple Leafs Select Nicolas Mattinen 179th Overall

With the 179th pick, a pick at the end of the 6th round that they acquired in last year’s Olli Jokinen trade with St. Louis, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected London Knights defenseman Nicolas Mattinen.

Here’s OHL guru Brock Otten on Mattinen:

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And HockeyProspect.com:

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Here are his boxcars:

There are going to be a lot of people who complain about this pick because they’ll see a 6″4′ defenseman that had 10 points this year. That’s a fair criticism, but we can’t just call Mattinen a plug and a wasted pick. The general consensus in the scouting community is that Mattinen possesses very real and very intriguing upside. Clearly the Leafs feel similarly.

It also bares mentioning that Mattinen is a London Knight, a team Mark Hunter has obvious ties to. Hunter’s apparent appreciation of Mattinen is likely due in part due to the easy access he has to Mattinen from both a scouting and information perspective. It also seems like a fair assumption that Hunter’s got information that says Mattinen won’t be a bench-warmer next season.

It’s been, if nothing else, an unexpected draft for the Leafs, one in which they’ve taken a lot of big players with questionable upside. It seems to me that in taking the likes of Greenway, Middleton, and Mattinen, the organization is hoping on hitting a home run with one of these guys, to the extent that they could have a future Martin Marincin-type defensive defensemen several years down the line.

We’ll see if Mattinen can start fitting the bill next season, where he figures to take on a more prominent role with an always-dangerous London Knights team.

By the way, no highlights on Mattinen in this post: they literally don’t exist.