Checking in at number 48 on our consensus ranking is Brandon Wheat Kings centre Stelio Mattheos. A former bantam superstar and first overall WHL bantam draft pick, Mattheos has reinvented himself as a two-way centre since joining the major junior ranks.
- Age: 17 – June 14th, 1999
- Birthplace: Winnipeg, MB, CAN
- Frame: 6’1″/194 lbs
- Position: C
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
A strong center with size and plays a strong two-way game…a powerful skater who generates impressive speed north-south… has a very strong stride and sound technique that allows him to push the pace of a rush…possesses decent hand-skills, and is very powerful on the puck making him tough to knock off possession…drives the net hard and is a near impossible load to stop when he comes trucking down the ice…has a real solid shot with quick release that he can make an impact on the scoresheet with…a real workhorse on the ice, getting in hard on the forecheck, taking good angles to pucks and pressures defenseman…battles hard along the wall and proves to be a difficult player to out battle…comes back hard defensively and knows his role in his own end…supports his teammates…a nice complimentary winger who brings some skill and a healthy amount of sandpaper.
Bill Placzek, DraftSite.com:
An offensive star in the lower tiers, he is trying to turn himself into more of a power forward. Displays a great shot but his goals come in the feet around the goal where he pounces on rebounds. He is a good player in traffic, and can battle past contact with the puck on his stick. A decent wall player who extends possessions with physicality. Can put the power move on defenders using his shoulder to get wide and around defenders. The hope teams will have is that he rebuilds his scoring prowess from the lower tiers and is able to round out to an around threat in the attack zone.
Marshall Mackinder, HockeyNow:
Stelio Mattheos is relishing his time as a top-six forward on Brandon after a thirty-point rookie season and a Memorial Cup birth. He uses his balance to fend off defenders on the outside as he powers himself to the net. Keeps play alive until the whistle blows with a determined effort along the boards and always finishes his checks. Keeps his feet moving through traffic with a quick, compact and powerful stride. Puts all his weight into his shot and hides his release well. Has rounded his game into an effective two-way forward and plays a full 200-foot game. A real competitive centreman who is not afraid to block shots and win the loose puck battles.
Mattheos is as versatile a player as you’ll find in this year’s draft, playing up and down the lineup for the Brandon Wheat Kings. He was originally tapped to play in a shutdown role in Brandon, but found himself playing on the wing at times alongside presumptive first overall pick Nolan Patrick. Upon Patrick’s injury, Mattheos took on the role of the team’s #1 centre and performed admirably, finishing the season with 61 points in 69 games.
A tremendously unselfish player, Mattheos generates most of his offense from passes off the rush. The majority of Mattheos’ goals came from within a few feet of the net, where Mattheos was able to use his 6’1″ 194-pound frame and strength effectively to edge out opposing defensemen and tap in rebounds. When given time and space, Mattheos also has an accurate wrist shot that you’d like to see him make use of more frequently.
Mattheos lacks one elite skill, but he does everything well. He’s strong along the boards, responsible defensively, and has a quick skating stride. He’s been frequently lauded for his work ethic, something I can’t speak to, but seems to be backed up by his aggressive forechecking and willingness to go to the front of the net. If allowed to get up to top speed in the neutral zone, he is very difficult to knock off the puck.
When viewed through the lens of pGPS, Mattheos looks like great value relative to where he’s expected to be taken in this year’s draft. He carries an expected success percentage of 31.2%, with most of his successful cohorts carving out roles as third-line forwards. Based on the eye test, I’d say Mattheos has a better than average chance of clearing that bar. Mattheos’ closest successful statistical cohort is, interestingly, Jarome Iginla, though it should be noted that Iginla is far and away the most successful match on the list. Following just behind Iginla are Kris Versteeg and Cody Eakin, which sets far more realistic expectations for what to expect from Mattheos’ from a production standpoint. If Mattheos makes the NHL, it will most likely be as a third-line checking centre with a a bit of offensive upside and sandpaper in his game.