The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed 27-year-old forward Shawn Matthias to a one-year contract worth $2.3 million.
It’s mildly surprising Matthias could only garner a one-year commitment in free agency given he finished tied for third on the Canucks in goals last season (18, 16 at even strength). In part, it’s a testament to how much the free agent market cooled right off after the initial flurry on July 1.
There’s also the fact that Willie Desjardins used Matthias sparingly last season, as he finished tenth among forwards on the team in time on ice per game at 13:06/game.
Three of Matthias’ 18 goals came in a February hat trick against Boston, which would be a nice tradition to continue in Toronto.
Matthias scored his 18 goals with a 13.6 shooting percentage in 2014-15. He’s largely a goal scorer before he’s a playmaker, and his story in the past few seasons suggests he can be hot and cold with his shooting — he scored 12 goals shooting just above 7% in 2013-14, but shot over 10% and scored 14 in just 48 games (24-goal full season pace) in the lockout year. In 2011-12, he was down to 10 goals in 78 games shooting 7.5%.
He’s also the first free agent the Leafs have signed without fantastic possession numbers last season as he was a -3.27 CFRELTM, and hasn’t had flattering possession stats dating back to Florida. A good skater with size and reasonable skills, he might be able to be part of a positive line in the right situation. He should get plenty of opportunities to play higher in the lineup than he did in Vancouver.
Matthias can take a second-unit PK shift has played both centre and wing; he is probably better off on the wing given he’s not a strong possession driver historically and can better employ his strengths driving the net off the wing and working the boards with his size (6’4, 220 pounds).
Shawn Matthias Scouting Report
“rangy, all-purpose forward… light and dexterous with outstanding lateral agility for his size… natural skater propelled by a long, smooth stride whose relaxed nature tends to mask his true speed… opportunistic, consistent, hard-working, anticipates the game effortlessly at both ends… assertive, heads-up puck carrier – stays composed in possession and makes good, quick decisions, though must be coginizant when space is being closed down as he overextends at times… keeps his feet and the puck moving, which are keys to his success… a complete package of size, smarts and determination”
– Gus Katsaros, McKeen’s Hockey
Matthias was drafted by the Wings in the second round during Babcock’s first year in Detroit in 2005-06 and spent a year in the organization before being traded in the Todd Bertuzzi deal, so Babcock will have at least a little knowledge on him already.
All smiles today! Grew up cheering for the @MapleLeafs couldn't be happier to play for my hometown team! Can't wait to throw on that jersey!
— Shawn Matthias (@ShawnMatthias) July 6, 2015
Shawn Matthias Statistics
Shawn Matthias Statistics
|2003-04||Mississauga Senators Mn Mdgt AAA C||GTMMHL||62||31||45||76||0||||
|2012-13||EHC Linz NHL Lockout||Austria||4||1||2||3||0||-2||||
|2015-16||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||-||-||-||-||-||||