Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Denton Mateychuk Scouting Report.
With great skating and puck control, Denton Mateychuk is quickly rising up draft boards. The Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman put up 13 goals and 51 assists for 64 points in 65 games this season. He also added one goal and seven assists for eight points in nine WHL playoff games so far. Mateychuk was also one of the standout performers at the CHL Top Prospects Game, and was captain of Team White.
Last season, Mateychuk’s season, along with most of the CHL, was delayed by COVID-19. He put up two goals and seven assists for nine points in 16 games with Moose Jaw. He also spent time in the MJHL, putting up one goal and two assists for three points in eight games with the Steinbach Pistons. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-born prospect also played for Team Canada at the Under-18 World Championships. He helped the team to a gold medal.
Mateychuk was a first-round pick, 11th overall, for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. His younger brother, Kasen Mateychuk, is expected to be drafted in the upcoming WHL draft.
Denton Mateychuk Scouting Report
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born July 12th, 2004 — Dominion City, Manitoba
Height 5’11” — Weight 188 lbs [180 cm/85 kg]
Mateychuk is an absolutely elite skater. He might be the best skater in this draft class. His speed and acceleration in both directions are very strong. This allows him to push the pace offensively and pinch in at the blue line and still get back to the defensive end to cover his position. He has outstanding edgework and agility. Mateychuk can change directions very quickly, and this helps him to cover the ice in all directions. He has the ability to move laterally, walking the line to open up passing and shooting lanes as well as to maintain good gap control when defending against the rush.
Mateychuk also has quick, crisp pivots. This allows him to transition from defence to offence quickly, and vice-versa. He is strong on his skates for his size. His low centre of gravity helps him to fight through checks and win battles on the boards. Still his size can be a hindrance here, and he can stand to add more muscle to his frame as he matures.
Mateychuk loves to push the pace and join into the offensive attack. He pairs his outstanding skating with excellent puckhandling ability. This allows him to create offence. Mateychuk can skate the puck through the neutral zone and use his natural elusiveness to generate effective zone entries. He also does a really good job of protecting the puck and moving around the offensive zone. He creates openings to pass the puck to teammates or to shoot the puck on the net with his lateral mobility. Mateychuk is also able to attack the defence and find openings in the zone. His passing skill is high-end as well. He can start the rush with a good first pass in his own zone or make a breakaway pass to a teammate. Mateychuk is also an excellent power-play quarterback. He controls the puck in the zone and uses his vision and passing skills to set up scoring chances for teammates.
Mateychuk has a very good wrist shot and an excellent release. His shot is powerful and accurate. Mateychuk loves to sneak down from the point and let his shot go from the circles. He understands how to get his puck on the net and through shooting lanes. He keeps the puck low and allows his teammates to get deflections and rebounds. His release is very effective. Mateychuk can toe drag before letting it go, changing the angle just prior to releasing the puck and fooling goaltenders. Mateychuk’s slap shot and one-timer are decent but are not one of his big strengths. He will need to work on adding upper-body strength which can add power to his shot.
Mateychuk’s defensive game is based on his strong skating ability and his high-end hockey IQ. He keeps attackers in front of him and uses his strong gap control to force them to the outside and away from the dangerous scoring areas. His active stick does a good job of cutting down passing lanes and poking the puck away from opponents. Mateychuk reads the play extremely well, cutting things off and creating turnovers. He also gets back quickly to retrieve loose pucks. Once he gets the puck, he is quick to get the puck out of the zone and transition to offence. Mateychuk will need to get stronger though, as he can sometimes have issues with power forward opponents.
Projection and Comparison
Mateychuk’s potential is sky-high. He could become a number one defenceman for his team, helping them to control possession and even-strength and quarterbacking the top power-play unit. While he is a bit undersized, his skating and intelligence more than makeup for it. Expect Mateychuk to spend another year or two in junior before he is NHL ready though. A July Birthday, he is also one of the younger players in the draft, so there is some hope that he will continue to grow another inch or two. He can also add muscle to his frame before he is ready for the pro game. His game is reminiscent of Quinn Hughes. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Denton Mateychuk that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Denton Mateychuk out there chucking darts.
Make it 13 goals and 64 points in 65 WHL games – good for a share of the lead among draft-eligible defenders pic.twitter.com/UxmhVCcTh7
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) April 17, 2022
Denton Mateychuk’s first goal as a member of team CANADA!!!🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/ldDhOzHuiw
— DelCote (@borderkings3) January 18, 2020
It's plays like this that really intrigue me about Denton Mateychuk (#5).
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) September 7, 2021
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 17, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our next article on the 2022 NHL Draft.
Denton Mateychuk Scouting Report Main Photo:
KITCHENER, ONTARIO – MARCH 23: Denton Mateychuk #5 of Team White skates during morning skate prior to the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on March 23, 2022 in Kitchener, Ontario. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)