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 Matthew Poitras Scouting Report.
Drafted in the first round, 12th Overall in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft, centre Matthew Poitras became a key cog for the Guelph Storm during his rookie season. Poitras is another player who had to sit out the 2020-21 season as the OHL never got started due to the COVID pandemic. He made up for lost time by putting up 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points in 68 regular-season games. Poitras also added one goal and three assists for four points in five playoff games, being one of the top players for Guelph. Unfortunately, the Storm fell in the first round of the OHL Playoffs, losing in five games to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Poitras also played for Team Red at the 2022 CHL Top Prospects Game.
Poitras was born in Brooklin, Ontario (a small suburb just east of Toronto). He played his minor hockey with the Whitby Wildcats organization. In 2016-17, Poitras played in the famous Quebec City Peewee Tournament, scoring three goals and two assists for five points in just three games.
Poitras was also invited to this year’s NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, New York.
Matthew Poitras Scouting Report
Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born March 10th, 2004 — Brooklin, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 177 lbs [180 cm / 80 kg]
Poitras skating is a bit hit-and-miss. His first step is decent. However, he struggles with his acceleration and top-end speed. They are merely average for this draft class, possibly even slightly below average. As a result, he has trouble creating separation from defenders. Poitras’ stride is choppy and he could stand to get a bit more bend in his knees. If he can work with a good skating coach, this would help him to improve his speed. Poitras has good agility and edge work though. He is able to change directions extremely quickly and this helps him to create passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. He has good balance and is able to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. There is room to add muscle to his frame, so this can also improve going forward.
Poitras is a very smart player. His best asset is his hockey IQ. He is able to make up for his lack of speed with excellent positioning and anticipation. He has a real knack for finding open ice and getting into the soft spots of the defence without the puck. He seems to always be open for a pass. Poitras also controls the play with the puck on his stick. He has poise on the puck and protects the puck well. He can make a quick move to open up a passing or shooting lane if the opportunity arises. With his good vision and anticipation, Poitras can make a tape-to-tape pass to set up a scoring chance as soon as a teammate gets open.
Poitras can also be a goal scorer. He is not afraid to take the puck to the front of the net and has the hands to finish when he gets there. He also has a good wrist shot and a quick release. Poitras is a hard worker. His feet are always moving and he is always looking for open ice. He forechecks effectively, chasing down loose pucks and forcing defenders to make plays before they are ready. This leads to turnovers and scoring chances for the storm. Poitras also works hard to dig pucks out of the corners and along the boards. In the neutral zone, he isn’t one to really lead the rush. Instead, Poitras looks for an open teammate and keeps the puck moving. He then gets open, looking for a give-and-go.
Poitras hockey IQ is also evident in the defensive zone. He has been used against top lines and on the penalty kill. He anticipates plays well, reading what opponents will try to do and cuts down passing lanes with an active stick. Poitras brings hard work in all three zones, supporting the defence down low and winning battles on the boards and working to clear the front of the net. While he isn’t the biggest player, he is not afraid of battling with bigger opponents. When a turnover is created, Poitras is quick to clear the zone and starts the transition game with a good first pass. He also does a good job in the face-0ff circle.
Projection and Comparison
Poitras is a versatile player. The Storm used him at both centre and on the wing, as well as playing him in all situations. Due to his lack of speed, his pro future is likely on the wing. With his smarts, defensive awareness, and willingness to leave it all on the ice, Poitras should be a coach’s favourite no matter where he goes. He is likely to spend a couple more years in the OHL and then some time in the AHL before he is ready to make an NHL impact. If he can develop to his full potential, he could be a middle-six winger, capable of playing in all situations. Poitras’ game is reminiscent of Ryan Callahan. 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 Matthew Poitras that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Matthew Poitras grabs his 9th goal of the season. Goes underneath the pad from the faceoff dot. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/eouuJcsrJA
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) December 18, 2021
Matthew Poitras (#2022NHLDraft) with his 4th goal of the season. Collects a cross ice feed and nets a wrist shot top shelf goal. pic.twitter.com/XSiVo40sUQ
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) October 31, 2021
2022 #NHLDraft prospect Matthew Poitras of @Storm_City is a multi-sport athlete, taking some time away from the rink in the summer to work on his lacrosse game 🥍#MeetTheFuture | @KubotaCanadaLtd pic.twitter.com/M9tbNtkrKg
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 17, 2022
2022 #NHLDraft Spotlight ✨
A puck possession forward who put up 50 points in his rookie season, Matthew Poitras played a prominent role on an up-and-coming @Storm_City team in 2021-22.#MeetTheFuture | @KubotaCanadaLtd pic.twitter.com/li1BarVWia
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 23, 2022
On another note. Meet Matthew Poitras: current transition involvement king#2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/MgiZBOO6lq
— Austin (@BMaster716) November 5, 2021
Matthew Poitras sniped his 11th goal of the season on the powerplay in last night's 5-2 loss to Windsor. He now has 27 points through 35 games for Guelph on the season.#2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/M752G4B4KT
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) February 4, 2022
Guess we're calling this one a diaper dandy performance for @Storm_City! 👶🚨
Come for the second Matthew Poitras goal of the night, but stay for the saucy #BestOfOHL pass from @AnaheimDucks prospect Sasha Pastujov to set the whole play up! 🎥 pic.twitter.com/TT2dsLRQ3P
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 13, 2022
Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.
Matthew Poitras Scouting Report Main Photo:
Best of luck to #NHLDraft prospects Michael Buchinger, Jake Karabela, Matthew Poitras, and Danny Zhilkin at the 2022 #NHLCombine this week! 👏#StormCity | #IamtheStorm pic.twitter.com/VldHU50hxx
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) May 30, 2022