The clip this week comes via the NHL YouTube channel:
A constant theme to my articles over the last little while has to do with the Leafs current center ice issues. An intriguing option for the Leafs to address this current problem is Shawn Matthias of the Florida Panthers. The Panthers are in full panic mode with both the firing of Head Coach Kevin Dineen and the horrible Kris Versteeg trade yesterday. It may be the right time for the Leafs to try and steal the 25 year old Matthias from Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon.
Matthias seemed to turn the corner last season when he had a 14 goals in 48 games but has found himself strangely relegated to the 4th line with the Panthers this year. Many may be hesitant to acquire someone playing that role in Florida, but it’s difficult to take anything that happens there seriously. Just looking at Matthias’ tools demonstrate that he is a worthy player to take a chance on. Standing 6’4″ and 220 pounds Matthias is an excellent skater who is very good in his own zone. He has been a consistent member of the Panthers penalty killing unit and is also willing to play a physical game that appeals to the Leafs Coach Randy Carlyle. Worst case scenario is the Leafs are bringing in size and ability in their bottom six as well as depth down the middle. Having an option like Matthias to plug in when injuries hit is a significantly better than using Jay McClement on a scoring line.
Scheduled to make only $1.75 million through the next two seasons, Matthias also fits in well with the Leafs considering their cap situation. The sale is on in Florida and everybody not named Jonathan Huberdeau or Alexander Barkov is available. CBC’s Elliotte Friendman reported this week that the Panthers would like a little bit more for Matthias than people are offering. In reality though, the most Matthias could cost would be a second round pick and that’s something I do in a heartbeat. He’s currently on the 4th line with the Panthers, so I don’t think the price would be that high. Looking at his age, ability and experience down the middle Matthias is definitely someone Dave Nonis should be looking at. Hey, he’s from Mississauga! That’s something important too, right?